WB GSURR Forum: Knowledge Silobreaker: Transit Oriented Design, April 22, 2015

    GSURR Forum: Knowledge Silobreaker: Transit Oriented Design

    April 22, 2015


    Moderator: Valerie Joy-Santos (Istanbul)

    Presenter 1:Taimur Samad (Bangkok)

    Presenter 2:Gerald Ollivier (Beijing)

    Discussant:Hiroaki  Suzuki (Washngton, DC)


    Summary by David Mason


    Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) is a term most recently linked to the New Urbanist movement among architects and urban planners, gaining popularity in the United States during the 1990s. New Urbanism seeks to orient urban planning to maximize the density and diversity of land uses in a given space, rather than to separate and disperse land uses. It also uses design to encourage alternatives to driving private automobiles, such as walking, bicycling or using public transportation.

    However, the principles of TOD are much older. Cities derive economic and cultural benefits from the concentrated density of different people and a variety of economic activity. TODs, then, are a means to support these types of benefits through the careful coordination of land use.

    1) Taimur discussed the role of integrated urban design in TOD planning for an urban corridor in Surabaya.  Through consultation with the city, the project has developed four “packages” for cultivating policies to link urban design and historic preservation, pedestrian access, green spaces and integrated transport along a central river corridor area. The presentation covered the following areas:

    Urban Form and Land Use: This includes land use zoning as well as building design guidelines in order to support a variety of uses, as well as enhance the density and intensity of land use at select sites. It also lays out a plan to incorporate older kampong neighborhoods into a linked Heritage Redevelopment Policy. Finally, it also introduces approaches to deriving land value capture from future growth of these areas.

    Environmental Enhancements: This segment of the plan includes measures to improve the condition and aesthetics of public spaces. The key component is developing a way to actively engage the river corridor environmental improvements to improve water quality, allow improved pedestrian and cyclist access and crossings, develop docking facilities for river transport and ferry vessels along with a complementary set of green and open spaces for public use along the river banks.

    Intermodal Connections and Infrastructure: This package emphasizes measures to link pedestrian and bicycle access to mass transit stations and transfer points. This would include improving access to and across the river corridor and developing feeder connections to mass transit routes along the corridor from proximate areas and kampungs.


    2) Gerald provided an overview of the main features of TOD investments in China. China’s urbanization has provided a prime opportunity for integrating TOD enhancements to improve the efficiency and inclusiveness of the country’s growing cities. Currently metro systems are planned in 39 cities and over the next seven years the China will add 3,000km of rail for these and other systems. Given this sheer scale, transport investments need to be coordinated with land use planning.

    The main challenge for TOD investments in China is aligning three related values: node value, place values and market values.  Node values refer to the connectivity of transit stations; the greater the number of lines or modal transfers in one place, the higher the node value. A defining characteristic (and challenge) of large Chinese metro systems, such as Beijing and Shanghai is low node density. Place values depend on the site conditions (e.g. physical form, land use mixture, walkability) at a given site and how well these regulations can accommodate new growth (or not) through available land and local market and real estate conditions. Finally, market values refer to the increase in values that private investment in land as well as access to transport confer on TOD areas.

    The Bank’s involvement has helped cities such as Zhengzhou, Nanchang, Tianjin to develop a typology to structure policy attention and investment. This include 1) infill (where densities and market values are low) 2) intensification (where density is high and market values are set to rise) and 3) transformation (areas of high market value).

    Illustrative case studies include: improving overall accessibility to urban transport in Zhengzhou, particularly for the urban poor who live far from transit corridors; a transformational TOD space in Tianjin and integrating land value capture mechanisms for new development in Nanchang.

    3) Hiro asked, given how the idea of TOD seems intuitive, why is it so difficult to undertake successfully in practice? He identified four dimensions which influence the outcome of TOD projects.

    1. Temporal: Cities that have gotten the most out of TOD investments have done so by planning them alongside urban population growth. For example, as Japanese cities grew in size and population in previous decades, transport investments kept pace and access and ridership benefited from increasing population densities. Large Chinese and Indonesian cities may now have a window to take advantage of the same demographic forces.
    2. Spatial: Land use regulations and design guidelines matter. They can either sustain or deflect complementary private investments in land and property that will support a density and diversity of uses. However, it is important to build in flexibility to guidelines so that they may be adapted to different neighborhood and economic contexts and are not overly strict or proscriptive.
    3. Institutional: TODs require a consistent, long term plan that requires coordination and cooperation of activity of government agencies at multiple levels and in different sectors. These projects also take a long time to complete. However, there is a tension between the long term plan and the tendency to shift attention to projects that produce short term gains and follow election cycle politics, particularly at the local level. This can erode broad-based support for comprehensive land use and transport plans with long time horizons. Furthermore, competition for support and resources may reduce the coordination of, for example, transport and planning agencies, whose separate plans and investments may be duplicative or contradictory and reduce the effectiveness of transport investments in supporting TOD principles.
    4. Social:  This is the most sensitive and risk-prone element of TOD planning as it concerns the distribution of costs and benefits to different stakeholder groups. TOD may improve mobility, enhance land values and generate revenue for city governments, but it can also displace or price out poorer residents. Policies must consider these different outcomes, especially how TOD gains can be used to enhance the position of the poor through the provision of, for example, affordable housing or close proximity to employment. As a final point, given the opportunities for corruption that surround the market value gains TOD provides, it is important to define clear and transparent rules and procedures in the initial stages and to subsequently monitor planning and development over the course of the project.



    The Surabaya Urban Corridor Development Program, GP SURR Forum Presentation, Taimur Samad, Senior Urban Economist, World Bank

    Transforming Cities with Transit, Key TOD Activities in China, by Gerald Ollivier, Senior Transport Specialist, World Bank