The Role of States and Nation-states in Smart Growth Planning
New Horizons in Regional Science series
Edited by Gerrit-Jan Knaap, Huibert A. Haccoû, Kelly J. Clifton and John W. Frece
Chapter 7: Transit-oriented Development in the US: Contemporary Practices, Impacts and Policy Directions
Robert Cervero To some, ‘transit-oriented development’ (TOD) and ‘the US’ in the same title is an oxymoron. After all, the US is the world’s most car-dependent society, prodigious and disproportionate in its consumption of cars and the fossil fuels that propel them, and in the emission of pollutants and greenhouse gases that come out their tailpipes. To the degree that cities and particularly suburbs of Europe and other parts of the world are increasingly looking like those in America, lessons and insights from US experiences in promoting transit-oriented development and curbing car dependence have saliency. TOD’s growing popularity in the US is due largely to three key factors. One, it is a visible, cogent form of smart growth. Citizens, politicians and those of diﬀerent ideological persuasions appreciate that if there is a logical place to concentrate urban growth, it is in and around transit stations. Second, demographic and lifestyle trends are working in favor of TOD. Living around transit stations appeals to growing numbers of Americans, like childless couples, ‘generation x-ers’ (those in their 20s and 30s whose teen years were touched by events in the 1980s and 1990s), and ‘empty nesters’ who value convenience and access and place a premium on being in a walkable community replete with urban amenities. Third, TOD is market-based urbanism. That is, if car use was priced to reﬂect true marginal social costs, similar to what one ﬁnds in Singapore or London, then US cities would look more like these places, featuring...
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