Transit Oriented Development

When cities and towns in the U.S. were forming before the spread of automobility, development occurred in patterns consistent with transit travel, primarily rail. After rail transit's long hiatus, a few new systems came into being without supportive land-use.

As an idea, Transit Oriented Development called attention to that deficiency, and attempts to remedy it.

In this website we look at examples from elsewhere, and follow the course of station site development in Sonoma and Marin Counties. For a discussion of what is and isn't Transit Oriented Development, click here.

TOD in the Bay Area

Among the better efforts toward TOD are some at Caltrain stations on the Peninsula south of San Francisco. Two of the earlier ones are in Mountain View in Santa Clara County: the Mountain View station in downtown Mountain View, and The Crossings, adjacent to the San Antonio station.

San Mateo County has two more recent TOD developments: Franklin Street, in Redwood City near the Redwood City station, and the Hacienda Pacific development in San Carlos near the San Carlos station.

None of these would be considered complete TODs, but they have some exemplary elements.

Unfortunately, of these four stations, the new (Spring 2004) Caltrain express trains will serve only the Mountain View station. This will mean an overall diminution of service at the San Antonio station.


We will try to document how Transit Oriented Development at each station along the SMART line. Not much has happened yet, but kudos to those cities and developers that can think ahead and plan for the SMART opportunity.

Click on station






TOD on the Web

A Caltrans website - The California Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Searchable Database. Has lots of data, photos, maps of around 25 rail station areas with TOD in California.

Reconnecting America's Center for Transit Oriented Development




the Bullet

Most of the planners and academics know full well that the chief underlying problem in TOD today is FREE PARKING. It is the engine that drives suburban sprawl and keeps the automobile production lines humming. It could hardly have a place in Transit Oriented Development.

Yet virtually all attempts to create pedestrian and transit oriented places today are undertaken in denial of this issue.

This is well illustrated by the Downtown Mountain View example referenced above. It is a great project, highly innovative, and has been quite successful in many respects. It is very well known, and certain of its features are becoming widely copied by other towns whose citizens envy its pizazz.

Even today downtown Mountain View is attempting to continue its past Parking Denial. All parking there is still free. There are no innovations in the direction of having auto users pay for their own parking.

More detail on parking

A look at the density numbers



TOD in Santa Rosa