The Transit Oriented Development Certification is a national project evaluation and endorsement program to promote sustainability by highlighting exemplary projects showcasing TOD best practices. The Certification program allows developers, transit agencies, design firms, municipalities, and others to submit projects for official review and rating. TOD has proven highly successful in creating vibrant, livable, sustainable communities that are successful financially, as well as creating great places for people to live, work, and play.

TODs are a major solution to climate change by creating low-carbon lifestyles with more walking and less driving.
The goal of the program is to give national and international recognition to visionary projects to help accelerate TOD best practices and advance the next wave of Transit Oriented Development across America and around the world.


1. How will this Certification & rating help me as a developer, transit agency, design firm, or municipality?

Certification gives your project national recognition, and highlights it as a national model for Transit Oriented Development. Certification helps gain public support for a project at critical early stages. Certification will also distinguish your project as high quality TOD to potential financiers and investors. You may be trying to get community support for your project during the planning/permitting phase. Or, you may be trying to attract socially and environmentally conscious business owners, residents, and
tenants to your projects. Whatever stage your project is in, this is a great marketing tool to help inform the community of your goals with the project while highlighting the importance of transit oriented development.

2. Is my project eligible for Certification?

Eligible projects include those in the conceptual stage, permitting, under construction, or already completed. Projects MUST be within a 1/2 mile of a rail station, but can be in an urban or suburban location. This includes projects located within the U.S., or internationally.

3. What type of rail station does my project have to be near?

The TOD Institute recognizes that rail investment and accessibility are integral to high quality TOD, and fostering a widespread walkable lifestyle. Thus, eligible projects can be located near any type of rail system including high speed rail,
commuter rail, metro, light rail, and streetcar. In addition to rail, we encourage multi-modal transit options at the station, as close to the entrance as possible.    

4. Can I submit a partial plan?

No, projects that are part of a master plan (even if broken up into phases) must be submitted in their entirety.

5. What will I receive after my project is evaluated?

For each project the TOD Institute evaluates, we produce a project report that will indicate the features of the project that meet the TOD judging criteria, and why, as well as areas that could be improved upon. This confidential report will be provided to the applicant regardless of the rating the project receives.

6. Will my project automatically get certified if I submit?

No. The TOD Institute upholds high standards of excellence and accountability for all projects submitted for rating. We encourage anyone interested in submitting a project to first carefully review the judging criteria before submitting your project. The judging criteria is outlined on the How it Works Page.

7. What if my project gets a lower ranking than I wanted, or it doesn't meet the minimum criteria to get certified?

The goal of this program is to create an open dialogue between applicants and the TOD Institute. As part of the process we produce a confidential detailed report indicating areas for improvement, especially regarding criteria that were not met during the evaluation. If you are unsatisfied with your rating, we encourage applicants to make improvements where possible and re-submit the project.

8. Is there a fee to re-submit my project?

Yes, but once the TOD Institute has reviewed a project the second review of the same project will be carried out for a 50% reduced review fee, even if the project has been changed significantly. Our goal is to encourage high standards of design and placemaking, and to help projects become Certified.

9. How long will it take for my project to be evaluated?

The normal review process takes 3 weeks to complete from the day all information has been submitted. For special circumstances, we can offer an expedited review speeding up the process by up to 50% depending on the capacity of the TOD Institute reviewers. An additional expedited fee will be required to receive this expedited service.

10. How is this rating system different from others?

The Transit Oriented Development Certification program focuses entirely on Transit Oriented Development. This includes the full spectrum of design and development from the rail station itself, to its relationship with the surrounding community, to the details of developments in proximity to the station, to the entire pedestrian and bicycle network connecting the
neighborhoods with the station.

For more information on Transit Oriented Development:  Research | Reports | Principles | Projects

If you have additional questions not answered above, please email us:  email (@)

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