The following 10 principles are general guidelines for planning TOD districts and neighborhoods. Densities, details, and design vary project by project depending on many factors including location, context, availability of redevelopment property, surrounding development, etc. 

These 10 principles are a starting point for further work preparing specific local development plans working with the community. Examples of these plans are located on our 'Reports' page.

 1. Put stations in locations with highest ridership potential and development opportunities
 2. Designate 1/2 mile radius around station as higher density, mixed-use, walkable development
 3. Create range of densities with highest at station, tapering down to existing neighborhoods
Design station site for seamless pedestrian connections to surrounding development*

 5. Create public plaza directly fronting one or more sides of the station building
 6. Create retail and cafe streets leading to station entrances along main pedestrian connections
 7. Reduce parking at station, site a block or two away, direct pedestrian flow along retail streets
 8. Enhance multi-modal connections, making transfers easy, direct, and comfortable
 9. Incorporate bikeshare, a comprehensive bikeway network, and large ride-in bike parking areas
10. Use station as catalyst for major redevelopment of area and great placemaking around station

*Getting the layout of the station right is one of the most important early moves that will lock in desirable or undesirable patterns, and dictate many factors including pedestrian and bicycle use, level of traffic all around the station, quality of station area development, location of cafes and retail, and overall success of the rail system.

Avoid the conventional "station in a parking lot" scenario shown below on the left.

Rail station modeled after airport - isolated, separate from city, only access by car or bus - adding delays and additional complications to people's travels

Dangerous and unpleasant for pedestrians, discourages walking to and from the station

Dangerous for bicycles and discourages riding to and from station

Increases vehicular traffic, noise, pollution, accidents and delays all around the station

Discourages integration with surrounding city; discourages quality real estate development - cafes & retail surrounding the station


Station modeled after downtown rail stations - directly embedded and integrated into the city - accessible by walking, car, bus, and transit

Safe, pleasant, lively environment encourages walking to station, shopping, hanging out in cafes, etc.

Safe for bicycles, easy access, plenty of bike parking in multiple locations around station

Reduces vehicular traffic to, and around the station; high percent of people arrive on foot or bicycle

Station directly integrates into the city, encouraging high quality cafes, restaurants, retail, commercial, and residential development right up to the door of station