Transit Oriented Development is at the very heart and soul of sustainability, and brings together compact, walkable communities with high quality rail systems. This creates low carbon lifestyles by enabling people to live, work, and play without depending on a car for mobility. This type of lifestyle can reduce energy consumption and driving by up to 85%.
Well designed TOD empowers people with the choice to walk, cycle, or take public transportation to meet their daily needs by providing greater transit accessibility and a mix of uses within the community fabric. This is an urban development response to the congestion, carbon emissions, and inefficiency of single-use, suburban sprawl.
Transit oriented development is a set of transportation and land use planning principles and strategies that are sweeping the nation by connecting communities with vibrant, people-centric places in city after city. The public has embraced the concept, and real estate developers have quickly followed to meet the high demand for quality urban places served by rail systems. This is not only because TOD can offer a higher quality of life, but because it offers a triple bottom line solution to economic, social, and environmental sustainability.
UNSUSTAINABLE & TOXIC SUSTAINABLE & GREEN
"The choice is ours—yours and mine. We can stay with business as usual and preside over an economy that continues to destroy its natural support systems until it destroys itself, or we can adopt Plan B and be the generation that changes direction, moving the world onto a path of sustained progress. The choice will be made by our generation, but it will affect life on earth for all generations to come." -Lester Brown
RENEWABLE ENERGY ELECTRIC RAIL WALKABLE TOD COMMUNITIES
True sustainability includes all three components: Renewable energy, national electric rail network, and dense, walkable TODs around all the stations. A national HSR network is the centerpiece of a sustainable America, and will significantly reduce congestion and our dependence on cars and oil, while cutting our carbon emissions by epic proportions. The entire system can be powered by clean, safe renewable energy including wind, solar, geothermal, and ocean/tidal.
Clean electric trains are a major form of daily transportation in numerous countries, and are the single most powerful transportation choice that can solve serious mobility, energy, environmental, economic, health, and social problems simultaneously - on a global scale.
When combined wtih extensive rail systems, TODs complete the sustainable community model as stand-alone communities, or a series of towns strung along a rail line like pearls on a string. TODs are the integration of community design with rail system planning, enabling better functioning communities and regions at all scales.
Low density, spread-out places force everyone to drive for every trip, resulting in a large carbon footprint. Compact and walkable places are far more green.
Sustainable transportation for America - 3-tiered electric rail network
High speed rail is the backbone of a national, rail-based transportation system. When combined with regional rail, light rail, metro systems, streetcars and trams, a complete and integrated rail network is achieved enabling easy, fast mobility throughout the system. Coordinating and encouraging compact, mixed-use development around the rail stations completes the system by enabling people to live, work, and play along the system without the need for a car. Together, these save time, money, energy, and lives while providing the 21st century, green and sustainable lifestyle for all.
"It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century." -IPCC Report, 2014. ("Extremely likely" is defined in the report as above 95% chance).
"The SYR confirms that human influence on the climate system is clear and growing, with impacts observed across all continents and oceans. Many of the observed changes since the 1950s are unprecedented over decades to millennia. The IPCC is now 95 percent certain that humans are the main cause of current global warming. In addition, the SYR finds that the more human activities disrupt the climate, the greater the risks of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems, and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system."
"The SYR highlights that we have the means to limit climate change and its risks, with many solutions that allow for continued economic and human development. However, stabilizing temperature increase to below 2°C relative to pre-industrial levels will require an urgent and fundamental departure from business as usual. Moreover, the longer we wait to take action, the more it will cost and the greater the technological, economic, social and institutional challenges we will face."
The Transit Oriented Development Institute is a project of the US High Speed Rail Association. For more information, interviews, or consultation, contact us by phone (202) 248-5001 or email: email (@) tod.org Mailing Address: Transit Oriented Development Institute US High Speed Rail Association