Sofia Becker, Center for Neighborhood Technology
This fall, the Center for Transit Oriented Development (CTOD) launched the TOD Database, a map-based website that provides comprehensive information on 4,610 transit stations across the country. The TOD Database is a first-of-its-kind tool for planners, developers, academics and government officials. It is designed to help stakeholders understand and take advantage of development opportunities around transit nodes.
Available at http://toddata.cnt.org, the TOD Database contains 3,775 existing and 835 proposed fixed-route transit stations in 47 regions, including commuter rail, subway, light rail, streetcars, bus rapid transit (with a dedicated right-of-way) and ferries.
The website is a one-stop-shop for over 40,000 data fields synthesized from nationally available data sets that provide information on demographics, workforce characteristics, density, and affordability. Data sources include the 2000 Decennial Census, 2000 Census Transportation Planning Package, 2002-2008 Local Employment Dynamics, and the Center for Neighborhood Technology’s Housing and Transportation Affordability Index. Users have access to a series of standard data reports or can query the data to create custom reports. Reports can be downloaded as a Microsoft Word table or Excel spreadsheet.
Data is available at three geographic levels: the transit zone (the 1/2 mile or 1/4 mile buffer around an individual station), transit shed (the aggregate of transit zones), and transit region (aligns with the Metropolitan Statistical Area boundary). Transit sheds can be calculated for selected stations, an entire line, an entire agency, or all transit zones in a region. An important feature of the transit shed statistics is that when two transit zones overlap the transit shed does not double count the data. Data is aggregated on the fly so users can view data for any combination of geographies.
Funded by the Federal Transit Administration, the TOD Database was originally developed as a GIS platform for CTOD to analyze conditions around the nation’s existing and potential rail stations and identify TOD markets. The three organizations that comprise CTOD — Reconnecting America, the Center for Neighborhood Technology, and Strategic Economics — understood the numerous applications this information could have and opted to make the data publicly available in a user-friendly mapping website. In the coming year, CTOD plans to incorporate newly released American Community Survey data and additional national datasets, as well as evaluate the potential to include local datasets.
The author can be reached at sbecker (at) cnt (dot) org