A recently released Capitol Research brief from the Council of State Governments (CSG) focuses on the successes and failures of development around passenger rail projects. The brief examines land-use issues states should focus on as they prepare to use federal funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to improve intercity passenger rail lines and begin constructing some high-speed routes.
"Although local governments, transit agencies, metropolitan planning organizations, and special-purpose districts must all work collaboratively on transit development issues, state governments play an important role in ensuring the development that takes place around transit stations both serves the overall vision for the community and state and taps all the potential benefits of state and federal investment in the transit system," according to the brief.
One example discussed in the report involves the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit System. With a San Francisco-to-Los Angeles high-speed-rail line in the works, planners and researchers are seeking to prevent some key mistakes made when that transit system was developed during the 1960s, CSG notes. Those mistakes, according to the brief, included the lack of an effective land-use plan and the consequent limits placed on the system's overall connectivity and the accessibility of several of its stations.
States can avoid such mistakes and facilitate efficient transit-oriented development in several ways, according to CSG. These include encouraging regional coordination as well as public/private partnerships; establishing collaborative relationships among various stakeholders at the state level; creating goals to promote tax savings and environmental well-being; developing financial incentives or grants for planning, property acquisition, and construction; eliminating regulatory obstacles for land use; and supplying technical assistance to local governments.
"State governments in the years ahead are likely to be on the forefront of shaping policies that will ensure the right kind of development takes place around rail stations -- development that makes the best use of public- and private-sector dollars, creates sustainable rail-serviced communities, and ensures the short- and long-term success of the high-speed-rail network," according to the brief. "Most importantly, they will ensure the full benefits of transit and transit-oriented development are achieved for transportation, the environment, the economy, and the health of communities."
The nine-page brief, "Transit-Oriented Development," is available at bit.ly/CSG-Study.