Transit-oriented Development (TOD) Guide for Urban Communities

Building on the transit-oriented development (TOD or DOTS in Spanish) approach, this manual proposes planning and design strategies to improve quality of life in cities. Examples draw from Mexican cities, while the guide provides useful insights for other countries as well. The guide is aimed at private sector decision makers, investors, and builders, and contains 28 concrete recommendations for designing more inclusive, sustainable cities.

To learn more about how transit-oriented development shapes sustainable, livable cities, see TheCityFix's People-Oriented Cities blog series. 



The world is urbanizing and motorizing at an unprecedented speed. Between now and 2030, the world’s cities are expected to add 1.5 billion people – and build more urban area than has been created in humanity’s entire history. However, most developments around the world have taken place in an unsustainable manner, with priorities given to cars than public transit or pedestrian connections. This development pattern often results in unsustainable neighborhoods with large urban blocks, and poor pedestrian and biking environments.

Private motorization is growing rapidly, with 1 billion cars expected to be added between now and 2030. This soaring number of cars exacerbates the problems that cities are facing today such as congestion and air pollution. Transit oriented development (TOD), which promotes dense, mix-used urban development with good walking and biking connections around transit stations, is a useful and important concept for urbanizing regions and cities.

This TOD Guide for Urban Communities shares the best practice guidelines in transit oriented development around the world. This publication summarizes 28 concrete design recommendations for transit oriented development. It also identifies seven steps that developers and authorities should follow in transit oriented development. The target audiences are real estate developers, public sector decision makers, researchers, and citizens searching for quality-of-life improvement.

The document was originally written by EMBARQ Mexico, with the aim of providing TOD design criteria and recommendations for urban projects in Mexico. However, through the knowledge and practices of EMBARQ network, we found the urban challenges cities are facing today are extremely similar; and solutions like TOD are applicable to cities all around the world. We hope you find this publication useful. We also hope the knowledge contained in this report can be transferred to on-the-ground practices and help catalyze sustainable changes in urban development around the world.

Adriana Lobo, Director, EMBARQ Mexico and Robin King, Director, Urban Development and Accessibility, EMBARQ

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