Growing Station AreasThe Variety and Potential of Transit Oriented Development in Metro Boston                          Me...
Table of Contents       	 1	 Growing Station Areas: Executive Summary       	3	 Introduction       	 4	 The Diversity of M...
Growing Station Areas: Executive SummaryTransit oriented development has been a large part of Boston’s growth since the ea...
Based on current development    proposals, existing land use, and    redevelopment opportunities,    MAPC estimates that t...
IntroductionImagine you are riding on a subway or commuter rail train, somewhere in the MBTA’s 3,200square mile service ar...
The Diversity of Metro Boston Station Areas    Our study area includes 283 fixed guideway MBTA stations1, including       ...
The Many Size and Shapes of TOD in Metro BostonThe good news about TOD is that there is a considerable amount of it alread...
The Benefits of Transit Oriented Development    Transit oriented development—done right in the right place—creates    bene...
A Station Area Typology for Metro BostonThe great diversity of station areas in the region means that a single approach to...
The figure on this page shows how these sta-     tion area types compare based on their current                           ...
Following this hybrid quantitative/qualitative approach to stationclassification, MAPC confirmed the typology through the ...
Estimating the Potential for TOD in Metro Boston     Given a framework for organizing the diverse contexts and opportuniti...
Commercial Redevelopment: the amount of rede-         Estimating TOD Potential: Average Station Area Development Factorsve...
Station Area Type         Commercial/Industrial                                        Residential     We have a long way ...
MAPC also estimated the ridership that might result from this new                          TOD Housing and Employment:    ...
ConclusionWhile there is no one-size-fits-all approach to TOD in Metro Boston, many stations share similar attributes, cha...
Station Area Typology Matrix                                          Metro Core               Seaport / Airport          ...
Urban Gateway                  Town & Village               Commerce Park             Suburban Transformation        Undev...
Growing Station Areas: The Variety and Potential of Transit Oriented Development in Metro Boston
Growing Station Areas: The Variety and Potential of Transit Oriented Development in Metro Boston
Growing Station Areas: The Variety and Potential of Transit Oriented Development in Metro Boston
Growing Station Areas: The Variety and Potential of Transit Oriented Development in Metro Boston
Growing Station Areas: The Variety and Potential of Transit Oriented Development in Metro Boston
Growing Station Areas: The Variety and Potential of Transit Oriented Development in Metro Boston
Growing Station Areas: The Variety and Potential of Transit Oriented Development in Metro Boston
Growing Station Areas: The Variety and Potential of Transit Oriented Development in Metro Boston
Growing Station Areas: The Variety and Potential of Transit Oriented Development in Metro Boston
Growing Station Areas: The Variety and Potential of Transit Oriented Development in Metro Boston
Growing Station Areas: The Variety and Potential of Transit Oriented Development in Metro Boston
Growing Station Areas: The Variety and Potential of Transit Oriented Development in Metro Boston
Growing Station Areas: The Variety and Potential of Transit Oriented Development in Metro Boston
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Growing Station Areas: The Variety and Potential of Transit Oriented Development in Metro Boston


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Growing Station Areas: The Variety and Potential of Transit Oriented Development in Metro Boston

  1. 1. Growing Station AreasThe Variety and Potential of Transit Oriented Development in Metro Boston Metropolitan Area Planning Council June, 2012
  2. 2. Table of Contents 1 Growing Station Areas: Executive Summary 3 Introduction 4 The Diversity of Metro Boston Station Areas 7 The Many Sizes and Shapes of TOD in Metro Boston 9 A Station Area Typology for Metro Boston 14 Estimating the Potential for TOD in Metro Boston 19 Conclusion 20 Matrix of Station Area Types and TOD Potential 22 Station Area Type SummariesAuthors: Tim Reardon, Meghna DuttaMAPC Contributors: Jennifer Raitt, Jennifer Riley, Christine Madore, Barry Fradkin, Holly St. ClairAdvisor: Stephanie Pollack, Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy at Northeastern UniversityGraphic design: Jason Fairchild, The Truesdale GroupFunded by the Metro Boston Consortium for Sustainable Communities and the Boston Metropolitan Planning Organization with support from theDukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University. Thanks to the Metro Boston Transit Oriented Development Finance Advi-sory Committee for their participation in this effort.Visit to download this report, access the data for each station, or use our interactive map of station areas.Cover Photos (L to R): Waverly Woods, Hamilton Canal Lofts, Station Landing, Bartlett Square Condos, Atlantic Wharf.Photo Credits: Cover (L to R): Ed Wonsek, DBVW Architects, 75 Station Landing, Maple Hurst Builders, Anton Grassl/EstoInside (Top to Bottom): Pg1: David Steger, MAPC, SouthField; Pg 2: Oaktree Greenline Project; Pg 3: ©,Anton Grassl/Esto; Pg 8: MAPC; Pg 14: Boston Redevelopment Authority; Pg 18: Federal Realty; Pg 19: ©; Pg 22: Payton Chungflickr, David Steger; Pg 23: MAPC, Boston Redevelopment Authority; Pg 24: ©, Maple Hurst Builders; Pg 25: 75 Station Land-ing, 2008 Asian CDC Competition Team; Pg 26: Beacon Communities LLC, Beal + Street-Works Development LLC; Pg 27: Cliff Boehmer, Oaktree Green-lin Project, MAPC; Pg 28: MA Pictometry, Legacy Place-Dedham, MA; Pg 29: The Seaport at Cordage, Southfield; Pg 30: MAPC; Pg 31: Lincoln Station
  3. 3. Growing Station Areas: Executive SummaryTransit oriented development has been a large part of Boston’s growth since the earliesthorse-drawn railways. In fact, we live in a uniquely transit-oriented region, where 25% ofhousing units and 37% of employment is within a half-mile of a rapid transit or commuter railstation. Now Metro Boston is experiencing a new wave of growth near transit, with hundredsof residential and commercial developments underway and more on the horizon. Cities andtowns are creating station area plans and updated zoning to unlock development potential;the MBTA is accepting proposals for major developments on prime T-owned parcels; stateagencies are using transit proximity as a criteria for prioritizing infrastructure or housingresources; and the development community is finding a strong market for residential andcommercial space near the T.There are good reasons for this burgeoning interest in Transit Oriented The Transit Station Area Types, illustratedDevelopment (TOD.) New growth near transit stations can help reduce on the following page, are distinguished bycongestion, improve affordability, bolster the T’s bottom line, and satisfy their population and employment density,the growing demographic preference for transit proximity. MAPC’s transit service type, land use, demographics,regional plan MetroFuture sees TOD as a key ingredient for a sustainable, and travel behavior. In addition to this infor-equitable, and prosperous region. But with over 250 rapid transit and mation about existing conditions, the typescommuter rail stations in the MBTA system, there is no one-size-fits-all also reflect nature and magnitude of devel-approach to TOD. Downtown Boston, streetcar suburbs, gateway cities, opment that could occur over the comingand village centers all present distinct and complementary opportuni- decades. Some station area types are moreties for growth near transit. likely to see small-scale infill development orThe region’s TOD activity reflects this diversity: within a half mile of adaptive reuse that reinforces or strength-MBTA stations there are over 30,000 housing units and 45 million square ens the existing fabric and character of thefeet of commercial space planned or under construction, ranging from station area. Other types are amenable tohigh-rise office towers and small-scale infill to entirely new transit dis- large-scale “transformational” developmenttricts and compact townhouse communities. Growing station areas are that creates entirely new urban districts.poised to be a major focus of the region’s residential and commercial The benefits of TOD differ widely acrossdevelopment over the coming 25 years. these types. Around many stations, theWhile TOD holds great promise, the sheer number and diversity of density and diversity of land use contributestransit stations complicates efforts to plan for TOD at a regional level, to high transit ridership and low auto prioritize infrastructure investments and incentives, or to evaluate But in low-density, auto-oriented stationspecific development proposals. A better understanding of this diversity areas, proximity to transit has a more limitedwill support context-sensitive policies to achieve the full potential of impact on travel patterns. This distinctionTOD. In response to this need, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council is relevant to the many housing, economic,has developed a new station area typology that defines ten distinct and transportation programs that use transittypes, ranging from the Metro Core stations of Downtown Boston to proximity to prioritize funding, incentives, orUndeveloped stations in quiet country suburbs. investments. 1
  4. 4. Based on current development proposals, existing land use, and redevelopment opportunities, MAPC estimates that transit station areas could accommodate more than 76,000 new housing units and space for more than 130,000 new jobs by 2035: nearly one-third of projected housing unit growth regionwide and more than half of projected job growth. Achieving this level of growth would yield substantial benefits as compared to a more dispersed growth scenario: fewer vehicle miles travelled, lower housing and transportation costs, increased economic vitality, and higher transit ridership: more than 60,000 commute trips per weekday, not to mention non-work trips. Additional ridership would also bolster the MBTA’s fare revenue, but only if the system has the capacity to transport those additional riders. If lack of transit capacity becomes a constraint on TOD, growth might shift to more auto-oriented locations (creating more congestion); residents will drive more; and employers may simply decide to locate in other regions or states. While the development pipeline is strong, there is a need to pick up the pace. From 2000 – 2010, the region added more than 15,000 new housing units near transit. This demon- strates strong demand, but the rate of housing development needs to double in order to achieve the full potential of TOD in the region. The transit station area typology can help advance equitable and sustainable TOD in a variety of ways: • Housing, economic development, and infrastructure programs can use the typology to establish funding criteria that reflect both local conditions as well as regional TOD goals. • Analysis of TOD financing needs and the design of potential new TOD finance prod- ucts can acknowledge the distinct station area types and the different finance/market conditions that exist in each one. • Technical assistance from MAPC and other partners can be targeted to station areas with strong potential for TOD but few developments in the pipeline. • Municipalities and stakeholders can use the analysis to evaluate specific development proposals against the range of densities and project attributes appropriate for the sta- tion area type. • The MBTA can use the analysis of TOD potential to plan for capacity expansion or to evaluate the potential development impacts of service changes. All of the data developed for this report can be downloaded or viewed with our interac- tive data viewer at
  5. 5. IntroductionImagine you are riding on a subway or commuter rail train, somewhere in the MBTA’s 3,200square mile service area. You arrive at a station and the door opens. Where are you? TheFinancial District or a traditional town center? A bustling urban neighborhood or a quietpark-and-ride station? A streetcar suburb or a suburban industrial park?The communities served by the MBTA are as diverse as the region itself, human-scale urban design. Others stationand the real estate development that is occurring near these stations areas lack key ingredients, such as densityis similarly diverse, not to mention substantial: there are over 30,000 or land use diversity, and therefore do nothousing units and 45 million square feet of commercial space planned generate the kinds of benefits that transitor under construction near transit, ranging from high-rise office towers proximity can confer (high transit rider-and small-scale infill developments to entirely new transit districts and ship, low auto usage, strong tax revenues,compact townhouse communities. This new wave of Transit Oriented and a diversity of residents.) TOD can Principles of TODDevelopment (TOD) is no accident. Recognizing the significant benefits reinforce and—where necessary—remedi-that result from TOD (see page 8), cities and towns have been busy creat- ate these existing conditions to enhance Research across the U.S. has identifieding station area plans and updating their zoning to unlock development the performance of station areas. A better a set of common characteristics of TODpotential; the MBTA is actively soliciting proposals for development on understanding of how these conditions that are correlated with better transpor-prime T-owned parcels near stations; state agencies are using transit and opportunities vary across the region tation performance, greater economicproximity as a criteria for prioritizing infrastructure or housing resources; will help decision makers craft policies and return, and improved social equity.and the development community is finding a strong market for TOD— make investments that support sustain-both residential and commercial—across the region. able and equitable TOD. • A diversity of land uses, including em-Despite this interest, there has been little effort to characterize the This report seeks to fill that gap through ployment and common destinationsTOD opportunities that exist across the MBTA system, to estimate the an analysis of more than 280 existing and magnitude of development that proposed subway, trolley, bus rapid tran- • Higher levels of density appropriate might be accommodated over sit, or commuter rail stations in Metro Bos- to the community context the coming decades, or to tailor ton to determine their existing conditions, • A mix of housing options and dedi- policies that reflect the diversity of planned development, and prospects for cated housing affordability TOD opportunities in the region. development. Based on this analysis and With more than 250 stations in all review of similar efforts elsewhere, MAPC • Intermodal connectivity (pedes- corners of the region, no one ap- has also identified ten different station trian and bicycle connections, other proach will be applicable every- area types in the region. transit) where. There are common princi- This work was initiated for an effort ples and characteristics that define funded by the Metro Boston Consortium • Green infrastructure and open space successful TOD (see sidebar), but for Sustainable Communities to develop the application of these principles • Low parking requirements and alter- new TOD financing tools for the region, natives to car ownership (e.g., Zipcar) depends on community context. but the typology has broader application Some stations already have a very for policy creation, resource allocation, • High quality urban design and sense strong ridership base, a mix of uses, and evaluation of specific development complete pedestrian infrastruc- of place proposals. ture, diverse housing choices, and 3
  6. 6. The Diversity of Metro Boston Station Areas Our study area includes 283 fixed guideway MBTA stations1, including Line in Milton, and in underutilized commercial/industrial areas such as 149 subway , trolley, or bus rapid transit stops; 119 commuter rail-only Assembly Square, Wellington, and Revere. Beyond Route 128, station stations; and 15 proposed stations along the Green Line Extension or areas vary considerably, ranging from higher-density (50 – 100 per the South Coast Rail2. A map of all station areas with labels can be found acre) urban stations with balanced development to moderate-density inside the back cover of this report. For purposes of this analysis, station suburban areas and very low-density areas with fewer than 10 persons areas are based on a 1/2 mile radius around the station, though some per developed acre. boundaries were adjusted to account for water bodies or other barriers. Since one of the fundamental goals of TOD is to increase transit rider- Principal data sources for our analysis include the U.S. Census (popula- ship and reduce vehicle miles travelled (VMT), it is also important to tion & housing), American Community Survey (income and commute assess the transportation ‘performance’ of existing stations. Transit mode), InfoGroup (employment), MBTA (ridership), and MassGIS (land proximity alone does not assure sustainable transportation patterns, use), among others. especially where densities are low and destinations are few. The map on The data immediately demonstrate that we live in a transit-oriented page 6 shows the daily VMT per household for each station area, with region. The ½ mile station areas constitute just 5% of the region’s land larger circles indicating higher mileage. (For comparison, the average area but include 25% of its housing units, and 37% of total employ- daily VMT for all of Metro Boston is 49 miles per day.) The patterns here ment (470,000 housing units and 880,000 jobs). However, the amount are nearly the inverse of the intensity in Map. The lowest VMT (<20 miles of existing development around transit stations varies dramatically. One per day) is found almost exclusively in station areas with intensities of measure of development is intensity, the combined population and em- 35 persons or more per developed acre. Meanwhile, above average ployment within the station area. Since some station areas include large VMT occurs in 80 station areas with intensities of less than 25 persons areas of open space, ocean, or otherwise unavailable land, we have per developed acre. This is a particular concern in the low-density, low/ calculated the normalized intensity which is population and jobs divided moderate-income station areas, where VMT is well above the regional by acreage in developed land uses. Station areas also vary in the type average and a low income household might pay over a quarter of its of development. Some are predominantly residential; others are major income on transportation. Not only does such development fail to employment centers. The mix of a station area is the ratio of workers to achieve the sustainability objectives of TOD, but it may also unduly total intensity in the station area. A value near 1.0 indicates relatively burden low-income households in those locations. This should be an more employment, and a values close to 0.0 indicate predominately important consideration of initiatives to site suburban affordable hous- residential areas. ing near transit. Fortunately, the data also suggest that, given the right The map on the opposite page shows the normalized intensity and conditions, high-income station areas may perform well. In Brookline, development mix for transit station areas in the region. Not surprisingly, for example, a high density of destinations and high barriers to car own- the highest intensities are found in the Inner Core, where there are 31 ership result in low VMT. stations with intensities of over 100 persons per developed acre. The inset shows that the development mix becomes increasingly employ- ment-heavy toward the hub of the system. The lowest intensities on the core subway system are found in the moderate density residential neighborhoods along the Green Line Riverside Branch and the Red 1 Our study area comprises the 164 municipalities in the MetroFuture study area and the Boston MPO transportation modeling region. This area excludes six stations on the outer reaches of the Worcester, Fitchburg, and Providence commuter rail lines as well as the ends of the South Coast Rail. 2 We acknowledge that there is a growing body of research to suggest that high frequency bus routes can also support TOD, but have chosen to focus on rail and BRT for clarity of scope, availability of4 data, and management of workload.
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  9. 9. The Many Size and Shapes of TOD in Metro BostonThe good news about TOD is that there is a considerable amount of it alreadyunderway in Metro Boston. MAPC’s Development Database includes informationon 391 development projects in the station areas completed or in constructionas of January 2011, comprising nearly 15,000 housing units and 15 million squarefeet of commercial or office space. The Database also includes information about210 projects planned or proposed, comprising 27,000 housing units and morethan 27 million square feet of commercial and office space. The diversity of theseprojects is comparable to the variety of station areas themselves.TOD projects completed over the past decade range from small townhouse developments in a villagecenter to high-rise office towers in Boston. In fact, the region’s largest real estate development efforts un-derway are transit oriented, including Assembly Row (Somerville), SouthField (Weymouth & Rockland), andSeaport Square (Boston.) These transformative projects are creating entirely new districts around transitstations, often with a new or reconfigured street grid and creation of an entirely new public realm. In themost densely developed areas, TOD builds upward through office or residential tower development, suchas Atlantic Wharf, the Liberty Mutual home office (Back Bay), 45 Province Street (Downtown Crossing), orthe Watermark (Kendall Square.) In urban neighborhoods and city & town centers beyond the hub of thesystem, TOD often occurs through infill on individual vacant or underutilized parcels or through adaptivereuse of historic buildings, with dozens of examples underway from Arboretum Place (Forest Hills) to StonePlace (Melrose) and 30 Haven (Reading.) Less commonly, growth near transit occurs on previously undevel-oped land, including small-scale single family subdivisions or stand-alone multifamily residential develop-ment.There are many factors that contribute to the success of TOD. As noted previously, proximity to transitis not alone sufficient to reap the possible transportation benefits—new development must be pro-grammed, designed, and managed to enable and promote sustainable transit and equitable growth.Unfortunately, not all development near transit fulfills the promise. High-end residential development withabundant parking in urban areas may contribute to the displacement of long-time transit-dependent resi-dents without generating much transit ridership. Low-density single-family or townhouse developmentnear commuter rail stations may preclude the mix of uses that helps reduce auto usage. Multifamily hous-ing that happens to be near commuter rail but no other destinations may drive up transportation costs forresidents, resulting in unaffordable housing and transportation costs. 7
  10. 10. The Benefits of Transit Oriented Development Transit oriented development—done right in the right place—creates benefits for local communities and the broader region: • Reduced vehicle miles travelled and greenhouse gas emis- sions. Households living near transit tend to own fewer cars and drive less than households who lack transit access, even after controlling for income, neighborhood density, and other factors. Not only do residents take transit instead of driving, they also benefit from the greater density of destinations that tend to exist around transit stations. As a result, there are fewer cars on the road and less congestion for people who are driving. • Increased housing and transportation affordability. The cost of living is a major burden to many Metro Boston households and a deterrent to attracting more workers to the region. In Metro Boston, the average household spends 28% of its income on housing and an additional 20% on transportation. As a result of the greater accessibility described above, households in transit station areas spend less of their income on transportation, especially if they can get by with one or zero vehicles instead of two. • Expands housing choices and prevents displacement. National research demonstrates a growing consumer preference for hous- ing units near transit, and some of the region’s fastest growing demographic groups—Hispanics and seniors—demonstrate a preference for transit-accessible locations. More housing near transit is needed to meet this growing demand and to prevent displacement of low- and moderate income families living in transit-rich neighborhoods as real estate prices rise. • Supports economic development. Employers both large and small are increasingly recognizing the value of locating in transit- accessible locations that also feature a variety of housing and destinations of interest to their workers. Firms at the hub of the system have access to a labor market of more than half a million workers living near subway or commuter rail lines. Major employers such as Google, Liberty Mutual, Novartis, Vertex, and others are in the midst of major expansion efforts at the core of the transit system. Many retail and service establishments also choose to locate near transit stops where they have access to a large commuter market. • Increases transit ridership and fare revenue. Development near transit can help to improve the MBTA’s bottom line by increasing ridership and fare revenue. To the extent that increased ridership can be accommodated without additional service frequency, new rider- ship will directly benefit the T’s fare recovery ratio, which is currently at 35%. Revenue from the sale or lease of MBTA land near transit can also improve the system’s bottom line. • Improves health. TOD fosters greater physical activity as people walk to transit and nearby destinations; increased transit usage may also result in fewer auto accidents and less air pollution as compared to a scenario with less transit access. • Reduces sprawl and land consumption. By providing more compact housing choices, generally on redeveloped land near destinations, TOD helps the region to meet its housing needs while consuming less open space. MAPC’s MetroFuture regional plan anticipates that placing 60% of new housing near transit would help preserve 115,000 acres of land as compared to a more dispersed Current Trends scenario.8
  11. 11. A Station Area Typology for Metro BostonThe great diversity of station areas in the region means that a single approach to TOD will not work everywhere.However, it is clear that many stations share similar attributes, challenges, and opportunities and may benefitfrom similar strategies, investments, and design approaches. A framework for understanding the different typesof TOD places will help public policy, planning activities, and project design.Many regions elsewhere in the U.S. have developed TOD or station area Transformational Subway: Subway station areas with potential fortypologies to help inform and organize their TOD efforts. Most com- transformative change through district-scale land development projectsmonly, these typologies utilize a framework developed by the Center involving the redevelopment of multiple city blocks and the creation offor Transit Oriented Development, which defines general categories of new street networks; some stations have specific development projectsstation areas based on existing intensity (population + employees) and already proposed, while others demonstrate similar attributes but havedevelopment mix (ratio of workers to total employment.) However, this no current development proposals.approach does not account for other factors that distinguish station Urban Gateway: Station areas in or adjacent to the downtown of Re-areas, such as service type or community context; and it does not incor- gional Urban Centers, with a moderate-intensity balance of residentialporate any analysis of planned growth or development potential. and commercial development and a large population of low incomeThe Station Area Typology for Metro Boston described here seeks to residents, served by commuter rail or subway and often functioning as aclassify stations into specific categories based on their existing condi- hub for local MBTA or regional transit authority bus service.tions and the nature and magnitude of development that they might Town & Village: Commuter rail station areas in mixed-use town centers,accommodate over the coming decades. Based on this analysis, MAPC business districts, or villages, ranging from outlying Boston neighbor-has identified ten station area types, described below and shown on hoods to suburban downtowns and small village centers.the map on Page 11. A matrix with summary data for each stationarea type appears on Pages 20 & 21; followed by a one-page detailed Commerce Park: Commuter rail station areas in existing office or indus-description of each station type and descriptions of selected stations trial parks or adjacent to major institutional employers outside Boston;on pages 22 - 31. many feature large park & ride facilities.Metro Core: Subway, trolley, and Silver Line station areas in or near Suburban Transformation: Suburban commuter rail station areas likelyDowntown Boston and adjacent high density employment and institu- to experience transformative TOD through a major planned develop-tional centers. These stations have the greatest number of boardings, ment or redevelopment.highest existing intensity, and highest intensity of planned develop- Trolley Suburb: Trolley station areas, mostly in Newton and Milton,ment. that are considerably less dense than other subway station areas, withSeaport / Airport: Areas around Silver Line and Blue Line stations in the higher income, higher VMT, and lower transit commute mode shareSeaport District and at Logan Airport, with low- to moderate intensities, than Neighborhood Subway stations.residents, large amounts of surface parking and underutilized land, very Undeveloped: Isolated commuter rail stations in low-intensity, high-few current residents, and capacity for transformative redevelopment. income suburban areas with very few nearby destinations, incompleteNeighborhood Subway: Subway and trolley station areas in predomi- pedestrian infrastructure, and large areas of vacant undeveloped land.nately residential, moderate-density, transit neighborhoods throughoutthe Inner Core; new development in these station areas is likely to occurthrough parcel-by-parcel infill and redevelopment. 9
  12. 12. The figure on this page shows how these sta- tion area types compare based on their current Transit Station Area Mix and Intensity 1,000 normalized intensity and development mix, depicting the same variability that is apparent Metro Core on thge map on Page 5 with the addition of the station area type. While there is considerable Seaport / Airport overlap among some of the station area types, (Employment + Population) they are also distinguished from one another by Neighborhood Subway a number of factors not depicted on the chart. Per Developed Acre 100 Transformational Subway Other factors used to distinguish the station area Intensity types include: Trolley Suburb • Community Type: This MAPC-defined typol- Urban Gateway ogy summarizes a wide variety of informa- Town & Village tion about municipalities, including recent 10 growth rates, demographics, housing stock, Commerce Park land use, and other attributes that relate to future growth. For example, stations in the Suburban Transformation downtowns of the Regional Urban Centers Undeveloped were identified as a distinct station type given the many characteristics shared by these communities. 1 0.00 0.10 0.20 0.30 0.40 0.50 0.60 0.70 0.80 0.90 1.00 • Transit service availability: some station Mix (employment/(employment + population)) Source: MassGIS, InfoGroup, MAPC Analysis areas are served by a single mode or line; Data are for 1/2 mile non-exclusive station areas others may have multiple service types, may serve as hubs for local bus service, or • Land use and impervious surfaces: Station areas with extensive may be within walking distance of other stations, providing a va- commercial and industrial land uses (based on MassGIS land use riety of transit options that contributes to more sustainable travel data) and large amounts of surface parking may be more support- patterns. ive of substantial TOD than predominately residential areas. • Planned or potential development: We identified station areas • Nearby employment and destinations: the number of employees, that are anticipated to experience substantial growth based on the number of establishments, and the WalkScore of a given sta- projects under construction, specific development proposals, or tion area indicate the mix of destinations that contribute to transit existing conditions amenable to major development. These are usage and lower VMT. For example, the number of establishments the Seaport, Transformational Subway, and Suburban Transforma- and the WalkScore was used to help distinguish the smallest Town tion station areas. & Village stations from Undeveloped station area that include a handful of commercial uses. • Household income, transit mode share, and household VMT: These measure the sustainability and equity performance of transit sta- In consultation with the TOD Finance Working Group of the Metro tion areas. For example, the trolley suburb stations have similar Boston Consortium for Sustainable Communities, MAPC reviewed initial service type and land use to many Neighborhood Subway stations, station area categories and assignments and adjusted them where nec- but much higher income, lower transit usage, and higher VMT. essary to develop types that exhibit both quantitative rigor and utility for planning and development purposes.10
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  15. 15. Following this hybrid quantitative/qualitative approach to stationclassification, MAPC confirmed the typology through the use of LatentClass Analysis (LCA), a statistical technique that is used to find groupsin multivariate categorical data. Based on the data listed above, theLCA returned nine station area classes. More than 200 station areas(70%) were clustered in seven classes strongly consistent with theMAPC typology. The other two classes included a mix of CommercePark, Suburban transformation, Undeveloped, and Seaport stations thatare difficult to classify based solely on the station area statistics. Thisexercise confirmed that our hybrid approach to station area typology isconsistent with a strictly quantitative classification system.The snapshots on the facing page depict the diversity of land use thatexists around typical stations in each type, ranging from the fully-developed commercially-oriented Metro Core stations to the pre-dominately residential Trolley Suburbs and Undeveloped stations. Inconjunction with the data that underlie our analysis, these snapshotsbegin to illustrate the range of opportunities that exist for TOD and thegoals that might be established for different station area types. Neigh-borhood Subway, Urban Gateway, and Town & Village station areasare already transit-oriented communities, and future growth should promote low auto ownership will TOD in these station areas result inreinforce and amplify this orientation by maximizing density appropri- more sustainable transportation patterns. The Commerce Park stationate to the context, establishing pro-transit parking policies, upgrading areas may present substantial opportunities for new growth, but small-pedestrian infrastructure, and adding destinations that complement scale changes are not sufficient to correct the auto-oriented nature ofthe transit availability. these locations that discourage commuters from taking transit. In order to generate substantial ridership and change travel patterns, theseOur analysis of transportation metrics also indicates those station station areas require large-scale redevelopment efforts that restructureareas where new development near transit might not fully achieve the the urban form of these areas to a much higher-density, mixed-use,desired benefits. In the high-income, low-transit usage Trolley Suburbs pedestrian-oriented district.and Undeveloped Station areas, the travel behavior of new residentsand employees is likely to be only marginally better than many non- Finally, it is important to recognize that this is a dynamic system thattransit areas, due to the low density of land uses, the lack of destina- may change over time: a Commerce Park might experience a trans-tions, and high vehicle ownership. Only with very intensive efforts to formation, and over time the Seaport will grow to look more like thebuild at significantly higher densities, add additional destinations, and Metro Core. 13
  16. 16. Estimating the Potential for TOD in Metro Boston Given a framework for organizing the diverse contexts and opportunities of TOD in the region, the next question might be: how much can these stations continue to grow over the next 25 years, and what would be the collective im- pact of this potential TOD? A better understanding of the development poten- tial across different station area types and parts of the system can help to guide the allocation of infrastructure resources or technical assistance. Understanding the amount of development that might occur around stations—and the transit ridership that might result—is also critical to ensuring that the transit system has the capacity to serve that new demand. MAPC’s regional plan MetroFuture identifies transit areas as key growth greater geographic specific- locations established numeric objectives for TOD based on the regional ity, improved data, and detailed methods. growth model. The objectives call for 66% of new development within a MAPC estimates the TOD Potential for each station in the study area mile of fixed route service, a broader definition of transit-oriented, both based on the station area typology, information about land use and geographically and type of service (fixed route includes bus service.) development constraints, and information about development proj- As a result, the development potential estimated by this study is not ects already proposed or planned. Our estimates are based on detailed directly comparable, but supplements the MetroFuture objectives with assumptions about the amount of land that might be developed or redeveloped and the intensity and mix of new growth. The figure on this page illustrates key inputs used for a typical station area. For each station, MAPC calculated the following metrics: • Acreage in commercial, industrial, and residential land use catego- ries, including the estimated surface parking area • Acreage of vacant, potentially developable land • Intensity and mix of existing development • Acreage, intensity, and mix of developments planned, completed, or underway For each land use type, we defined factors for the percent of the area that might be developed or redeveloped over the next 25 years as well as the intensity and mix of development. Standard factors were estab- lished for each station area type based on recent/planned development consistent with TOD principles. Results for each station were evaluated and adjusted values were applied where necessary to reflect station- specific conditions or development projects proposed or underway. The elements of the TOD potential estimation and average assumptions are described on the following page.14
  17. 17. Commercial Redevelopment: the amount of rede- Estimating TOD Potential: Average Station Area Development Factorsvelopment or adaptive reuse of existing commer- % of Existing TOD Potential Housing Density TOD Mixcial land; expressed as a percent of commercial Commercial & Intensity per Intensity (per Acre Increase, (ratio ofacreage (not including surface parking), generally Station Area Type Parking Area Developed of Commercial Existing workers:ranging from 2 – 15%. Higher factors are applied Redeveloped Acre Redevelopment) Neighborhoods intensity)where employment densities are low. Metro Core 8% 300 369 1% 0.58“Other Developed” Redevelopment: redevelop- Seaport / Airport 17% 116 171 2% 0.76ment or adaptive reuse of other developed landuses such as transportation uses, junkyards, Neighborhood 15% 62 82 2% 0.19 Subwayetc.; expressed as a percent of land acreage (notincluding surface parking.) Generally 0% - 2%, but Transformational 28% 48 127 3% 0.39higher in transformational areas. Subway Trolley Suburb 9% 23 58 3% 0.20Parking Reuse: the creation of housing or com-mercial uses on existing surface parking lots; Urban Gateway 10% 43 84 3% 0.26expressed as a percent of parking area, generally Town & Village 8% 20 68 3% 0.24ranging from 5 – 25%. Higher rates applied in Commerce Park 16% 20 52 2% 0.64areas with extensive parking or low employment Suburban Transfor-density. 36% 8 93 4% 0.28 mationGreenfield Development: Development on previ- Undeveloped 10% 9 41 3% 0.14ously undeveloped land; expressed in terms of All Station Areas 14% 81 110 2% 0.43percent of developable land (excludes wetlands,open space, most developed land uses, and trans-portation corridors.) MAPC developed standard assumptions for each station type, based on literature review, professional judgment, and existing plans. TheseTOD Potential Intensity: the intensity of new development (either rede- standard assumptions were augmented by a station-by-station reviewvelopment or greenfield), expressed in terms of population + employ- and comparison to proposed and planned projects in MAPC’s Develop-ment per acre; generally a minimum of 50 (equivalent to 20 housing ment Database. Where indicated by this review, station-specific assump-units per acre or a floor-area ratio of 0.5), though may be much higher tions were applied to account for unique opportunities, constraints, andbased on existing density or intensity of proposed developments in the existing development proposals. We did not factor in the density limitsstation area (if known). of existing zoning because of the lack of regionwide zoning data andTOD Development Mix: the balance of population and jobs in the new because much of the TOD that occurs in the region is permitted throughdevelopment, expressed in terms of employment share of intensity. special permits, variances, and programs such as 40R and 40B. Table 3Based on the mix of existing development but modified based on spe- summarizes the aggregate development/ redevelopment assumptionscific development proposals. and the resulting change in station area intensity.Residential Densification: increase in housing unit density in existingneighborhoods, through infill development, teardowns, subdivisionof single family home to multifamily, or creation of accessory units; ex-pressed as a percent increase in housing unit density, generally rangingfrom 2 – 4%. Value range derived from densification patterns observed2000 – 2010. 15
  18. 18. 16
  19. 19. Station Area Type Commercial/Industrial Residential We have a long way to go to reach this potential. MAPC Greenfield Development compared the estimated TOD potential to recent devel- Redevelopment Densification opment in the station area as documented by Census Total Housing Employ- Total Housing Employ- Housing 2000 and 2010 housing unit count. The chart on this Acres Units ment acres Units ment Units page demonstrates that the rate of housing unit produc- Metro Core 150 8,190 36,510 - - - 680 tion in transit station areas over the last ten years must Seaport / Airport 140 3,680 17,250 - - - 160 double in order to achieve the full potential of TOD. Metro Neighborhood Subway 380 9,670 8,420 10 180 120 3,490 Core, Neighborhood Subway, Town & Village, and Com- merce Park station areas have been growing more rap- Transformational Subway 590 18,540 33,830 30 240 290 1,330 idly, and continuation of recent trends might achieve 50 Trolley Suburb 50 580 1,360 - - - 510 – 80% of TOD potential. Understandably, recent growthUrban Gateway 250 5,770 7,710 - - - 1,770 in the Seaport and Transformational Subway has been very slow compared to the estimates. Of greatestTown & Village 260 5,090 5,850 70 870 1,330 2,670 concern are the Urban Gateway station areas, which ex-Commerce Park 250 1,300 9,550 50 100 610 150 perienced no net change in housing unit counts aroundSuburban Transformation 280 6,360 7,710 40 100 180 50 transit over the past ten years, but which are targeted for nearly 8,000 housing units in the coming decades.Undeveloped 90 1,000 1,340 180 3,220 910 310 While the trolley suburb stations are the only type thatAll Station Areas 2,430 60,180 129,530 380 4,780 3,830 11,120 might exceed the estimated TOD potential by 2035, the low transit commute share and high VMT around these stations means that this development might notBased on this analysis, MAPC estimates there is potential for develop- necessarily generate the sustainable transportation patterns that are ament of 76,000 housing units and enough commercial space to accom- key goal of TOD.modate 133,000 jobs in the ½ mile station areas by the year 2035. Thislevel of development would accommodate 31% of regional housing unit Recent Housing Development vs. TOD Goals by Station Type 25,000demand projected by MAPC and neighboring regional planning agen- Housing Unit Change, 2000 - 2010cies over the same period and 58% of employment growth. Not surpris- Trends Extendedingly, more than two-thirds of the TOD would be in the Inner Core, but 20,000 TOD GoalTOD can also make a substantial contribution to the housing supply inMaturing Suburbs and Regional Urban Centers, comprising 20% - 40% 15,000of projected growth for those Community Types. The table on this pageshows the acreage, housing units, and employment that could be gener- 10,000ated through commercial/industrial redevelopment, greenfield develop-ment, and residential densification. The vast majority of TOD potential 5,000exists on land that is already developed. Only in the Undevelopedstation areas and the Town and Village stations does greenfield develop-ment constitute a substantial increment of new development. Residen- - re or t ay urb y ge ar k on ed ay watial densification—small-scale infill, accessory apartments, or conversion Co bw illa lop ati bw irp eP ub ate tro Su rm &V ve Su /A S erc nG ey Me de sfo al od mm or t nof single-family homes to multi-family structures—might account for ll on ba Un Tow ra n Tro rho ap ati Ur Co nT Se bo rm rba igh sfonearly 15% of all housing unit growth near transit, especially in the Sub- Ne bu n Tra Su Source: Census, MAPC Analysisway Neighborhoods, Town & Village stations, and Urban Gateways. 17
  20. 20. MAPC also estimated the ridership that might result from this new TOD Housing and Employment: development, if occupants of the TOD had the same travel patterns as Underway, Planned, and Potential, by Station Area Type current residents and workers. Using journey-to-work data from the 2006 – 2010 American Community Survey (for place of residence) and 60,000 the 2000 Census (for place of employment), we estimate that new de- Additional Housing Unit Potential velopment near transit might generate 63,000 one way commute trips 50,000 9,400 on an average weekday, equivalent to 4.5% of current weekday rider- Housing Units Planned/Underway ship. However, this should be considered a low estimate, because it 2,700 Additional Employment Potential does not fully account for the changes in transit mode choice that may 40,000 6,200 10,700 300 Employment Planned/Underway result from new TOD, especially in areas of transformative development (e.g., South Weymouth), areas where transit service has been introduced 30,000 since 2000 (Silver Line, Greenbush) or is still proposed (Green Line 12,700 Extension, Fairmount, South Coast Rail, Assembly Square). Nor does it 20,000 4,700 include the many non-commute trips that will result from new housing 36,600 9,700 and destinations near transit. Nevertheless, this estimate demonstrates 1,100 5,400 8,200 2,100 a need to plan for increased demand, especially near the hub of the 10,000 3,600 21,400 1,600 4,400 16,200 2,100 400 - system which encompasses the greatest potential for new employment 5,700 2,900 8,500 4,000 600 5,900 4,400 near transit: Metro Core stations might see an additional 29,000 trips 2,800 1,900 500 4,800 1,300 1,700 3,900 100 2,200 daily as a result of new employment, with an equivalent number in the - 100 Seaport and Transformational Subway stations. n ay ay re or t urb y ge ar k d tio wa pe bw bw Co illa irp eP ma ub lo ate Coupled with other demographic and economic factors driving in- Su Su tro &V ve /A S erc for nG ey Me od de al mm or t ns n ll creased transit ridership, the new demand could exceed the available on ba Un rho Tow Tro Tra ap ati Ur Co bo Se rm n capacity of the existing system, with simply not enough trains to carry igh rba sfo Ne bu n the potential riders. The need to expand capacity of the system to serve Tra Su this new ridership is the subject of a companion report released by the Urban Land Institute and authored by Stephanie Pollack of the Dukakis Fortunately, the development pipeline indicates that change is in Center for Urban and Regional Policy, Hub and Spoke: Core Transit Con- the air. MAPC’s Development Database includes information on over gestion and the Future of Transit and Development in Greater Boston. Over 33,000 housing units being planned, permitted, or built as of March the next year, MAPC will be developing population and employment 2011. On the commercial side, there are active development proposals projections for the region that will be used for regional travel demand and construction projects underway with a combined capacity of over modeling which should help to pinpoint possible transit congestion 90,000 jobs, mostly in the Metro Core, Transformational Subway, and issues and assess the impact of potential improvements. Ensuring Seaport station areas. Not all of those development proposals may adequate capacity and levels of service on the MBTA system is critical come to fruition, but they demonstrate that our estimates of sub- to achieving the potential of TOD and its economic, environmental, and stantial development potential are consistent with market demand in social benefits for all of Metro Boston. those station types. In other station types, our estimates are far ahead of the demonstrated market interest; there are development plans on the table for just 30% of the potential housing units and jobs in Neighborhood Subway sta- tion areas; 15% of potential growth at Commerce Park stations; and 10% of potential growth in Town & Village stations.18
  21. 21. ConclusionWhile there is no one-size-fits-all approach to TOD in Metro Boston, many stations share similar attributes, chal-lenges, and opportunities and may benefit from similar strategies, investments, and design approaches. Thetransit station area typology described in this report provides a new framework for context-sensitive TOD policy,planning, and investments. Our analysis of the TOD capacity around each station area also demonstrates thatgrowing station areas are positioned to be a significant component of the region’s growth and developmentover the coming decades. If this potential is realized, it will bring great benefits, including higher transit ridership,less congestion, more housing choice and greater economic vitality. The challenges to achieving this future aretwo-fold: accelerating the pace of TOD, and ensuring the continued existence of a robust transit system that cansupport future development.Specific applications of the station area types and TOD potential described which development propos-here might include: als can be evaluated. These • State housing and economic development programs that use metrics can be used for scor- transit proximity as one of the criteria can use this analysis to ing individual development develop context-sensitive programs that recognize the different proposals against the range of types of station areas, the different transportation performance of anticipated scale and style of those station areas, and the types of development that are appro- growth in similar station areas. priate for those areas. Incentives and funding should be targeted • State agencies and reviewers to locations and proposals with the most substantial capacity and can consider the station area the greatest potential to achieve sustainable travel patterns. types during environmental • Regional agencies and advocates can use the station area types review and should encourage to develop communication tools, model regulation, case studies, project proponents to develop and other tools that will help to advance implementation of TOD- projects consistent with their supportive policy at the local level. type. • Municipalities should develop station area plans that maximize • Proponents of affordable housing in suburban locations near tran- the potential of TOD and should establish zoning and land use sit should consider that household transportation costs are still controls consistent with the scale and character of the TOD appro- likely to be higher in those locations than in high-density urban priate for their station area. Land use controls should discourage settings. or prohibit development at lower densities, higher parking ratios, • Developers can use the analysis and station area data for prospect- and with less affordable housing. ing and initial assessment of development opportunities in station • The MBTA should consider potential ridership resulting from new areas similar to those where they are currently working. TOD when conducting service planning to ensure that capacity is sufficient and should maintain or enhance service where neces- sary to support significant TOD projects. • The station area types and TOD potential can be used to establish benchmarks for density, mix, and housing affordability against 19
  22. 22. Station Area Typology Matrix   Metro Core Seaport / Airport Neighborhood Subway Transformational Subway Trolley Suburb Subway, Commuter Rail, Green Line/Red Line trolley,Service Type Subway (Silver Line) Subway, MBTA bus Subway, MBTA bus service MBTA bus some MBTA busNormalized Intensity 184 37 47 40 20(Average, all stations)Development Mix 0.65 0.85 0.23 0.40 0.31(Average, All Stations)Normalized Intensity &Development MixMedian Household Income $57,800 $52,800 $63,100 $50,200 $99,600Average WalkScore 94 67 84 77 66Transit Commute Mode Share 27% 31% 36% 34% 19%Average Daily Household VMT 20 N/A 25 29 44Estimated Household $8,450 $11,050 $10,400 $11,050 $14,300Transportation CostLand UseTOD Potential Normalized Intensity 424 127 119 123 104TOD Mix 0.58 0.76 0.19 0.39 0.20TOD Housing in Development 70% 100% 27% 53% 54%PipelineTOD Jobs in Development Pipeline 99% 94% 33% 63% 53%20
  23. 23. Urban Gateway Town & Village Commerce Park Suburban Transformation Undeveloped  Commuter Rail, often MBTA or Commuter Rail, some MBTA or Commuter Rail, limited MBTA Commuter Rail Commuter Rail RTA bus hubs RTA bus bus Total workers and residents per devel- 32 16 16 7 7 oped acre in station area. Ratio of workers to total intensity. (0= 0.41 0.36 0.71 0.56 0.31 residential; 1= employment centered.) $48,300 $88,300 $74,300 $85,500 $99,600 84 73 55 41 32 Source: Percent of resident workers using transit 10% 11% 7% 7% 7% for commuting (Source: ACS 2006-10) Based on Annual vehicle mileage data 39 52 70 54 69 for 2005-07(Source: MassGIS) Source: Center for Neighborhood $14,300 $16,250 $16,250 $17,550 $17,550 Technology Legend 15% Commercial 34% High Density Residential 18% Low Density Residential Developed Other Vacant Developable 13% 10% Vacant Undevelopable 10% Residents and workers per acre of 110 97 48 68 52 potential new TOD 0.26 0.24 0.64 0.28 0.14 Development Mix of potential new TOD Percent of potential housing units in 28% 4% 1% 67% 1% construction or planned. Percent of potential commercial square 62% 18% 17% 50% 6% footage in construction or planned. 21