One of the most exciting sustainability trends around the world is transit oriented development (TOD). It is widely defined as the integration of urban spaces – designing for communities that will connect people to their homes, workplaces, and other day-to-day activities.
Transit Oriented Development also means the inclusivity of all available transport modes otherwise known as intermodality, using the least possible financial and environmental cost. The significance of TODs became evident as the demand for a more sustainable & publicly available solution to the traffic congestion, intensified. Though local developers would most likely be eager to improve the mobility of their customers, TOD awareness on a larger scale still needs to be established.
Since TOD involves regional planning and connecting communities through promoting walkability and providing environmentally friendly transit choices, we must first understand that it is not a remedy to the existing issues but one that will only be realized by planting the right seeds. It takes time, rigorous studies, and extensive collaboration. However, the result if done right, will be linked communities, reduced driving and energy consumption, increased economic activity and land value. More importantly it will improve the region’s overall better livability.
Characteristics of Transit Oriented Developments
- Pedestrians and designs promoting walking over using private vehicles
- Train station in proximity to trip destinations (residential, commercial, recreational spaces)
- Intermodal stations for seamless transfer from once mode of transport to another street (vehicle, light rail, and buses, etc.)
- Designs considering the use of environmentally friendly transport modes like bicyces and scooters. (e.g. provision of parking areas)
- Integrated network of transit modes.
- Reduced yet sufficient availability of parking spaces
- Accessibility to retail at transit stations – providing daily commute essentials like convenience stores and restaurants.
Benefits of TOD
- Better quality of life through reduced travel time between places to live, work, and spend leisure time
- Improved mobility ad public transport ridership
- Reduced traffic congestion, pollution, and probability of accident occurrence
- Decreased fuel expenses and transport related expenses
- Encourages healthy lifestyle with more walking, and less stress during the daily commute
- Improved property values
- Increased business activity
- Reduced environmental damage
- Less road construction expenses
- Creates new job opportunities
- Improves the area’s economic competitiveness through the collective effort of project stakeholders
Metropolitan Manila (National Capital Region or NCR) being the seat of the Philippine Government and the central region for urban development, culture and economic prosperity, also holds various forms of public transportation modes. These include light metro (Light Railway Transit), rapid transit (Metro Railway Transit), commuter rail (Philippine National Railway), bus, jeepney, UV Express (van), and taxi.
With second to the highest population among all regions, with a total of 13,484,462 people, we can expect that transit developments will first take place here. As this number continues to rise together with traffic congestion, pollution, and lack of parking spaces, the TOD solutions seem to be the only appropriate and long-term solution. The first question for a skeptic would be if it would be feasible – but skepticism may not necessarily be the first step to progress. Maybe the right question is, “how can we make it work?”