Chapter 3

Applications for the Practitioner

The TOD database is intended for use by a broad audience of planners, transportation service providers and other public sector stakeholders, as well as non-profit organizations, transportation advocates, researchers and private sector developers and consultants. While different users will be drawn to different features of the database, everyone involved in TOD will benefit from convenient access to aggregate demographic and employment data for every existing or planned transit station area in the country. Some basic functions that users of the database have found useful include: the ability to compare transit station areas across regions to gauge relative performance; easy access to demographic information around a station of interest; and the ability to track demographic and economic changes over time.

Transit Operators

Database reports can be used to conduct peer transit agency research in other regions to benchmark performance. Reports on car ownership, journey to work and other relevant demographic information provide valuable tools for collaborating with municipalities on parking and transportation demand management (TDM) programs for new developments. The database can also be helpful for systems analysis and cost efficiency studies. For example, LED and CTPP data provide detailed information on jobs and workers within a transit zone by age, sector, income and commute pattern. Similarly, station area profiles that include number of households within one half mile, median household income, age breakouts, educational attainment, and auto ownership can be used to market development opportunities to potential investors, identify and evaluate sites for redevelopment, and create typologies to enhance TOD strategy and site targeting. These profiles can also be used to evaluate sites for multi-modal and alternative transportation access including bicycling and walking.

Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs)

MPOs can use the database to prepare consolidated land use and transportation plans that target infill development and support existing communities. By merging vacant/underutilized land files with the data from the TOD Database, MPOs can establish priority development areas that can accommodate future growth while minimizing the need for new infrastructure investments. The database can also help distinguish between stations that lend themselves to mixed use residential development and those better suited for industrial or commercial development.

Municipal Planners

Municipal planners can tap into the database to map the average number of vehicles per household at specific stations and/or the percent of households with 0-1 car. These metrics can be compared with citywide data as a way of justifying reduced parking requirements associated with TODs. Local governments can also merge downloaded data with local data on city-owned property or TIF districts, to identify stations where subsidies can be made available to increase the supply of affordable housing in TODs. Such an analysis could be incorporated into a HUD Consolidated Plan.

Transportation Planners

The database includes mode to work and Census Transportation Planning Package (CTPP) information by place of residence, place of work and profession, which transportation planners can use to analyze demographic and travel trends, and update travel demand models. Moreover, they can identify station areas with low car ownership, and target carsharing and other alternative transport systems to serve as an extension of the mass transportation system.

Developers and Consultants

Database reports can be used to identify underutilized TOD markets for residential, commercial and economic development. Developers and consultants can use residential and employment data for the areas surrounding stations to assess the suitability of specific development sites already under consideration. Downloaded data can be merged with other data sets to enhance market study analyses. Aggregated income data for a station area could help demonstrate sufficient buying power to support development in a lower-income but dense community.


The database provides an ideal tool for studying social and demographic trends for populations residing around transit stations. The database is useful for academic research on attributes that contribute to station ridership and transit line capital costs. Researchers can use data reports in their work at the local and/or national level on transit access issues related to affordable housing, minority, low-income, elderly, or disabled persons.

Non-profit organizations and transportation/TOD advocates

Housing and transportation cost data can be used to compare affordability within and across regions. Journey to work information and data from the H+T Index can also be used to support arguments in favor of expanding transit to preserve or expand affordability. The interactive mapping feature can be used as a tool in public outreach efforts to make the case for transit applicability/viability in a new area by showing the similarities between an existing transit system and its demographics, and the targeted area.