CapMetro Equitable TOD Policy Plan
Case Studies

CapMetro Equitable TOD Policy Plan

Austin, TX

The plan ensures that those who have the greatest need for transit enhancements are also able to benefit from the improvements.

The transformative Project Connect transit investment passed by Austin voters in 2020 presents an opportunity to align land use planning to support growth near stations, commonly referred to as Transit Oriented Development (TOD). Traditional TOD planning focuses on improving connectivity, providing a mix of uses, and maximizing the number of people and jobs that can be near transit stations. While these policies can increase transit use, disadvantaged communities may be less equipped to take advantage of those benefits due to the added real estate market pressures that TOD can bring. Capital Metro met that challenge head-on by launching an Equitable TOD (or ETOD) Study that aimed for equitable outcomes by going beyond simply preventing displacement, instead prioritizing benefits and opportunities for underserved communities.

Nelson\Nygaard led a multidisciplinary consultant team supporting Capital Metro on all facets of the ETOD Study process. The Study builds a foundation for policy options through case studies of other successful ETOD strategies across the country, community engagement targeted to communities at most risk of displacement to understand the goals and priorities of residents and workers, and an interactive conditions analysis website that uses data analysis to understand the character and trends of growth, the built environment, infrastructure, and people within the study area. The study area for this effort includes all Project Connect stations along the Orange and Blue Lines outside of Downtown. 

"This is a significant milestone, not just for CapMetro, but for the entire city of Austin. As we continue to grow and thrive as a community, we need to ensure that we are building an inclusive city that lifts and supports all Austinites; serves our customers with different needs; of diverse backgrounds and all income levels and bring them along in this journey.
These policies and subsequent reports will help us be more intentional about the development around our city and our stations, minimize displacement and help combat our affordability crisis."

- Sharmila Mukherjee, Chief Strategic Planning and Development Officer

The ETOD Study efforts resulted in a policy toolkit that can be adapted to regulatory action by the City of Austin and other partners; an update to Capital Metro’s existing TOD Priority Tool that will help the agency guide future planning efforts; and a Station Area Vision plans for key stations within the study area that provide more targeted land use, connectivity, and open space recommendations and an opportunity to apply the policy toolkit to specific contexts within the study area.

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