Mineta Transportation Institute Publishes Report on the Effect of Transit Oriented Developments (TOD) on Nearby Home Values

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With their groundbreaking research, investigators Mathur and Ferrell expect to fill a major gap in transportation planning and policy
December 15, 2009
San José, CA

The Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) has published Effect of Suburban Transit Oriented Developments on Residential Property Values. This study, by Shishir Mathur, PhD, and Christopher Ferrell, PhD, asks whether Transit Oriented Developments (TODs) affect the price of nearby single-family residences. The research, which included four San Francisco Bay Area suburban TODs, found that those TODs either had no impact or had a positive impact on the surrounding single-family home sale prices.

“Public transit systems are most effective when a high volume of potential riders lives nearby,” said Dr. Mathur. “This generally requires highdensity development at each end of the system and along transit corridors. TODs increasingly are used to boost transit ridership because they are moderate to higher-density development within an easy walk of a major transit stop, generally with a mix of residential, employment and shopping facilities, designed for pedestrians without excluding autos.”

But successful TOD development often faces several barriers, including little inter-jurisdictional cooperation, auto-oriented designs that favor park-and-ride lots over uses generating ridership, and community opposition. This opposition may be more vocal in suburbs, where residents of predominately single-family neighborhoods may believe that TODs bring noise, air pollution, more congestion, and crime. Opposition has been instrumental in stopping many TOD projects in the San Francisco Bay Area, although little empirical research exists to indicate whether that opposition is well founded. With this study, the investigators hope to fill a major gap in transportation planning and policy.

This study will be valuable to local, regional, state and national transportation policy makers as they plan, advocate, and allocate funding for TODs; and to the jurisdiction’s technical staff and to transit agencies as they measure the benefits of TODs. All levels of public officials and professional staff can use the study results to educate residents about potential impacts of TODs. Furthermore, accurate estimation of TOD monetary benefits will help in assessing TODs as an economic development tool.


SHISHIR MATHUR, PhD, an associate professor in the Urban and Regional Planning Department at San José State University, has a PhD in Urban Design and Planning from the University of Washington. His professional planning includes work in India and the United States as a consultant, researcher, and instructor. His work in India included consulting in physical and land-use planning, infrastructure planning, and urban design. His work in the United States includes research and teaching in public finance, real estate and urban economics, affordable housing policy, land-use policy, infrastructure planning and finance, growth management, strategic planning, and systems analysis.

CHRISTOPHER FERRELL, PhD, began his career in 1995 as a planner for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) working on Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) applications for traffic management. He earned his PhD in City and Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley in 2005. His studies focus on the relationships between transportation and land use. His research includes evaluating transit facilities, transportation policy analysis, transportation and land use interactions, travel behavior, and institutional structures analysis. He has developed traffic impact studies, planned and implemented intelligent transportation systems, and more. He is principal investigator for TCRP H-36: Reinventing the Interstate: A 'New Paradigm' for Multimodal Transportation Facilities. He has taught several quantitative methods classes in the San Jose State University Urban Planning Department.


The Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) was established by Congress in 1991 as part of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) and was reauthorized under TEA21 and again under SAFETEA-LU. The institute is funded by Congress through the US DOT’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration, by the California Legislature through the Department of Transportation (Caltrans), and by other public and private grants and donations, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The US DOT selected MTI as a national “Center of Excellence” following a 2002 competition.

The Institute has a Board of Trustees whose internationally-respected members represent all major surface transportation modes. MTI’s focus on policy and management resulted from a board assessment of the industry’s unmet needs and led directly to choosing the San José State University College of Business as the Institute’s home. MTI conducts research, education, and information and technology transfer focusing on multi-modal surface transportation policy and management issues.


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