Promoting Transit-Oriented Developments by Addressing Barriers Related to Land Use, Zoning, and Value Capture

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Promoting Transit-Oriented Developments by Addressing Barriers Related to Land Use, Zoning, and Value Capture


This study advances land use, transportation planning, and public finance research by identifying: a) the various land use, zoning, and value capture-related barriers to the construction of transit-oriented developments (TODs); and b) the major strategies that are commonly used or could be used to address these barriers. The value capture (VC) tools include joint development projects, tax increment financing, special assessments, lease/sale of land or air rights, and impact fees. The research finds that while a large proportion of jurisdictions across the US have TODs, land use, zoning, and VC-related barriers often impede their construction. Most transit agencies are not allowed to purchase land for constructing TODs, nor do they have land use and zoning powers over the station-area land. In the absence of legally enforceable inter-agency agreements between city governments and transit agencies, a large proportion of these public agencies rely on looser, collaborative agreements. Finally, while the use of eminent domain to assemble land parcels is critical for constructing TODs in already-developed areas, local governments rarely use this power to enable TODs.


Dr. Shishir Mathur is a Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at San Jose State University. He served as Associate Dean of Research (College of Social Sciences) during 2016-2019. His research interests include transportation finance, urban and real estate economics, affordable housing policy, international development, infrastructure and development finance, and growth management. His research has been published in top-tier journals such as Transportation Research Part A, Transport Policy, Journal of Planning Education and Research, Urban Studies, Land Use Policy, Cities, and Habitat International. He is the author of two books: Understanding India’s New Approach to Spatial Planning and Development: A Salient Shift? (Oxford University Press) and Innovation in Public Transport Finance: Property Value Capture (Routledge). Dr. Mathur has advised several international and national organizations. United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-HABITAT, sought his input on ways to encourage land based financing in Africa, Asia, and South America. He advised Federal Transit Administration on ways to encourage use of land value capture to fund transit-oriented developments and transit infrastructure.

Aaron holds a Master’s degree in City Planning from UC Berkeley’s Department of City + Regional Planning. As a researcher, consultant, and advocate he is actively working towards climate resilience and justice in transportation and land use. He is experienced in GIS/mapping, TOD policy, community engagement, and design. Aaron is based in Chicago, IL.

October 2020
Transit-oriented development
Land use
Value capture
Public transit



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