Over the past couple of months I’ve been doing a lot of reading on Transportation issues for work (PolicyBEST). One of the topics that keeps coming up is Transit Oriented Development (TOD). The idea is that growth is centered around a public transportation hub. This hub could be a heavy/light rail stop, a bus rapid transit (BRT) stop, or a streetcar stop. The basic idea is to increase density as you get closer to the transit center and to have mixed use development built around that transit stop. The goal is to have a lot of options within a half mile of the stop.
This concept has proven to be quite successful in various European countries as well as several developing countries. The BRT systems in Bogota, Colombia and Curitiba, Brazil; are all built on this premise. The city of Copenhagen in Denmark began to encourage similar growth in it’s Five Fingers plan shortly after WWII, and this plan has continued to be updated and improved since. A little bit closer to home there are Denver, Colorado and Arlington, Virginia.
In Atlanta we have a few places that could be argued are TOD: The Lindbergh Center Marta Station, Perimeter Marta Station and the Decatur Marta Station. State Farm’s announcement to move a regional HQ to the Perimeter area is a big deal because this is going to continue the growth of TOD in the metro area. State Farm chose the site specifically because of it’s access to the MARTA station.
They want their employees to be able to live, work, and play in an area without having to get into a car and drive somewhere else. Concentrating 8000 jobs in the area is going to bring a lot of families to the area as well. The less that these families have to use a car means that there will not be as much of an impact on the already bad traffic in the area. (#ProTip: Avoid it like the plague the day before Mother’s day.)
Why am I writing this now? State Farm started breaking ground on their new facility yesterday. They were even kind enough to release a few renderings of what the area will look like once they are finished. I can’t wait to see what the impact of this is on the local and state wide economy. These are the kinds of jobs we should be attracting to the area.