Transit-oriented development

Rainier Valley development near Link station

Unique to each community, a catalyst for growth

Transit-oriented development (TOD) is planning and building a mix of housing, business and other amenities close to transit stations. When clustered around a station, this development increases ridership by making it easier for people to use transit, supports local businesses and make neighborhoods better places to live, work and spend time.

The primary responsibility of Sound Transit is to complete and expand regional transit systems to deliver fast, frequent services and improved mobility. This mission is a key step in meeting regional and local TOD goals. 

Specifically, Sound Transit participates in TOD by:

  • Assessing opportunities for development of Sound Transit facilities and on property no longer needed for a transit project.
  • Working cooperatively with communities to facilitate TOD in areas around Sound Transit facilities, where appropriate.  

Board interest

In 2012, the Board adopted a TOD policy that provides goals and guidance that Sound Transit may use to evaluate, facilitate and implement development as it builds the regional transit sytem. The Board is interested in supporting land use change or other economic development that improves quality of life, allows achievement of comprehensive and regional plans and maximizes ridership.

The passage of ST3 includes a requirement to develop and implement a regional equitable TOD strategy, focused on creating opportunities to make Sound Transit surplus property available for affordable housing. The ST3 plan stipulated that the Board will update its TOD policy to address the new state equitable TOD requirements within 18-months of passage, or by May of 2018. The Board held a workshop on April 21, 2017 to examine the new requirements to implement a regional equitable TOD strategy, the inclusion of affordable housing within that strategy, and to discuss the questions generated by the new stature in the context of the TOD work program and policy update. For more information about the workshop, please review the Board Briefing Book.