Transit-oriented development

Boosting ridership and creating vibrant neighborhoods within walking distance to transit

Sound Transit partners with private and non-profit developers to build transit-oriented development (TOD), where housing affordable to a range of income levels, as well as new retail, restaurants, offices, and community spaces, contribute to creating vibrant neighborhoods with direct access to transit. 

Converting surplus property into affordable housing

Transit construction requires Sound Transit to purchase land for building stations, installing track, and for staging. When construction is finished and the project opens, the agency no longer needs some of this land. In May 2018, the Sound Transit Board officially recommitted the agency to facilitate TOD on this surplus property. Read the full policy here.

The Board's TOD policy includes a priority to offer surplus property for the development of affordable housing. Washington’s State Statute RCW 81.112.350 requires Sound Transit to offer 80 percent of its surplus property that is suitable for housing to qualified entities to develop housing affordable to families at 80 percent of area median income or less. 

Including TOD from the start

Opportunities for successful TOD are among the key issues evaluated as Sound Transit works with city and community partners to plan station and route locations for new light rail lines. 

With collaboration from community stakeholders, private and non-profit developers and partner agencies, Sound Transit's TOD team works to set up TOD outcomes from the earliest days of transit project planning by evaluating development potential of alternative alignments and station locations, and then cultivating specific opportunities through the design phase. 

As light rail construction concludes, the Sound Transit TOD team works to convert surplus land in the station areas to high-quality development in accordance with its surplus property policy.

So far, over 2,100 housing units have been built or are planned for Sound Transit surplus property, most of them affordable to those earning 80 percent of area median income or below. 

Revolving loan fund to promote affordable housing 

As part of the voter-approved Sound Transit 3 plan, Sound Transit is contributing $4 million per year for five years into a revolving loan fund to create affordable housing near high-capacity transit stations. 

In November 2018, the Sound Transit Board of Director’s Executive Committee confirmed five goals for the revolving loan fund and a process approach for implementation. The goals provide high-level direction on Sound Transit’s vision and expected outcomes for the fund. The process and approach includes the development of a business plan for how Sound Transit can best deploy its $20 million contribution to a Revolving Loan Fund to support the development of affordable housing in the Sound Transit district.