GHG Reduction Through TOD: Why It's (Almost) Illegal

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Learning Outcomes

  • Explain the legislative rationale for laws that promote TOD and how TOD, combined with frequent all-day transit, can reduce GHG emissions and increase equity.
  • Outline why land use regulations make TOD difficult and why attempts throughout California to make TOD more feasible have not resulted in many TOD projects.
  • Consider ways that land use regulations could be changed to achieve better TOD outcomes.

More Course Details

We know that good transit-oriented development (TOD) will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, help the environment, and promote equity; there are examples in California and across the United States. Many metropolitan areas have adopted TOD as a major tool in their climate action plans. California passed SB 375 almost a decade ago and has streamlined provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to promote TOD. Nevertheless, TOD remains difficult to entitle.

Presenters are an engineer-turned-transit-planner and an architect-turned-land-use-attorney who entitles development projects and litigates land use issues, with a focus on CEQA. They combine planning theory with legal reality, outlining how transit and TOD should work and discussing what actually works — or doesn’t — under California's environmental regulations. They hypothesize future changes the state could make to eliminate more regulatory barriers that drive up the cost and complexity of building near transit.