Mixed-Income Transit-Oriented Development (MITOD)

What is mixed-income transit-oriented development?  It is generally accepted that it consists of transit neighborhoods that contain a mix of affordable and market rate housing.  MITOD’s provide many benefits, such as reduced income segregation, stabilization of transit system ridership, workforce stabilization, and strengthens the socioeconomic makeup of the neighborhood.  For these reasons, many jurisdictions are keenly interested in MITOD’s to achieve their goals of maximizing mass transit ridership, reducing traffic congestion, promoting economic development, growing their local tax bases, providing more housing options and lowering pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

MITOD.org has created an action guide for local and regional planners to assess and implement mixed-income transit-oriented development in their jurisdictions.  The action guide has two components, 1) Analysis which is focused on Opportunities, Strategies & Existing Conditions and looks at an area’s population, community stability, real estate market, development capacity and existing housing inventory.  2) Tools which compile specific strategies planners and stakeholders can take to achieve each strategy and provides case studies for how these strategies have been used in other municipalities.


Here are the suggested steps in determining the appropriateness and feasibility of MITOD in your market:

Write your initial thoughts about the station area’s development potential, housing needs, challenges and opportunities.
  1. List all stake holders
  2. Identify existing partnerships between stakeholders
  3. Reach out to stakeholders
  4. Prepare hypothesis statement for station area which should include:


Who is in the station area?
  1. Identify income and expenses of household’s in the transit zone and surrounding areas
  2. Identify household types
  3. Identify age distribution of the station area
  4. Characterize the neighborhood and the housing needs of the demographic represented in the station area.
Key Data to collect:

Note: Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) definitions:

        High Income household (HH):  > 120% of average median income (AMI)

        Moderate Income HH:               80-120% of AMI

        Low Income HH:                         50-80% of AMI

        Very Low Income HH:                30-50% of AMI

        Extremely Low Income HH:      < 30% of AMI

For example:  A HH making $30,000 per year in an area with AMI of $45,000 would be considered a low income HH (30,000/45,000 = 67%).  Conversely, a HH making $55,000 in the same market would be considered a high income HH (55,000/45,000 = 122%).


What housing exists?
  1. Describe the quality and condition of the existing housing stock
  2. Determine the character of the existing housing
  3. Describe characteristics of any subsidized housing in the station area


Key data to collect:


Discussion points:



What preservation opportunities exist?

Note: At-risk subsidized housing includes Project-based Section 8 units.  This is public housing in which landlords enter into a 10 year contract with the Public Housing Authority (PHA) to provide units to low-income tenants with Section 8 vouchers.  The Public Housing Authority pays the landlord the difference between fair market rent and whatever the voucher holding renter can afford.  Affordability for the renter is determined as 30% of their household income.  For example: market rate is $900 per month for an apartment and the renter’s annual household income is $30,000 or $2,500 per month which makes the affordable rent $750 ($2,500 x 30% = $750).  The renter pays the landlord $750 and the PHA pays the remaining $150 per month.  After 10 years the landlord can opt out of the contract and bring all units to market rents  without subsidy. 


 Is there development site capacity?
  1. Look for under-utilized or vacant parcels
  2. Evaluate predominant land uses in the transit district
  3. Quantify and characterize vacant or under-utilized land uses
  4. Determine the likely location and characteristics of potential and new real estate development in the station area (location, size, potential assemblage, public vs. private ownership status (public lands and buildings are good opportunities to negotiate reduced acquisition prices or joint development)
  5. Major land uses that will influence the project
  6. Major activity and employment centers
  7. Priority sites that have strong political support    
  8. Under-utilized sites (Land value vs. Improvement value); look for:


Do existing policies promote MITOD?
  1. Identify housing policies that may be affecting housing development, or lack thereof
  2. Identify lack of certain types of housing such of live work studios, existing policies may prevent
  3. Preservation policies may be a hindrance
  4. Discussion Points:


Strategy Analysis
  1. How stable is the station area population?
  2. What is the social trajectory of the station area?
  3. Analyze recent changes in the station area income, educational attainment and household structure
  4. Evaluate whether the station area is Stable vs. Changing or Vulnerable
  5. Key data to collect:




What are the potential post transit housing market conditions?

Home Value Appreciation Relative to Region

Slow or Depreciation


Housing Price Relative to Region


Warm, Cool, Stable?







Is the market appreciating?

One of the keys to achieving successful transit-oriented development is providing diverse housing options where appropriate.  Historically affordable and low-income housing has been isolated from market rate units creating blight and a stigma towards low-income households.  By creating a mix of low, affordable and market rate units cities allow greater opportunity to lower-income households to attain a more prosperous life for their families.  By locating housing close to transit stations, lower income households can reduce their transportation costs, gain greater access to employment and education and help stabilize communities.

Lewisville, TX

Posted by | Sep 25, 2011 | No Comments

The Denton County Transportation Authority recently opened three new commuter rail stations in the City of Lewisville: Highland Village/Lewisville Lake, Old Town Lewisville, and Hebron with direct connections to the DART light rail and access to it’s entire system.  This connection now allows someone to travel car-free from Denton to downtown Dallas and downtown Fort ...Read more.


Fort Worth Transportation Authority 2010 Strategic Plan

Posted by | Sep 16, 2011 | No Comments

  The City of Fort Worth has seen tremendous growth over the past 10 years, 38%, making it one of the fastest growing cities in the nation.  Like many cities they will need to adapt to the changing demographics this type of growth demands.  Currently, The T operates local bus service and co-operates commuter rail, the Trinity ...Read more.


Dallas Area Rapid Transit (TOD) Guidelines: Promoting TOD around DART Transit Facilities (Aug. 2008)

Posted by | Jul 23, 2011 | No Comments

Below are excerpts from the DART Transit-Oriented Development Guidelines: DART aims to help create communities where residents can live, work, and play without relying on an automobile. Opened in 1996, the DART light rail system now encompasses 45 miles of transit and 35 light rail transit (LRT) stations.  Successful TODs achieve the following: Embody the principles of ...Read more.


Partnership for Sustainable Communities

Posted by | Jun 26, 2011 | No Comments

On June 16, 2009, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson announced that they were forming the inter-agency Partnership for Sustainable Communities.  This action marked a fundamental shift in the way the federal government structures its transportation, housing ...Read more.


Supportive Policies and Programs Overview

Posted by | Jun 26, 2011 | No Comments

Federal Policy:  There are a number of Federal programs that currently support (or can be used to support) planning for or building TOD.  Examples include the New Starts transit capital program, which awards points in the application process to proposed transit projects with transit-supportive land use characteristics, and the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program, ...Read more.


Mobility 2030 Summary: The Transportation Plan for the Dallas-Fort Worth Area 2009 Amendment

Posted by | May 22, 2011 | No Comments

 Mobility 2030 is the Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP) for the Dallas-Fort Worth Area that has been adopted by the Regional Transportation Council.  The MTP is a $78.3 billion (2009$) blueprint for the region’s multimodal transportation system through 2030. Guiding Principles: By 2030, the region will need about $142.9 billion (2009$) to eliminate the most severe ...Read more.


Eastside Village: Downtown Plano Station (Plano, Texas)

Posted by | May 21, 2011 | No Comments

Project Summary Eastside Village is located in downtown Plano, Texas immediately adjacent to the Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s Downtown Plano Station along the Red Line and the DART bus system.  Plano is a large suburban city located approximately 19 miles north of downtown Dallas.  It has experienced enormous growth over the past 50 years growing ...Read more.


Where do we go from here?

Posted by | May 14, 2011 | No Comments

The New Urbanism promises to change our suburban neighborhoods into places of rich relationships.  What about our urban neighborhoods?  As more and more families move out to the suburbs seeking affordable housing and quality education for their children, urban neighborhoods struggle to retain families and provide adequate education for the families that do stay.  So ...Read more.


Mockingbird Station, Dallas, Texas

Posted by | Apr 30, 2011 | No Comments

Project Summary The first mixed-use project designed and built around a multimodal, rail-based transit station in Dallas, Mockingbird Station has achieved what many once thought was impossible: it has convinced middleclass, automobile-driving residents to use transit. The transit-oriented development (TOD)—which contains 178,000 square feet (16,536 m2) of retail, restaurant, and cinema space; 137,000 square feet ...Read more.