Transit Oriented Development

Towards a Sustainable Urban Growth

Dispersal as a form of decentralisation lies at the heart of patterns of development that are environmentally, socially and economically unsustainable. Rapid expansion of cities is inevitable given the speedy urbanisation that accompanies the exponential growth of population and rising incomes. However, planning mechanisms that have led to single-use low-density development with disparity in the job-housing ratio are primarily to blame for the ill effects of sprawl. Transit Oriented Development encourages compact urban growth that helps to reap the economic benefits of urbanisation and enhances socio-economic productivity by improving resource efficiency and quality of life. It is therefore imperative to focus on developing of dense, socially-mixed neighbourhoods in cities. Such areas promote human-scale urban environments complemented by healthy public green spaces, vibrant markets, and a range of affordable housing and public transportation options to maintain livability.

Transit Oriented Development

Transit Oriented Development (TOD) is one of the approaches adopted globally to address the challenges of urban sprawl by concentrating the activities at a node or along a public transit corridor thereby increasing the efficiency of land utilisation. Such developments are designed to:

  • Maximise access to public transport in a residential, commercial or mixed-use area (Chen, 2007). A TOD neighbourhood typically has a centre with a train station, metro station, tram stop, or bus station, surrounded by relatively high-density development and a mix of land-uses (Chen, 2007). TOD also helps to ease households’ spending on housing and transportation. Mobility and transport issues are addressed by TOD as there are provisions for non-motorised transport and other intermediate transport modes to connect to the main mass transit corridor.
  • Promote job centres and housing within the development so that either the need to commute is reduced or a public transit mode is readily available for the residents.
  • Incorporate a housing mix to ensure a higher density of households within the development and consequently maximise utilisation of public transit services.
  • Integrate the principles of urban design, open spaces and energy efficiency to mitigate the possible degradation of urban experiences due to higher density living.

The term transit oriented development (TOD) was first codified in North America by Peter Calthorpe and is defined as a walkable, mixed-use form of development within walking and cycling radius of a mass transit station. Such pedestrian-oriented developments encourage people to live near transit services and to decrease their dependence on private vehicles (Still, 2002). TOD is today advocated as the sustainable alternative to sprawl and automobile dependency because it promotes the optimum utilisation of existing infrastructure, optimising the use of transit networks and creating mobility options for transit users and the local residents. Besides its role in creating compact, walkable communities, TOD is increasingly being looked at as a major solution to the serious and growing problems of climate change and global energy security by creating dense, walkable communities that greatly reduce the need for driving and energy consumption (Transit Oriented Development Institute, n.d.).

Variants of TOD

TOD is essentially integration of land-use and transit in an efficient way. Other than TOD, this integration is presently carried out in many ways which are variants of TOD. Some of these variants include transit adjacent development (TAD), development oriented transit (DOT) and transit joint development (TJD). These three are briefly summarised in the context of Delhi under.

Transit Adjacent Development (TAD) is a development that is physically near transit but fails to capitalise upon this proximity to promote transit riding and other economic benefits. A TAD lacks any functional connectivity to transit; whether in terms of land-use composition, means of station access, or site design. Some examples of such developments are Uttam Nagar area of West Delhi and, Laxmi Nagar and Nirman Vihar areas in East Delhi, which faces haphazard development since the advent of Delhi Metro.

Development Oriented Transit (DOT) is built to serve the development. Here transit follows the development rather than vice-versa (Dittmar H. and Ohland G., 2004). In DOT, transit is often a band-aid solution.

Delhi NCR is a good example, where the metro connects the peripheral urban centres of Gurgaon, Noida, Gaziabad, Dwarka etc. Metro corridor was planned to interconnect these existing peripheral urban centres, following their growth pattern.

Another variant of TOD is Transit Joint Development (TJD). The basic idea behind TJD is that development is joint with transit, and not before or after transit. In exchange for the right to develop a real estate project at, above, below or adjacent to a mass transit facility, a private developer either assumes some of the cost of developing the facility or makes a direct payment to the transit operator. Thus some benefits of TOD are met, such as a quid pro quo between the public sector (usually a transit agency) and a developer; but the parameters that improve livability in a TOD such as, urban design, pedestrian and bike ways, affordable housing etc. are not addressed. TJD importantly improves financial sustainability from increased revenues from the partnership in real estate development and from increased ridership on the transit network (Robert Cervero, 1992). In Delhi, approximately 7% of the initial project was to be generated through property development on lands transferred to DMRC for the project (Union Cabinet Agreement, 1996). Tokyo is one of the best examples for TJD; one which did not restrict itself to TJD, but expanded as a TOD as well. A competitive real estate market, a high-quality public transportation infrastructure and a framework for sustainable urban planning norms help to evolve a Transit Joint Development into a Transit Oriented Development.

What is TOD in this study

As discussed before, North American cities, having invested heavily in a highway expansion programme developed an urban morphology that spread populations away from the city centres into suburbanised automobile-centric developments. Multiple efforts of combating sprawl began in the late 20th century such as Smart Growth, New Urbanism, Transit Villages etc. with the underlying premises of centering development around transit systems, already demonstrated in Europe and East Asia. In the Indian context, Mumbai was the first city to exemplify nodal development along a suburban rail network.

All Indian cities due to their existing densities and recent public transportation investments now provide the ripe circumstances to scale this land-use-transportation integration model across India.

TOD is both a development and growth management strategy. Its adaptation is incremental and can be done at multiple levels - node, corridor, city and region. In this study, TOD is advocated both as a city level strategy and a local area solution to arrest the current sprawl based and energy-intensive urban development. Indian cities within the core areas have the densities to support transit investments despite the general trend of declining densities. The average density of the 33 Smart Cities announced in the first year on National Smart City Misson is 6534 persons/ (Census, 2011), the core city densities being much higher. Pushkarev and Zupan in 1977 prescribed minimum residential densities ranging between 5400 persons/ to 9000 persons/ (Victoria Transport Policy Institute, 2016) depending on the mode of transit for TOD. In the proposed 109 Indian smart cities, the population density ranges from a minimum of 980 persons/ (Dharamshala) to as high as 26,555 persons/ (Chennai); the residential densities are definitely sufficient for meeting the minimum standards as accepted globally. Bertaud in his seminal studies has compared Mumbai with Manhattan and Seoul for their densities. Both these cities are celebrated for public transit and transit-oriented developments. Therefore cities in India provide an opportune moment for introducing TOD as an urban strategy, especially when the public transport shares are declining.

A TOD should do multiple things; reduce the need to travel; reduce reliance on private vehicles; create efficient land utilisation in a larger geographical area; promote economic development; generate resource efficiencies in a development and importantly improve the quality of life.

Distinct guiding principles steer TOD in this study. Firstly, TOD should enable integration of land-use and transportation. Such integration ensures that the land is efficiently used by promoting higher densities and more diversity. Here, the objectives are to support high densities and higher levels of mixed uses near to transit nodes. Such densities and diversity must be supported with traffic demand management tools to minimise parking, to encourage public transportation and to draw out pedestrian and bicycle ways. Land-use and transportation integration is also a tool to manage already existing high densities in some parts of cities by de-densification without worsening the urban experience.

Secondly, TOD should meet objectives of reducing energy consumption. The objectives here is to reduce the use of private vehicles, promote walk trips, practise sustainable and energy saving methods of construction, support green buildings and sustainable practices of water and waste water management, sanitation and solid waste management etc.

Thirdly, inclusion should be an overarching theme across all components of TOD. Through urban design, the objective is to promote coherent structure and connections; enable ease of accessibility; integrate complementary activities and uses and develop an identity of place and sense of safety. Such design should address inclusion in terms of varied economic status, gender and social needs through a mix of housing types and options in mobility and choice of lifestyle.

A TOD is a compact, mixed-use community, centred
around a transit station that, by design, invites residents, workers, and shoppers to drive their cars less and ride mass transit more. The transit village extends roughly a quarter mile from a transit station, a distance that can be covered in about 5 minutes by foot. The centre-piece of the transit village is the transit station itself and the civic and public spaces that surround it. The transit station is what connects village residents to the rest of the region. —Bernick and Cervero, 1997
What’s fascinating about TODs is they’re
really nothing new. We did this very successfully 100 years ago. Most of our cities grew rapidly along early streetcar lines and inner urban systems. In the pre-automobile age, that’s how cities developed. They were compact and had a mix of land-uses that were physically oriented to transit because there was no other way to get around. So TODs are, in many ways, just a new name for traditional urbanism. —Robert Cervero, 2012

  TOD Typologies

The classification of TOD is generally based on scale and intensity of development around the transit node, or based on the performance of the neighbourhood in terms of vehicle kilometres travelled. It also depends on the scale of references (as discussed earlier): node, corridor, city and region The classification discussed here works at the area/transit corridor scale and is based on primary function in the area, land-use mix and variety of transit modes available in the area. It is important to note that the types of TODs identified in this system are not necessarily mutually exclusive and may intersect. Brief examples are given for each typology to illustrate their role in the context of the development of the region. The parameters discussed for all the different types of TODs will aid in scenario planning, evaluation of risk assessment and provide for all future contingencies including failure in procuring funding or approvals. Further details of the examples can be found in succeeding sections of the book.


  • Nikolic et al. (2009) in "Transit Oriented Communities: A Blueprint for Washington State" categorise TODs into the four types of Core, Centre, Neighbourhood and Destination based on primary economic activity and land-use.
  • The Centre for Transit-Oriented Development (CTOD) classifies station areas in Pittsburgh’s Allegheny County into five place types depending on the similarity in implementation needs. The index correlates measures of transit orientation like People, Places, Physical Form, Population and Proximity to the near-term potential for new investment and development within the station areas like Sales, Rents, Land Availability and Capacity. Such a framework results in five place types which are Infill + Enhance, Catalyse, Connect, Plan + Partner and Educate + Envision.
  • The City and County of Denver classify each TOD station into context types based on the characteristics found in the place being served. These are Downtown, Urban Centre, General Urban, Urban and Suburban. In addition, particular transit stations may receive a functional overlay designation like Institutional, Innovation or Entertainment to specify the key functional aspect of the area.
  • TOD methodology in the Masterplan of Delhi 2021 suggests the use of a customised "London Public Based Accessibility Levels (PBAL) methodology" to generate station area typologies. It is a system that gives a grade from 1 to 6 depending on the distance from any point to the nearest transit stop, and frequency of service at that stop. Suggested customisation parameters include speed of service, crowding, and ease of interchange.
  • The Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India has proposed preparation of typologies for each city, based on land-use mix, access to transit, mobility and neighbourhood character, at the Station Area Level as part of a corridor TOD Plan. This may include - Intermodal Gateways, Employment Centers, Heritage Precinct, Greenfield Mixed Use, Destinations Nodes and Transit Neighbourhoods.
  • Finally, Reconnecting America and CTOD propose eight place-types for station area typologies under the hypothesis that transit nodes cannot be solely defined by density or intensity of activity but also by the types of uses, the arrangement of streets, accommodation of transit and the role of the transit node within the region. These types are Regional Centre, Urban Centre, Suburban Centre, Transit Town Centre, Urban Neighbourhood, Transit Neighbourhood, Special-Use/Employment District and Mixed-Use Corridor.

The TODs can also be classified based on their location within the city as inner city, peri-urban and extended areas; and based on the nature of their development as infill (generally in denser inner city areas), redevelopment and greenfield (generally on larger tracts of unused land)

It is desirable that these factors be taken into consideration while developing a TOD as they can have a significant impact on the nature of the development.

The recommendations in this chapter, while inspired by the above global and domestic case studies, make an effort to reflect patterns of socio-economic activities common in the Indian context. The typologies include a mix of the above classification styles as most cities in India tend to be mixed-use developments. They are:

  1. Urban Centres:

    They are city-level nodes of a variety of moderate-to-high density mix of residential, commercial, employment, and civic/cultural uses. The centres are served by multiple transit modes including suburban/commuter rail, light rail or tramways, BRT, and local bus. They tend to attract residents from surrounding neighbourhoods and the greater metropolitan region for the diversity of uses available. At times, they have developed over several decades and display unique historical, socio-cultural or architectural characteristics. Examples include CBDs, major employment parks, local commercial centres, railway stations and bus terminals. The major challenge lies in integrating high-density housing into existing employment/retail scenario.

    The Parel-Worli-Dadar area in Mumbai and Connaught Place in Delhi are specific examples of this category due to the prominence as significant centres of economic activity, an abundance of multimodal transit options for accessibility and the diversity of land-use services available. While Parel-Worli-Dadar continues to support housing as an integral part of its land-use, central Connaught Place in Delhi sees people travel radially towards it during the day and return to their suburban or adjoining urban residential neighbourhoods by the end of the day. Connaught Place is very well connected to the rest of the city by metro and bus. It is also very close to the New Delhi Railway Station.

    Both these examples have high pedestrian volumes that sustain recreational and commercial use (restaurants, cinema theaters) within the node. The Parel-Worli-Dadar node was historically dominated by cotton textile mills, which were eventually deemed "sick" and many were taken over by the government. From early 2000's, the Maharashtra government began considering consolidated redevelopment plans for the private mills for banking, finance, retail and high-end housing due to the strategic location and the potential economic returns.

    In contrast, the Connaught Place area had some housing present initially but now entirely supports businesses and service job establishments (banking, insurance, tourism). It began as the headquarters of British Raj; had residential use for a period of time, and now has commercial land uses. It is central to the built-form of Lutyens’ Delhi.

  2. Urban Neighbourhoods: They are primarily residential areas surrounding and supporting one or more urban centres. They have moderate-to-high densities and a mix of residential and local retail services. Fewer fixed guideway transit modes intersect in such neighbourhoods as compared to urban centres and hence, feeder services become essential for providing last mile accessibility for urban commuters. Most of the urban neighbourhoods have a strong mix of middle and high-income housing with minimal affordable housing. The major challenge lies in expanding housing opportunities, especially to the economically weaker sections.

    An example of an Urban Neighbourhood is Jayanagar in Bengaluru. It was one of the first planned residential neighbourhoods in India and at the time of its inception, the largest in Asia. It comprises of 7 wards and is surrounded by Basavanagudi, JP Nagar and Banashankari 2nd Stage which are all important urban centres or neighborhoods. Jayanagar is a multi-cultural hub, with several temples, a shopping complex and a bus depot. The metro line runs from North to South, connecting several parks and commercial activities in the neigbourhood. There is extensive bus and auto-rickshaw connectivity throughout the localities, which enhances last mile connectivity in addition to the presence of well-envisioned arterial roads.

    Similarly, Defence Colony-Lajpat Nagar area in Delhi in another example in this category. It is centrally located in the city and has several recreational and retail opportunities to support the residential land-use. The area is very well-serviced by the Delhi Metro (Lajpat Nagar, Moolchand and Kailash Colony stations), local buses, shared auto rickshaws and taxis. Notably, it has the South Delhi Public School, restaurants of multiple cuisines, a popular Defence Colony Market and Shaikh Ali’s tomb.

  3. Suburban Centres: These have moderate-to-high density mix of residential, commercial, retail and institutional uses. Particularly in the Indian context, they tend to be origin or destination points for transit routes or corridors and see a unidirectional flow of commuters depending on office hours and local patterns of mobility. As a result of their function, suburban centres are served by multiple modes of transit including suburban rail, light rail or tramways, BRT, and local bus. The major challenge lies in improving local supporting services like retail, and improving connections/access to transit including last-mile options. Examples include Pimpri-Chinchwad-Hinjewadi near Pune, Whitefield in Bengaluru, and Kalyan-Dombivli near Mumbai. Some of the suburban centers are now populated sufficiently to form their own cities, Kalyan Dombivali is a case in point.

    Rising real estate prices in central areas of cities like Mumbai and Delhi continue to push people to reside in distant suburbs while commuting for work needs. Increasing average trip lengths in Metro rail commute in Delhi highlight a shift in the functional purpose of the transit mode from a local connector to a more regional one (RITES, 2008). Unlike international cases for suburban centres, Indian suburban centres function as both residential neighbourhoods as well as employment foci. In Noida, the New Okhla Industrial Development Authority, is a prominent hub for multinational firms due to its SEZ status, and close proximity to Delhi. It is strongly serviced by the Metro, and under the Master Plan of Delhi 2021, has outlined goals for densification and development radially from the transit node. This is to enable the provision of housing and employment opportunities in alignment with the demands of the catchment areas.

  4. Transit corridors: They are an increasingly common category in Indian cities. They have a characteristic of almost even development throughout a transit corridor without distinct centres. They develop on both sides of a transit corridor like Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), Metro or light rail and display a mix of commercial, retail and residential activities without a uniformly decreasing density profile away from the corridor. The major challenge here is in developing opportunities equitably along the corridor.

    The case of Ahmedabad is particularly prominent for such a type of development. The city adopted the mechanism of Town Planning Schemes to streamline development along the transit corridors as compared to the rest of the city. Special zoning and FSI norms differ for the CBDs or mixed-use corridor from the other areas in the city. Housing policies and land-use specifications within the TOD influence zones also aid integration between the transit linkages and housing or employment opportunities in the area.

    Indore presents another case of development along the transit corridor. The BRT in Indore that started in 2013 with 10 proposed lines. The completed project will cover 106 km, linking all the major corridors of Indore- A.B. road (North South Arterial), Easter Ring Road (Peri-urban) and M.G. Road (Inner City Main Street). To enhance accessibility, the BRTS is also connected to other modes of public transit in the city, such as mini-buses and vans. As an incentivising instrument for transit-oriented development, the new land development plan of 2012 has increased the FAR along the BRTS corridor to 3 from 1.5 (UADD, GoMP).

    Another example of development along a transit corridor is the Line 1 of Metro in Mumbai. Line 1 of the Mumbai Metro is a 11.40 km line connecting Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar through 12 stations which started operations in 2014. The suburban railways already connected Mumbai in the north-south directions through its extensive network. However, east-west connectivity was poor prior to the development of this metro line. At Andheri and Ghatkopar stations, it enables commuters to transfer between the two modes. In addition, the presence of BEST buses, auto-rickshaws and taxis feed transit development and accessibility. People are increasingly traveling along the corridor for commercial and employment opportunities at neighbourhoods such as Hiranandani, SEEPZ or Lokhandwala, which are all mixed-use areas, true to the nature of urban development in Mumbai.

  5. Regional Transit Terminals: This is a unique category of areas that characteristically develop around a high-density transport terminal with extensive route-linkages across the region. Such a hub displays primarily retail and commercial activities to support the development of the transit terminal. In India, this is seen in the case of major inter-state bus terminals or rail stations. These hubs might see seasonal patterns of footfall and have higher densities of floating population as compared to the resident population.

    The Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) is an initiative in Delhi NCR and the nearby regions. It was envisaged in 2007 when the daily passenger vehicles crossing the borders of Delhi reached 11 lakh with the dynamic expansion of the National Capital Region (NCR). The proposed corridors are the Delhi-Sonipat-Panipat, Delhi-Gurgaon-Alwar and Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut corridors which aim to halve travel time between these NCR towns while serving the increase in transport demand. The combined length of the project is 381 km with 48 stations in Phase 1 (NCRTC). High speeds of travel, good frequency, ease of use and multi-modal connectivity are essential parameters for the success of such inter-city terminals and transit systems. The regional network will provide better job opportunities to people staying in the peri-urban fringe areas of Delhi while reducing pollution due to motorised vehicles. Gannaur, Samalkha, Panipat Depot, Guldhar, Duhai, Meerut South and Modipuram are some of the major stations that will be developed into self-contained TOD pockets with residential, commercial and employment opportunities along the RRTS.

    Regional Transit Terminals can also include Interstate Bus Terminals (ISBT). As the name suggests, these bus terminals connect larger cities in different states. Regional Transit Terminals such as the Vytilla Mobility Hub in Kochi, enable smooth transfers from regional connections to local transit reducing the need to depend on private vehicles. Table 3 captures the various typologies described till now.


Enablers for TOD

The success of any Transit Oriented Development depends on the effective use of implementation mechanisms for land-use planning, land value capture and travel demand management. By shaping the components of a TOD, these enablers link it with the larger city planning processes and goals. For example, the goal of creating active walkable streets would require an appropriate land-use mechanism which pushes for mixed use. Similarly, the goal of achieving the required building intensity and scale would require regulatory measures such as floor area ratios, minimum lot area per unit height. The goal of creating transit integration would require the linking of train corridors and stations as part of the larger TOD project. As seen in the global practices, enabling mechanisms are of three types - Land-Use Planning Mechanisms, Process Mechanisms and Financial mechanisms.

Land-Use Planning & Design Mechanisms include land-use master plan, overlay plans, influence zone plans, comprehensive mobility plan and other planning and visioning documents which outline a city or region’s plan for growth in the future. The significance of these documents is three-fold. First, they present a city’s vision for long-term growth and development, second, they outline the land-use and mobility structure of the city and third, they are legally binding in nature and they regulate development. Through a land-use document, a city can establish a statutory framework for the implementation of a development project. This also means that the projects are developed, allowing room for necessary adjustments across the city.

A Master Plan is critical in the implementation of a Zonal plan or other mechanisms including Land Assembly under Town Planning Scheme. An example would be the Master Plan of Delhi 2021. Its language enables the preparation of a comprehensive redevelopment scheme for the influence area of an MRTS stations. Initially, the draft MPD-2021 proposed that the influence zones of MRTS stations be further classified into three zone categories with certain location thresholds (Hiroaki Suzuki, 2015). But this structure of the influence zone has been changed to into a continuous area of 500 m depth on either side from the center line of MRTS in MPD 2021 (TOD Gazetted Notification in July 2015).

Delhi's use of influence zone is similar to San Diego’s 1992 ordinance which created Urban Village Overlay Zones to promote compact infill development around the transit nodes (trolley stops) (Bhishna Bajracharya, 2005).

Form Based Codes are documents which define the physical shape and design of a built form. These are useful tools in preserving the heritage and culture of a historic neighbourhood. It can also be used to preserve commercial facades, define building envelopes and in general to preserve the activity in a given public space.

Land-Use Planning and Design Mechanisms are important tools in the process of developing a TOD as they provide the statutory framework necessary for various changes in land-use, densities and design of the TOD. Appropriate land-use and design mechanisms may even act as a prerequisite for the process mechanisms. Delhi and Ahmedabad demonstrate this by creating policies for moving the process forward.

Box 6: Urban Growth Boundary

Urban Growth Boundary, as in the case of Portland, is a mechanism for managing growth. The Metro Council in 1995 suggested “concentrating development in urban growth boundaries, with some extent of satellite development”. On its basis, Portland prepared its growth management strategy called “2040 Growth Plan” which features a tight Urban Growth Boundary focusing growth in transit centres and corridors, and asks local governments to limit parking, and adopt zoning and comprehensive plan changes to be consistent with the plan.

In reality, policies that tend be restrictive, over a long period of time, (through master planning exercise) can in fact, discourage higher density living. Hence having a framework that gives the flexibility to city managers to guide the development is undoubtedly a practical approach. Singapore and Hong Kong exemplify this approach by varying their densities and floor space index in response to market demand on an ongoing basis (Bertaud, 2014).

Process Mechanisms are mostly command and control tools and economic instruments which mobilise projects of all sizes and shapes. These mechanisms include land assembly, transfer of development and establishment of partnerships between local government and transit agencies along with the private sector. Land assembly is one among the most complex of processes and a critical step in the densification of a neighbourhood. For the most part, land assembly in India has been conducted through two methods - land acquisition (based on the principle of Eminent Domain) and land pooling and readjustment. Eminent Domain refers to the power of the state or public planning authorities and development agencies to acquire land (with appropriate compensation) for the purpose of public use.

Land Acquisition can enable rapid availability of adequate amount of land for development, provided most of the owners agree for sale. It provides almost a clean slate for the new master plan for the assembled land as the value of the land appreciates; it provides the opportunity to the development authority to accrue the benefits (Ballaney). One of the acts governing the process of land acquisition is the Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act of 2013.

Land Acquisition faces multiple barriers as listed below:

  • Land title disputes
  • Proving legitimacy of public use
  • Displacement of land owners and loss of livelihood
  • Compensation delays and disputes
  • Development and redistribution of land
  • Hold outs for speculation
  • Poor capture of the appraisal of land value by the land owners after development
  • Low participation of land owners in the decision-making process, particularly when public use has been legitimately established.

As a result, land readjustment and pooling techniques are being used in many parts of the country as an efficient alternative. One of these is a Town Planning Scheme or TPS. A Town Planning Scheme adopts a different approach by engaging the land owners with the development authority for the planning process. In this land pooling/readjustment method, the development authority prepares a master plan for the given area, lays out the infrastructure and distributes the remaining land back to the land owners. There is no land acquisition in the process. Instead, the land owners are charged a betterment fee to pay for the infrastructure development. This allows the land owners to benefit from the appreciation of the land value and enables them to retain their livelihoods. It also means the method can be long and complicated. This method has been successfully used in the development of Magarpatta, Pune and in Gujarat for the development of Sardar Patel Ring Road in Ahmedabad, Outer Ring Road in Surat, BRTS in Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Vadodara and Surat. Land Pooling is used in many countries, including Australia and Finland (I.P.Gautam, 2012).

Transfer of Development Rights is another land readjustment technique. It enables the planners to direct additional development as required, along with improvements to infrastructure, using finances generated through the process. Transferable Development Rights (TDRs) are essentially the rights to develop built space on land that can be transferred (Nallathiga, 2014):

I. horizontally from one location to another location (ex situ), or

II. vertically from surface to above or below (in situ)

Each piece of land has a potential for development defined by the property zoning, land-use and development control regulation (Nallathiga, 2014). The differential development potential of land can be utilised in a positive manner to preserve certain land-uses which are required to be kept with little or no development on site; while at the same time, this unutilised development potential needs to be tapped for beneficial use in other sector – such as residential housing (Nallathiga, 2014). TDRs essentially serve as a mechanism to achieve this objective. In case of Mumbai, the TDR program was initially started with the intention of acquiring land for public amenities i.e., reservations such as green spaces, gardens and playgrounds, and for road construction. In addition, the award of TDR was also made applicable to plot/land owners if they construct/develop the public amenities (or, planned reservations) as per the rules under DCR. The TDR scheme was later extended to achieve other purposes of city development like slum housing, conservation of built heritage, and even for the development/provision of public amenities that were otherwise to be provided by the MCGM (Nallathiga, 2014).

The challenge in the land assembly processes is the capture of the land value, which increases with the improvements made to the land. There are different mechanisms that can capture this value. These fall into the category of financial mechanisms.

Financial Mechanisms are of two kinds: the first involves mobilisation of financial resources (which includes capture of land value) and the second involves use of financial tools to enhance quality of life within a TOD through behavioural change. Traditionally, financial resources come from either the central or state government sponsored schemes, such as JnNURM, through land monetisation driven EPC or PPP or through land value capture. EPC and PPP are driven through debt servicing or partnership equity. Land is also a major financial resource which can fund development. Its value can be captured in two ways- monetisation through sale or land and/or air rights or by capture of financial value accrued by the improvement of transit, quality of life and comfort. Any improvement to a transit system leads to a direct increase in the value of the land due to improved accessibility, infrastructure, service delivery and quality of life.

Monetisation of land in also seen in some TPS schemes in Gujarat where a small portion of land is acquired from the owner in exchange for providing infrastructure services instead of charging a betterment fee. This land is then assembled and either used for the infrastructure provision or sold to generate funds for financing the infrastructure improvements and other development.

Value capture is distinct from the user charges or fees that agencies collect once services start being delivered on the infrastructure. Value capture relies more on the intrinsic accretion of value increase in the location of the private land once the public infrastructure is implemented in its vicinity. Different ways of capturing land value in India include - Land value tax, Fees for changing land-use, Land value increment tax, Area-based development charges, Value-based development charges, Transfer of development rights and incentive FSI, Premium on additional FSI or relaxation of rules, Charges for regularisation of unauthorised development, Land acquisition and development and Town Planning Schemes.

Box 7: Giving teeth to the guidelines

Cities have guidelines or advisory documents instead of regulations and policies in many cases. Guidelines are simply recommendations which should be implemented, but they are not mandatory. One of the simplest examples here is the case of street guidelines, which have been developed in many cities across the country (including Delhi and Chennai), yet they carry little weight due to their advisory nature. Area Based Development within a Smart City Proposal or a city’s Transit Oriented Development Policy, present an opportunity to turn such advisory documents into regulations and policies. Bhubaneswar has proposed this in its Area Based Development, where it is implementing a complete streets policy to diversify its mode share.

The second part of financial mechanisms is the use of financial tools for bringing about a change in the user behaviour. Using congestion fees in a CBD area, or enforcing high on-street parking prices would be an example of dis-incentivising use of cars in a dense walkable neighbourhood. Implementing subsidies for public transit fare, or implementing single fare system are examples of financial incentives for using public transit. An example of this is Pune’s draft for public parking policy, where it is proposed to use parking fee as a tool to discourage car use and promote transit ridership and walking.

All these mechanisms work at different stages of building a TOD. From assembling land to implementing parking policies, each of them depends on the institutional capacities of various city agencies and departments. The purpose of the enablers is to mobilise the development process. Many of these mechanisms take time and coordination of various other processes. Thus, they need a comprehensive and proactive approach to ensure success.

Components of TOD

The codification of Transit Oriented Development (TOD) as proposed by Peter Calthorpe and now practiced in cities in North America is framed as a walkable, mixed-use form of development within walking and cycling radius of a mass rapid transit station (Calgary City Council, 2004). The reasoning behind this approach is that pedestrian-oriented developments encourage people to live near transit services and decrease their dependence on automobiles (Still, 2002). 

TOD is advocated as the sustainable alternative to sprawl and automobile dependency primarily because it: 

    • Promotes dense communities to help defray costs of building and operating mass transit infrastructure
    • Avoids the need for commuting by introducing job centers, housing and retail within the same development
    • Creates mobility options such as walking and bicycling networks within the infrastructure and reforming building form and urban design that enhance the experience of these non motorised modes.

These understandings are not limited to TOD and have been advocated universally for sustainable transportation under the following broader approaches;

    • “Push – Pull approach” emphasises that urban transport measures must persuade users into using public transport and non-motorised transport, while developing strategies to “push them out” of automobiles and similar transport modes. To achieve the “pull” component, cities must provide a high quality of public transit; develop infrastructure for public transport and non-motorised transport and in general develop policies that improve conditions for the use of these modes (Shanghai Manual, 2010, p. 115).
    • “Avoid/Reduce – Shift - Improve” principle also advocated by Sustainable Urban Transport Project (SUTP) in 2007 through its module Transport and Climate Change. "Avoid/Reduce" refers to the reduction in the need to travel by reducing the trip length through integrated land-use planning and travel demand management; "shift" refers to improved trip efficiency and increased share of sustainable modes of transportation such as walking and bicycling. "Improve" refers to the optimisation of transport infrastructure. 

The uniqueness of the application of these approaches to TOD lies in the flexibility and incremental possibilities to apply them to the various typologies of TOD; the node/station, the corridor, the city and subsequently the region. This is evident from the implementations of TOD at various scales globally. The case studies in the upcoming sections illustrate the same. 

Cities either undertake a comprehensive approach to TOD by incorporating all the principles or build upon incrementally, depending upon the evolution of public transit network infrastructure in their cities.


A global review shown in Table 4 illustrates that various principles are being encapsulated within 3 major constructs of ‘Design-Density-Diversity’. This matrix has been developed through a desk review of a mixture of cities and organisations working on TOD and is by no means exhaustive. We see that the 3 Ds of Calthorpe’s framework has translated into multiple programme areas for local TOD implementations. From the matrix it can be seen that:

    • The seemingly basic constructs of Design, Diversity and Density have interconnected components that require a deeper understanding of the linkages. For eg, the relationship between design of spaces, buildings, parks and the effects on pedestrian movement, a part of diversity (choice of mode) and density (density of grid circulation networks). 
    • The global adoptions of this 3 Ds paradigm have identified 5-6 main areas of intervention for a TOD - high densities of people and jobs, urban design, mix of land-use, pedestrian circulation, parking management and quality of public infrastructure.
    • Two emerging issues that have been flagged for future adoptions is safeguarding against gentrification (public transit investments increase housing costs) and energy efficiency (for high-density neighborhood construction and transportation). 
    • Three important barriers to TOD adoption have been identified as the assembly of land especially in dense urban neighbourhoods; the building control regulations that define the form of buildings and neighbourhoods and the availability of finance for implementing a TOD. 

Similar components occur in different constructs across the multiple adoptions, possibly because of the interconnectedness between the constructs. The focus then, rightly so is on addressing the principles of those components rather than placing them within a construct.

Given this complexity in understanding the 3Ds framework and all the individual components, there is a risk of piecemeal adoption in Indian cities. An oversimplified approach already seen in India is transit agencies developing the land/site (through joint development) adjoining the transit stations with higher FSI without considering the overall urban and housing experience this development brings. It is therefore important that in the Indian context, the decision makers recognise the important aspects of TOD upfront while maintaining the complex understanding of the 3D framework.

With this aim, this study separates out the components that are important and identify them as separate constructs given their significance. Thus "Mobility" with a focus on non-motorised transport and public transit and "Housing" with a focus on affordability are considered as separate constructs. Thus reframing the concept of 3Ds into 5 constructs for a TOD- Urban Density, Urban Diversity, Urban Design, Mobility and Housing. 

The graphic shows the constructs in a TOD framework for Indian Smart Cities. All though analysed individually in this publication (for the ease of understanding), these constructs are all connected. A comprehensive approach to their adoption is integral to the success of a TOD. the illustration shows the relationship amongst the constructs and the components essential to them. Implementation of one may even act as a pre-requisite for another. For, example, improving pedestrian and bicycle mobility is tied to the implementation of urban design in an area for building comfortable and safe bike lanes and sidewalks. By mapping these components, the components under them and the interactions, we can begin to form a clear picture of their interdependence. 

The principles supported by these TOD constructs are: 

    • Presence of high-quality transit system (Metro, Suburban Rail, Bus Rapid Transit) serving an inner city or a peri-urban area for TOD realisation. A TOD implementation around a highway corridor without any public transit might adhere to principles of TOD or New Urbanism but is neither a TOD implementation nor a sustainable land-use-transportation implementation.
    • High density of jobs and households within a small development and subsequent scaling of this to a city and region can help in reducing the urban footprint and slowing down some of the undesired consequences of sprawl. A higher provision of public green spaces and higher quality of building aesthetics and urban design is required to match the high densities.
    • Emphasis on non-motorised modes (bicycle and pedestrian) of transportation to generate higher transit ridership. Higher the quality of these facilities, higher are the chances that people living in TODs will use public transit. These modes are also important if jobs and housing are supported within the same development. 
    • Development control and planning regulations need to be aligned to enhancing the experience of pedestrian and public spaces. Hence parking reform management, street design, building facade regulations, green cover regulations need to be looked at, in any TOD implementation. 
    • Resource efficiency and inclusion are cross-cutting emerging themes that underlie any dense TODs. This prioritises public transport over private transport, incentives the mix of jobs and affordable housing and emphasises the uses of sustainable materials and practices for neighbourhood development. 
    •  Land assembly and private sector partnership for raising resources needed are essential for implementing a TOD, especially in existing dense, inner core areas of Indian cities. Therefore these cannot be ignored while developing the framework.


Urban Density

Urban density is a rich concept in urban land-use theory but its interpretations have varied across time and space. Built-up floor space, number of households, number of daily pedestrians and number of jobs are some aspects used to describe this concept. A TOD approach integrates all of these within the density paradigm. This section explores the various globally referred parameters to measure and define urban density. The section also looks at the benefits of higher densities near transit station; the more the number of houses and jobs within the influence of transit station, greater is the resource utilisation. Well planned integration of density, land-use and transport has the potential to reduce the per capita cost for infrastructure and service delivery, and economically sustain mass transit infrastructure.

Defining Density

The term urban density is multifaceted and covers a broad range of urban characteristics. The relationship between Transit Oriented Development (TOD) and urban density is critical. TOD concentrates most growth and development within a short walk of frequent transit stops and stations giving rise to the concept of an active node with mixed economic and commercial activities. The form of development varies from community to community, based on local goals, character, and needs and there is no "one-size-fits-all" approach to achieving an appropriate level of density to support transit. Different studies have highlighted different types and appropriate levels of densities and their relation with various factors including the transit system and travel pattern.

Density, precisely means the mass or number per unit area, focusing on utilising the available land resource efficiently. Traditionally density has been measured/mapped using built density, residential density and population density.

Measuring Density

To understand the impact of Transit Oriented Development on an urban area, it is critical to measure its impact on urban density over a period of time. To achieve the same there are multiple methods actively followed to calculate it efficiently and effectively, based on the urban context, activities generated as a result, and other concerned factors.

• Measuring Built-up Area: Floor Space Index (FSI) or Floor Area Ratio (FAR) is the ratio of built-up area to the total area of the plot. Built density defines the urban fabric or the form of development; higher this value taller is the built form of the city, other things remaining constant. Built-up area is measured in terms of FSI in Indian cities. FSI values are traditionally capped within Indian cities by using the development control regulations, resulting in a low rise urban form within the cities. To capitalise on the development opportunities in TOD, it is recommended to concentrate the built-up area density within a walking distance (500 to 800 m or roughly a 10-minute walk) or a bikable distance (1 km to 1.5 km, roughly a 10-minute bike ride) from the transit stations.

Measuring Households (Residential Density): The number of households (HHs) or dwelling units (DUs) per unit area defines the residential density. It helps to estimate the land area required to accommodate a given population. This measure generally forms a part of the housing strategy with the city planning process. Increasing residential density gives an opportunity to improve the affordability of land by distributing the cost of development among a greater number of households and lead to an efficient use of the associated resource and services. London uses the concept of measuring and increasing the residential densities in areas well served by transportation infrastructure. The housing strategy for London recommends densities varying from 30 DUs per hectare in suburban areas to 435 DUs per hectare in Central London (Greater London Authority, 2003).

This estimate guides the provision of infrastructure and services for present and future population and indicates where densities may need to be regulated to achieve an optimum level.

  • Measuring Population: By measuring the number of persons per unit area, population densities estimate the space available or consumed per person. Population density is often further classified into day-time and night-time densities to distinguish between the number of visitors, workers and residents within the area. Higher the difference between day-time and night-time densities, higher is the imbalance in the mix of land-uses. Moreover, a high number of households and a high value of night time density indicates a higher number of people per household. This helps define the capacity of the existing infrastructure and guides the provision of infrastructure and services for the future population.
  • Measuring Employment/ Jobs: For any TOD, jobs available per household near the transit station is an important parameter to guide the level of density and manage the travel demand. Jobs per household is a measure of non-residential area needed to support the economic productivity of a space. Mixed-use developments with significant jobs per households ratio will improve diversity. State of Floridas' Department of Transportation Density Guideline Matrix suggests a range of 15 jobs per household in urban core (predominantly non-residential) areas having a commuter rail or LRT and 4 jobs per household in areas having an equal mix of residential and non-residential uses, served by bus. In this standard, jobs per square km vary from 40,000 to 2,00,000 jobs based on the mode of public transport. Similarly, Ottawa’s comprehensive plan suggests 20,000 to 25,000 jobs/ sq. km for any mixed use development.

Box 8

Vancouver Transit Oriented Community Design Guideline 2012 suggests concentrating and intensifying activities near frequent transit; focusing density in urban centres and around frequent transit corridors and nodes (to support a strong demand for transit service); and planning for density that supports community character and promotes quality of life. The strategy for development involves using the valuable land near high-demand transit facilities as efficiently as possible.

Employment density or job density also refers to average floor space available per employee. It is often used as a measure of the intensity of use and an indicator of space available per person within a workplace. Employment densities are significant as they have a direct influence on the utilisation of the commercial spaces, thus defining the economic productivity of the space. The City of London has around 97,000 employees/ sq. km, and Canary Wharf has around 2,32,000 employees/ sq. km (Buchanan, 2008). The employment density depends on the nature of the activity. For example, in an industrial space, it will be different from that in a space with service sector. Employment density measures can be used to estimate the level of gross employment that can be accommodated within an area.

Cities are complex systems and thereby require multiple views of urban densities at different scales of the urban fabric. Indian cities have relied entirely on FSI to regulate densities thereby ignoring the other important parameters. This has therefore deteriorated, both housing and infrastructure (including public spaces) within the cities. Density regulation for TOD has to be based on high built-up density, high household density and high population density provided that other mitigating elements such as open space provision, pedestrian circulation networks and public transportation corridors are available.

Successful TODs such as Canary Wharf and King’s Cross consider all views of urban densities discussed above. Even Indian cities, such as Delhi have recently recognised these relationships for housing, transportation and infrastructure provision. This can be seen in the Draft TOD policy of Delhi Development Authority from 2012, which mandates that 50% housing units should be units of size ranging between 32 to 40 sq. m and the balance 50% should be less than 65 sq. m (refer to the TOD Policy in Delhi case study).

Apart from these, there are other measures that can be used to map density. These includes street crowding, an indicator of footfall on street and in public places; and availability of open spaces per person, addressing quality of life.

Density is regulated in cities using these measures, while also giving due consideration to factors such as the social structure of the urban area; proposed or existing urban policies and projects for the city; existing economic growth magnets and possible target areas for development.

Box 9: Built Density and Population Density

Dharavi has low FAR: 2, high DU/ha: 630 and high population density – 3148 PPH. Kwong Ming Court, Hong Kong has high FAR – 12.5, high DU/ha – 1507, high population density – 4910 PPH.The Esplanade has high FAR – 9.6, low DU/ha – 361, low population density – 591 PPH.


Benefits of Density

• Social Benefits: High densities can make public spaces active and promote a better sense of community. Improving density and mix of land-uses within the proximity of the public transit systems also help improve accessibility and mobility for all.

• Environmental Benefits: Densities ensure an appropriate balance

between the population and the capacity of the existing or planned infrastructure facilities. It can reduce the dependency on private vehicles by encouraging people and activities closer to the public transit system. Higher density areas show greater numbers of people walking, using public transport, cycling and spending less time commuting. With greater travel options available and fewer people traveling by car, harmful emissions are reduced, less ground is paved over, and more destinations become accessible to all; thus promotes healthier and sustainable living.


A study by Newman & Kenworthy (1989) on regional urban densities and travel patterns shows the inverse relationship between reliance on automobiles (calculated through fuel consumption) and the density of the urban area.

Box 10: Densities, FSI and Crowding

In Mumbai a family averages about 5 people, living typically in an apartment of 25 sq m. That is 5 sq m per person. In Manhattan the apartment size is typically 1,000 sq ft (about 90 sq.m) and occupancy averages 1.7 persons. The average floor space there works out to 55 sq.m per person. Each Manhattan resident occupies 11 times as much floor space as a Mumbai resident. So for the same plot area, FSI 11 will have 11 times the built-up floor area as FSI 1. But because of the space each family takes up, FSI 11 in Manhattan will have the same number of people at FSI 1 in Mumbai. Similarly, in terms of head count, FSI 15 in Manhattan corresponds to FSI 1.33 in Mumbai. These apparently very different FSI values of 15 in one place and 1.33 in another, will give us identical levels of street crowding in both cities. So when you compare FSI in different cities you need to also remember how much floor space each resident occupies in each of those cities (Praja, 2014)

Sirish B. Patel, proposes using crowding as an alternative measure. Indoor crowding, park crowding and amenity crowding. He advocated that FSI alone cannot be a tool for density mapping. He defines Indoor Crowding (IC) as occupants per hectare of built-up area and Street Crowding (SC) as occupants per hectare of street area.

So, instead of saying that in Mumbai people live in 5 sq.m per capita, and in Manhattan occupy 55 sq.m per capita, we can say that in Mumbai Residential Crowding is 2,000 persons per hectare (a hectare is 10,000 sq.m), and in Manhattan Residential Crowding is 182 persons per hectare of built-up residential area. It is an inversion of the residential space taken up per capita (Praja, 2014).

Density allows for increased proximity and geographic accessibility leading to reduced travel distance and therefore promoting walking and cycling trips. The increased density reduces the per capita cost for infrastructure and service delivery.

 • Economic Benefits: It maintains optimum level of development and population on a limited supply of developable land. Presence of higher density closer to the transit stations is important for creating and sustaining ridership. A 10% increase in population or employment density results in 5 to 8% increase in transit ridership. A 10% increase in population density corresponds to a 3.2% drop in capital costs per rider. A 10% increase in employment density resulted in per rider capita costs to drop by 1.5% (Cervero, 1998). An increase in density in areas close to transit reduces the per capita cost for infrastructure and service delivery (Newman & Kenworthy, 1989).

There are two ways to quantify the benefit of increased density in an area. First, increase in density means a greater number of people and built-up area can be accommodated within the same space; second, more efficient use of land for commercial space leaves more space for other land-uses (Tracy K. Swinburn, 2008).

Densification through development projects

Any mass rapid transit system needs a threshold ridership to sustain its operations. This is a function of density of housing, employment, commercial and other activities close to its transit stations. Managing growth in a city and implementation of a TOD may require management of development and densities. The Smart Cities Mission considers retrofit (city improvement), redevelopment (city renewal), greenfield (city extension) as strategic approaches for managing growth.

Retrofit/Infill: This approach is meant for brownfield parcels that have been used earlier and now abeing re-purposed for similar or different use. It is generally useful in inner city areas as they are likely to offer previously used land. Retrofit/Infill method is used to densify with minimum intervention. Retrofit mostly focuses on upgradation and improvement of existing infrastructure and built form, while infill is about building on small or underused parcels to maximise its utilsation potential.

Redevelopment is replacement of the existing built-up environment and enabling creation of a new layout with enhanced infrastructure using mixed land-use and increased density. Two examples of the redevelopment model are the Saifee Burhani Upliftment Project in Mumbai (also called the Bhendi Bazaar Project) and the redevelopment of East Kidwai Nagar in New Delhi being undertaken by the National Building Construction Corporation (Smart City Mission Statement & Guidelines, 2015)

Greenfield development: Refers to new development planned for areas which have not been previously used urban development. An example of this is Naya Raipur, the new capital city of the state of Chattisgarh. Its TOD plan focuses on redistribution of densities based on the proximity from the transit service and maximises densities and FARs in the Primary and Secondary Station Area Zones to increase the population holding capacity of each TOD.

Density in Indian Cities

Over 377 million people live in about 8000 urban centres in India. As per Census of India 2011, there are 3 cities with population greater than 10 million and 53 cities with population greater than 1 million. Top 10 cities having 8% of the total urban population live in just 0.1% of the total land and 53 million plus cities have 13.3% of urban population in 0.2% of the land area in India. Pushkarev and Zupan in 1977 prescribed minimum residential densities ranging between 5400 persons/ to 9000 persons/ (Victoria Transport Policy Institute, 2016) depending on the mode of transit for a TOD. Similarly, State of Florida transport prescribes gross population densities ranging from 10000 persons/ to 20000 persons/ in TOD zones based on mode of transit. In the 33 smart cities announced in the first year of Indian Smart Cities Mission, average city densities varies from values as low as 980 person/ sq. km (Dharamshala) to values as high as 26,555 person/ sq. km (Chennai). Analysis of densities in these 33 cities reveal that even the 75th percentile is only 8719 persons/ sq. km (Bhagalpur) and the average density in is 5916 persons/ Therefore, in case of tier 3 cities like Dharamshala, Panaji, and most of the tier 2 cities such as Raipur, Ranchi etc., there is a definite need to increase densities to support transit investments, provided that other parameters such as housing, public transportation, pedestrian and NMT infrastructure, and urban design are improved. In tier 1 cities of India such as Mumbai and Chennai, densities are high and sufficient for transit, therefore requiring interventions in other aspects of TOD so as to improve the quality of the urban space. The second highest density in the smart cities of first year amounts to only 13,304 persons/ sq. km (Surat), which is considerable lower than the highest density (Chennai).

Even though average densities are low in most of the Indian cities, their core areas have sufficient densities which can generate a demand for public transit system, which may vary from bus based systems to heavy rail depending on the density. In areas in the cities where the densities are low, re-densification together with improvements in urban space (NMT and pedestrian infrastructure, housing and urban design) becomes an important tool. TOD therefore is a tool to optimise densities to improve quality of life.

However, density alone cannot meet the basic objectives of TOD. It requires a balanced mix of complementary uses and activities within local area (housing, workplaces and local retail commerce) to make daily trips short and to encourage use of non-motorised and public transportation. Diversity reduces dependence on private vehicles, promote equity and is necessary to ensure financial sustainability of a TOD project. The sphere of diversity in a TOD is delved into in the subsequent section.

Urban Diversity

Diversity is about bringing together diverse land-uses, people and activities in close proximity to reduce need for travel and trip distances. It is a highly successful idea that fell out of favour with the advent of suburban neighbourhoods and restrictive zoning practices. A mix of land-use in close proximity enables financial sustainability, social equity and reduced dependence on private vehicles. Sufficient housing, retail, recreation and office spaces, as well as a mix within each of these with various types of housing and scales of retail and open spaces facilitates inclusion of all sections of society in the TOD.

Defining Diversity

Diversity in TOD is defined as the degree to which different land-uses are located within close proximity of each other, reducing the need to travel outside of the immediate area for common trip purposes (Cervero & Kockelman, 1997). Diversity also means the diversity in the communities residing and visiting the TOD area. It is also the diversity in activities within the area and even the modes of transport available in the

area. All these different aspects of diversity are tied to the diversity in land-use or built space, as it is land-use and built space that generates activities and creates a better public realm. Within the TOD area, diversity becomes extremely important with higher densities as it affects ease of connectivity to the transit station and consequently to other uses. When there is a balanced mix of complementary uses and activities within a local area (e.g., a mix of residences, workplaces and local retail commerce), many daily trips can remain short and walkable (ITDP). It is found that most of the traffic reduction benefits of transit-oriented

communities occur not because of increased transit ridership but, rather, because of increased walking for the 80% of households travel that is not commute-related (Translink, 2012). Robert Cervero’s case study of Stockholm highlights the ways in which a well-designed transit system that connects multiple place types and destinations with varying land-use mixes and intensities can achieve strong bidirectional ridership, despite high automobile ownership rates and high income levels (Cervero R., 1998).

Benefits of Diversity

Diversity is advocated in TODs for several reasons. The benefits of diversity can be explained under the broad framework of three major themes. One, to reduce dependence on private vehicles; two, to ensure financial sustainability, and three, to provide social equity.

  • One of the primary objectives of TOD is to create walkable and bikeable communities accessible using transit modes. Such communities do not cause vehicular pollution and congestion, instead, they save time and money, improve social interaction, public health and lead to a better quality of life. In an urban area, movement of people is mostly tied to an activity, it may be to reach a workplace, to shop, to relax in a park, to go to an event and so on. Diversifying the land-use invites diverse activities within the TOD area. Such areas around transit stations make destinations accessible either using transit modes or by increasing ease of walking and bicycling trips within the area. Also, a land-use mix such as retail commerce, residences, entertainment, office spaces etc., such that diverse uses peak at different times, keep local streets animated and safe with “eyes on street” (ITDP).
  • Financial sustainability is another important consideration in the development of TODs. Development of a good quality TOD involves significant expenditure in transit and buildings. It is often quoted that mass transit needs mass for financial sustainability. While higher densities to a great extent allow for more people and activity in the area, diversity becomes an important parameter as single use (single land-use or single activity) TODs do not meet the basic objectives of TOD even with significantly high densities. Non-residential uses such as entertainment, offices and retails commerce improve the financial sustainability with higher value capture. This is possible in direct and indirect ways; directly with the increase in land values and rents, and indirectly with the increase in revenue streams including sales taxes and other taxes, and user charges. Also, it is calculated that increased commercial density (including office and retail spaces) can have positive economic impacts (Buchanan, 2008). A mixed land-use with further enhancements of share and multi-use of spaces ensures ridership throughout the day and evening, hence promoting efficiency in the transit system (Translink, 2012).
  • Social equity is often a parameter that is compromised for economic benefits. TODs in every case, with improved accessibility, better infrastructure and, safe and quality environments, cause an increase in land prices, rents, service charges, taxes and cost of living. Social equity becomes very significant in TODs because it is the urban poor and marginalised who are often pushed to city’s periphery with increasing land prices, rents and cost of living in the city. A mix of housing prices allows them to live near their jobs and prevents lower-income residents, who are also the most dependent on lower cost public transit, from being displaced to outlying areas and potentially encouraging this group to become dependent on motor vehicles (ITDP). Also, diversity in terms of housing mix, mix of income groups and varying scale of activities allows for an inclusive development and prevents gentrification.

Global Discourse on Diversity in TODs

Mixed-use development is not a new idea, rather it is a well tested and highly successful method that fell out of favor for many years and now is being “reinvented” (Denver City Council). These kind of urban centers were popular in most cities across the world and in India until the advent of suburban neighbourhoods and the restrictive zoning and master planning that occurred in the last half of the 20th century. Now, cities all over the world are looking forward to return to the communities where people can walk or take transit for their daily errands. In the global discourse of “diversifying” TODs, there are several considerations that are recurring. Some of these are:

  • Diversity and thereby mix of land-uses vary with the type of TOD. This variation is quite evident in neighbourhood TODs and city TODs (Translink, 2012). Neighbourhood TODs are areas developed with primarily residential land-use and a mix of retail commerce, office spaces etc., and it invites moderate to high footfall. City TODs include public offices and other land-uses which invite high to very high footfall. This classification of TOD is based on the scale of the area. There are other aspects based on which TOD typologies are defined such as transit mode, morphology etc. Some of these are discussed in previous sections. The mix of land-use hence is context specific and unique for various TODS. Some of these typologies are discussed in the chapter “Typologies of Transit Oriented Development”.

  • A land-use mix designed at multiple scales- within buildings (vertical mix), along streets and within neighbourhood districts (horizontal mix) allows for shorter distances to destinations. Along with horizontal mix, vertical mix too is significant in a TOD. Promoting the most active uses such as retail (including cafes and restaurants) on the ground floor facing the street helps to build a safe and pedestrian friendly environment near transit stops and stations (Land-Use Planning and Policy Calgary, 2006). A diverse mix of land-uses in the first few levels that are active at different times of the day encourage a vibrant pedestrian environment and maintain "eyes on the street" throughout the day and evening.
  • A mix of housing typologies for different demographics and income classes is necessary for TOD. More variety in housing choices, in particular, is an adaptation to the steady growth in single person households, childless couples, and empty-nesters, many of whom prefer in-city, small-lot living in attractive environments that are well served by public transportation and where it is easy to get around by bike and on foot (Cervero R. 2003).
  • A good indicator of a healthy mix is the ratio between jobs and housing. Commuter distances reduce especially with affordable housing provided in job-rich areas. It is found that in spite of the total trips increasing, indicating induced travel, many of these were walking trips, so total vehicle travel decline (Sperry, 2012) in a TOD. It is also argued that job-housing balance is a stronger predictor of walk mode choice that land-use mix (Stoker, Petheram, & Ewing, 2015).
  • A higher percentage of non-residential uses in TOD is a factor for economic sustainability of the area. Higher economic productivity with sales and entertainment taxes, informal trade, higher rents for non-residential activities and efficiencies in transit use support the need for non-residential uses to make a TOD financially promising. It is calculated that in London, doubling of employment density within a given area can lead to a 12.5% additional increase in output per worker in that area (Buchanan, 2008). Such increase in density is directly tied to a higher percentage of built-space designated for non-residential purposes.
  • Permissible land-uses in TOD is an important consideration while zoning for diversity. Land-uses that encourage use of private vehicles such as automobile repair shops, drive-in restaurants and warehouses should be not permitted in TOD. TOD areas often specify activities that are permitted as-of-right. Lynwood, for example, has created a special mixed-use/transit-supportive zone that grants special use permits to any of the following services that are sited near transit stops: banks, professional businesses, retail stores, offices, and child-care centers (Transport Research Board of National Academies, 2004).
  • Many mechanisms are used all over the world to introduce diversity in TOD. Land-use regulations and zoning are the most basic document guiding diversity. It guides land-uses, development standards (bulk and height) and design standards (Denver City Council). To develop an area as a TOD, the planning documents vary according to types of TOD, which include, greenfield, retrofit, redevelopment, infill etc. Master plans are prepared in case of greenfield TODs. Redevelopment, retrofit and infill TODs are often carried out using zoning overlays often supported by interim zoning plans in the course of redevelopment. San Diego’s TOD zoning in the early 1990s relying upon zoning overlays, interim zoning, and floating zones and, Seattle’s Station-Area Overlay Zoning legislation in 2001 are zoning mechanism that promoted diversity in TOD (Transport Research Board of National Academies, 2004).

Indicators of Diversity

Cities co-ordinate and implement diversity in TODs using indicators, guidelines and land-use regulations. An example is Vancouver’s Transit Oriented Communities Design Guidelines for 6Ds of Transit Oriented Communities- Destination, Distance, Design, Density, Diversity and Demand Management. In this document, D5, Diversity, has four guidelines to encourage a mix of uses, (1) Encourage a mix of land-uses immediately adjacent to frequent transit passenger facilities, (2) Encourage a mix of uses around frequent transit nodes to create complete neighbourhoods, (3) Provide a mix of uses along frequent transit corridors to reduce peak crowding and spread travel demand throughout the day and, (4) Provide a mix of housing types near frequent transit passenger facilities to create inclusive communities and promote equitable access to transportation (Translink, 2012).

Draft Master plan of Delhi 2021 identified diversity components for Influence Zone (transit station and surrounding areas) Plan such as (1) vertical mix of uses for each TOD parcel indicating location of civic amenities within mixed – use blocks, (2) determining the optimum mix of uses to mitigate negative impact on surrounding land uses and transport networks and, (3) determining a financially profitable mix of uses based on the current demand and supply, coupled with the projected land values for the TOD zone (Delhi Development Authority). The Draft Master Plan 2021 of Delhi also prescribed policy and norms for “Minimum Mixed-Use Criteria”. A very relevant norm from this is, “at least 50% of total street frontage length of any TOD project should have an active frontage, i.e. a mix of at least two types of uses with different peak hours of activity stacked vertically, to provide round-the-clock "eyes on the street’” (Delhi Development Authority). Similarly, many other cities, research and practice organisations and, para-statal bodies have identified “components of diversity”, i.e., how can an area be diversified and which are the best indicators of diversity in TOD.

It is but seen that most of such indicators are based on primarily the formal sector- especially in the case of jobs and retail (Suzuki, Cervero, & Luchi, 2013). Within India however, according to 2008-09 estimates, 72% of the service sector and 75% of industry jobs (National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector, 2009) within the informal sector. In the case of housing mix, often affordable housing is provided as a blanket solution for inclusion. The growing trends of single-member families, elderly citizens living alone, childless couples etc. are forgotten. In the Draft TOD influence zone plan of Delhi, norms include, minimum 30% of residential use for all TOD projects to be allocated to rental or for-sale housing with unit sizes no larger than 93 sq.m (Delhi Development Authority).

Scenario in Indian Cities

Most older cities of India do not regulate land-use zoning or even if they do so, it is only the degree of commercial use permissible based on the access street width. With the variety of existing streets widths that formulate the networked system of streets in Indian cities, informal sector activities are seen to congregate around transit nodes; along wider arterial streets and near destinations. In a TOD, zoning is necessary for bringing out the desired urban pattern and form. But rather than a rigid master (land-use) plan that is restrictive, it is required to make strategic plans for mix-use that are responsive to market needs while also ensuring environmental sustainability and social equity. TOD Standards by ITDP (indicated in the Box 12) gives an example of indicators for mix-use that are strategic than restrictive.

As most Indian cities either do not have formal zoning plans or cannot regulate their notified zoning, quantifying the exact mix of existing uses is impossible. It is but known that street vendors - only a part of the informal sector that does not account for those involved in small-scale and home industries and flatted factories - is estimated to be around 250,000 in Mumbai, 150,000 in Kolkata and 80,000 in other smaller Tier 1 cities like Ahmedabad and Patna (Bhowmik). Formal zoning in Indian cities in most cases segregates land-uses with little flexibility in the master plan. Mix-use in TOD need not be always be formalised, but the absence of estimates of informal mix-use affects the calculations of infrastructure requirement; capacity of transportation modes and footfall in the area which further causes congestion, pollution and exclusion. It also affects financial sustainability because little revenue is directly captured from un-notified mix-uses. While this is the case in cities where a mix of uses is practiced without zoning and formalisation for the same, complications of not having sufficient use diversity is felt where segregated land uses promulgated by single use master plans has been enforced. Such issues have been felt in Delhi after a sealing drive was carried by the Delhi Municipal Corporation in 2006. Following a directive from the Delhi High Court ordering the sealing of establishments using residential premises for commercial purposes, the notified zoning of the Master Plan was enforced. This has had severe effects on increasing trip lengths that one needs to undertake in Delhi not just for jobs but also for daily shopping needs.

Although at present, most of the Indian cities have diverse uses due to non-regulation or lack of a zoning plan, in time, planning mechanisms would gradually be established to both notify and regulate zoning. Also, there is much more need to plan for a “good mix” with supporting infrastructure at locations accessible using transit modes, by walking and by non-motorised transport in TODs. In the interest of maintaining livability of cities with small trip lengths especially for everyday destinations, the thinking behind policy documents would need to consider how to include diversity - both formal and informal - in TODs to avoid the negative connotations of single-use zoning when they are enforced by the city planning and development authorities. It is necessary to understand interactions of diversity with other components such as density, design, non-motorised transport infrastructure, parking and public transportation improvements, to identify its most relevant indicators. As Smart Cities of India look forward to engage in TODs, it is imperative to build on existing policies, practices and research and develop context-specific guidelines for mix-use, compact areas that promote diversity in all sense, which include diversity of land-use, activity, income groups, and lifestyles.

Box 11

Indian cities have vibrant streets with diverse land uses that can be experienced only through walk; but parking and vehicular movement cause congestion in these streets. The photographs of a street in India, South America and Macedonia show the pedestrian movement in mixed-use streets in these cities.

Box 12: An Example for Diversity indicators for TOD

The TOD Standard 2.1”by ITDP published in 2014 identifies indicators for assessment,recognition and policy guidance tool uniquely focused on integrating sustainabletransport and land-use planning and design.(of land-use) is principle 5 of the toolkit of a total of 8 principles (ITDP). Three indicators are identified under twocategories in. These are-
A. Trip lengths are reduced by providing diverse and complementary uses.
5.1 Complementary Uses: Residential and nonresidential uses combined within same or adjacent blocks.
5.2 Accessibility to Food: Percentage of buildings that are within 500 meters radius of an existing, or planned, source of fresh food
B. Lower income groups have short commutes.
5.3 Affordable Housing: Percentage of residential units provided as affordable housing.

Urban density and diversity must go hand-in-hand in order to meet the TOD goals- to reduce car use, to use land resource efficiently, to foster growth, and to create livable communities. While density and diversity trigger activities and invite people in the TOD, it is design that motivates people to visit and use such areas. Carefully drawn urban design of built environment gives form, shape and character to the group of buildings, neighbourhoods and cities. TOD projects depend on good urban design to coordinate transportation modes, to manage urban densities and mixed land-uses, and to create appealing public spaces. Urban design and its roles are further explored in the section ahead.

Urban Design

Transit Oriented Development is not merely the presence of transit in proximity of areas with high density and diversity; it is a move towards reduced dependence on cars and an improved quality of life which eventually leads to an increase in the value of real estate. Urban design is the component that ties all the different components of a TOD together in this process and gives character to the neighbourhood. It works at different scales of the urban fabric and impacts the human experience.

Design of the urban fabric in a TOD is a key attribute for ensuring quality of space and life for its occupants. It is vital in establishing connections between people and places, movement and urban form, nature and the built fabric. Its goal within a TOD is to help check sprawl, promote higher density, integrate public transit with land-use, infrastructure and development and to reduce reliance on independent (private) vehicles.

Additional goals that need to be addressed through design for a successful TOD include:

  • Create qualitative improvements in urban environments
  • Create efficient land-use in a larger geographic area
  • Promote economic development, creation of jobs and housing with mobility efficiencies
  • Reduce emissions through modal shift from private vehicles to shared mass transit
  • Encourage resource efficiencies in development
  • Leverage expansion of scale and expand choices in development and different modes of transportation
  • Provide value addition and city form benefits

Urban Design forms a framework for arrangement of built and open spaces, transport systems, services and amenities. The objective of design in a TOD is primarily to integrate mass public transportation with development to catalyse community building and investment to 'value capture' benefits. This integration will help build relationships between independent areas in a larger geographic zone through a built form that supports infrastructure and service development. Another objective is to promote connections between jobs, housing, cultural and social amenities within the TOD to sustain development. Optimising mix of uses will aid in cutting down on travel time and reduce the use of private vehicles. In addition, resource efficiencies can be achieved by articulating density to create compact and efficient patterns of city form and infrastructure, creating qualitative improvements to the urban space.

Successful pattern of a TOD promotes mixed uses, higher densities, strong pedestrian connectivity, reliable alternatives for transportation over motor vehicles and an urban design and landscape that integrates it all (NHHS Rail).

Some components of design in context of a TOD include Scale, Density and Diversity, Built space (Urban Form and Massing), Open Space (public spaces, green cover etc.) and Access/Mobility spaces (Transit Corridors, such as roads, highways, BRT). In addition urban design should also factor in engagement with public and stakeholders, programming (activities, events and uses), maintenance requirements and future growth of the area under consideration.

These design components in a TOD focus on the following:

  1. People (users)
  2. Resource frameworks (finance, land, regulatory framework, process)
  3. Movement corridors (transportation corridors, access, mobility)
  4. Infrastructure frameworks (service delivery)
  5. Adjacent built form and open space patterns (urban fabric)

For qualitative improvements in a TOD, a set of values and approaches have been identified by drawing upon the relationship between these components of urban design and their key areas of focus.

Scale of the urban form in TOD refers to the size of the built and open spaces, and further transportation systems and services required with respect to the user. Scale and enclosure is influenced by the relationship between size and articulation of the built form and the open spaces around it, including adjacent streets. It is important to create design in conformance to the human dimension as its perception influences the user experience and has an impact on the attractiveness of the urban space. Scales of activity and integration should be recognised. It can be considered at the level of a city, movement corridor or neighbourhood.

Density and Diversity are important factors that can help create an active and safe public realm. They are both important in sustaining local businesses and encouraging people to walk for short trips and use public transit. Inclusive design that accommodates people from different socio-economic groups, gender, age groups and abilities helps bring vibrancy and safety to a public place. Higher density and diversity can also improve resource efficiency, promote use of public spaces and accessibility in general. A mix of land-uses and diversity in sizes of building footprints and façades along with a mix of users is an important factor in creating a balanced development and defining the identity and character of an area. In addition, optimal road densities, infrastructure and amenities are aspects that need to be considered.

When designing for density and diversity it is also important to consider street vendors and the informal sector as they are an important group of people who are part of the public realm in India. Street vendors not only play a vital role in the urban economy - 17.7% of urban employment is street vending as per 2011-12 numbers (Chen, 2014) - as a source of jobs and revenue for people they also provide affordable goods and services for many urban residents at convenient locations. Additionally, they also create a vibrant city environment and contribute towards keeping spaces safe by providing "eyes on the street". However, street vendors face several challenges due to lack of space (eg: surfaced pavements and secure vending sites) and lack of facilities (eg: shelter, street drainage, water and toilets, or storage). This needs to be addressed by creating room for street vendors and the informal sector at appropriate locations to minimise conflicts with pedestrians, bicycles, moving vehicles and parking.

Built Form (Urban Form and Massing)

Urban form is defined as the physical characteristics that make up built-up areas, including the shape, size, density and configuration of the built form. Massing refers to the articulation of a building's physical form and gives the building envelope. Usually this envelope is limited to the maximum built volume allowed by the building code (based on the allowable FAR and ground coverage). The relationship between buildings and surrounding streets is important for encouraging pedestrian activity as buildings oriented towards surrounding streets and public open spaces allow for interaction between occupants and passersby. Building heights also have a significant relation to the width of adjacent streets, as it influences a user's perception of the space. (Street width in this case includes both street right-of-way and any required setbacks).

The built form has several characteristics that can be articulated to create a vibrant urban environment and can be leveraged to create compact neighbourhoods with higher densities and diverse land-use. Some of the values and approaches that can help achieve this are:

  • Promotion of mix of land-uses and diversity at different scales
  • Recognition of scales of activity and integration - including qualitative characteristics of mix and context of location
  • Supporting service infrastructure with the built form
  • Integration of transit corridors with adjacent development
  • Organisation of the built form in congruence with the intensity of development and in conformance to the land-uses
  • Minimise the footprint of transportation services and integrate them with development amenities
  • Building a sense of place by creating spaces in conformity with their surrounding context and encourage active uses that respond to change with time
  • Leverage diversity of land-use and place-making as a tool to attract and retain people and activity in order to provide safety through more "eyes on the street"
  • Design built form in conformance with the existing structures and in context to historic values of a given area
  • Keep the built form transparent and permeable at the lower level to built integration between the indoor and outdoor spaces and allow easy transition between the inside and outside. Maintain a continuous active building frontage to allow for interaction between occupants and passersby thus activating the surrounding streets and encouraging pedestrian activity.

Open Spaces

Open spaces are the 'un-built' spaces and are an important component of the urban fabric along with the built form and linkages. They are places of interaction and exchange among the residents and they also act as environmental resources which can help reduce of pollution, natural disasters and help conserve the local ecosystem. Designing for open spaces can be difficult as their use is often not very clearly defined. Still, they are very valuable in an urban setting, particularly when located strategically, and ensure once access, maintenance and activity are assured. Broadly open spaces can be classified as:

  1. Open lots and areas, such as parks, playgrounds, plazas, parking lots, liminal spaces between home and street, etc.
  2. Movement and Infrastructure Corridors, such as streets, pathways etc.

Based on ownership these spaces can be classified as public, private and privately owned public spaces.

Access, active and passive usage/functions, equipment/facilities, influence the success of an open space for a mix of age groups and gender diversity. These spaces can be managed with landscaping, programming, citizen consultation and engagement. Open spaces have a greater chance of success if they are easily accessible and area is designed in collaboration with the local communities. Some of the values and approaches that can help in the process are:

  • Plan spaces that are flexible and can be used for variety of uses and activities based on time
  • Easy access by locating open and public spaces within convenient walking distance of homes and offices.
  • Provide amenities and infrastructure that corresponds to the open space and its programming.
  • Engage with public/stakeholders in through safety audits, consultation meetings, etc. throughout the design and planning to create open spaces that fit in with the surrounding and serve the needs of the community. The Highline Park in Manhattan is a successful example of citizen engagement for revitalisation a public space in the city through design and programming.
  • Enable barrier free movement in the open and public spaces, providing universal access for all, including children, senior citizens and the disabled.
  • Use landscape as a tool to manage the micro-climate for increasing aesthetic appeal and functioning of the open space.
  • Parking is a necessary part of a functional urban environment and parking design and management is important to help ensure that parking facilities are well parking into their context. Well located parking allows the convenience of parking once within easy walking distance of destinations.
  • Use landscaping to protect pedestrians, bicycles and parked vehicles from the moving vehicles.


Access and Mobility are two parts of a complete trip. Access refers to the opportunity to approach a place or a transit system, while mobility refers to the ability to travel a distance to reach a place. Both of these should be easy, convenient, comfortable and safe. Movement across a city is particularly a challenge for individuals with special needs, children as well as the elderly. Implementing universally accessible design and enabling barrier free movement will ensure inclusion and equity in mobility for all.

Streets in the Indian context are used in many different ways and it is desirable to keep this diversity of use and users in mind while designing them. The following values and approaches can help improve access and mobility for a community:

  • Integrate transit oriented development within larger geographic area and with the city structure, offering alternative movement networks
  • Align transit corridor with the city structure/fabric to maximise access and reach of the transit system
  • Interface of the transit corridor with the surrounding areas, particularly at transit hubs to avoid congestion and inefficiencies
  • Leverage mix of land-uses to reduce firstly the need to travel and travel time
  • Induce efficiencies in corridor movement through management of lane width, lane alignment, densities of roads and provision of alternative routes/paths
  • Enlist traffic calming measures to reduce speed of moving vehicles and minimise conflicts to improve safety of pedestrians, bicycles, street vendors and automobiles
  • Build greenways that allow movement through the city for bicycles and pedestrians and further provide connectivity to transit stations

In addition, urban design dimensions of a TOD should also consider managing the design character of an area or development over short and the long term time span. Urban design should allow for flexibility to allow for change over time. Engagement with the public and different stakeholders during the design process is important. Process of design should also include an understanding of budgeting for maintenance and the necessary steps for establishing financial sustainability for ensuring long term success.

The components of design in a TOD and their areas of focus discussed at the beginning of this section are all interrelated. The myriad conditions of the different components and their combinations result in different scenarios within these five areas of focus. Management of resource frameworks, configuration of movement corridors, infrastructure framework and the juxtaposition of built and open spaces need an integrated approach. This will lead to the creation an urban open space with a sense of place that is integrated with its surroundings. Such a space will be inclusive and will promote a vibrant and active lifestyle for all its users.

Good urban design can support appropriate density and good mix of uses, and coordinate transportation types; thereby connect places and create appealing, vibrant and liveable areas. In a TOD, high urban densities, diversity with mix of activities and good urban design should support housing for all sections of population. Housing is the highest household cost. Increase in land prices, rents, service charges, taxes and cost of living in the TODs makes affordable housing even more important in the context that it is the urban poor and the marginalised who are often pushed to city’s periphery or forlorn areas depriving them of sharing in the potential benefits of TOD and the increased access to jobs and amenities. The discourse on housing in TOD is delivered in the next section.


Investment in transit infrastructure and services tends to have a positive impact on the economic potential and the real estate value of adjacent land. Consequently, households of economically weaker sections residing in the area might be pushed out by the increasing prices of land to locations poorly connected by public transit. This can deprive them from access to jobs, services and from their share in the potential benefits of TOD such as improved infrastructure and quality of living.

Defining Affordable Housing

Globally, there are multiple definitions for affordable housing. One of the most commonly accepted definitions considers affordability as a measure of expenditure on housing to income of the household. This is also adopted by the Indian Government, which defines affordable housing as “any housing that meets some form of affordability standard, which could be income level of the family, size of the dwelling unit or affordability in terms of EMI or ratio of house price to annual income” (High Level Task Force on Affordable Housing for All, December 2008). The Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (MoHUPA) in its 2011 report takes into account both income and size to define the concept (Table 6). Whereas, Government of Gujarat in its Affordable Housing Policy uses cost per dwelling unit to define affordability (MMGY).

The standard cost of an EWS house as shown in the table show that a beneficiary earning between Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 25,000 per month is required to spend at least 30 to 40% of their income in about 6 to 7 years to own a house. The cost increases with the increase in carpet area of the unit, which means families with limited income are limited in the size of their dwelling. For example, a standard MIG dwelling unit costs about Rs. 15,00,000 to Rs. 22,00,000, which means it can be affordable only for individuals earning more than Rs. 60,000-80,000 per month. Thus, an increase in property value might limit the ability of lower income households to buy housing closer to transit, pushing them to peri-urban and transit inaccessible areas in the city. The distance between housing and workplace can cause them to lose employment or spend extra time and money on transportation. Thus, it is essential that residential developments in and around TOD cater to multiple income groups including the urban poor.

The task force assigned by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (MoHUPA) has estimated a housing shortage of 18.7 million in the 12th five-year plan. Out of this, 90% of the shortage is in the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) and Lower Income Group (LIG) category (TG-12, 2012-17). The MoHUPA is working on a new Rental Housing Policy, which will focus on the sections of the population unable to own a house in the current structure of income groups. Keeping the track of incomes, it is required to work out models that will help create affordable housing with improved access to work through public transit, walking and bicycling for all incomes.

Affordable Housing Mechanism in India

Affordable housing has a high priority in national and international urban development agendas. With housing recognised as a basic need, governments at all scales are trying to provide access to housing for their citizens. In India the mechanism to attain the affordable housing functions in two ways: provision of affordable housing by private sector through independent market-based development; and provision by public sector through government intervention.

Private Sector Involvement

Though affordable housing has always been a priority of state and central governments, in recent decades the private sector has also taken up the task of building houses for lower and middle-income segments. There are several factors that have drawn private sector investments to this sector, such as easy availability of land in the suburban areas along with infrastructural connectivity and availability of facilitating and financing agencies such as the National Housing Bank, international developmental organisations, micro finance institutions etc. Since 2009, real estate developers have launched projects across Indian cities in locations that are away from the core central business/secondary business districts where land is easily acquirable and prices are affordable. Such targeted growth is seen in many projects such as Karjat, Palghar and Boisar in Mumbai, Narol and Vatwa in Ahmedabad, and Anekal in Bangalore. Some of the prominent developers involved include Tata Housing (Shubh Griha), VBHC, Foliage, DBS Affordable Home, Nirman Group, HDIL, TVS Housing, S. Raheja, Mahindra Lifespaces and Usha Breco Realty (Monitor, 2013). Typically, the projects are located 20 to 25 km away from the city centre. While such projects are characterised by limited options, these residential areas soon trigger a boom in the surrounding real estate market and often result in the escalation of the cost that encourages the purchase of houses as an investment rather than for occupation.

Public Sector Intervention

In India, affordable housing is a term largely used in the urban context. At the national level, rural housing sector falls under the purview of the Ministry of Rural Development, while housing and human settlements in urban areas fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation. The latter has spearheaded affordable housing as a concept and policy. The National Urban Housing & Habitat Policy (NUHHP 2007), along with the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM 2005), Basic Services for the Urban Poor (BSUP), Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), provide the policy framework for affordable housing in India. The NUHHP 2007 lists a number of objectives that include urban planning, land availability, special provisions for women, public-private partnerships, management information systems and so on (High Level Task Force on Affordable Housing for All, 2008). In terms of affordable housing, its aim is to:

  • Accelerate the pace of housing construction and development of related infrastructure
  • Create adequate rented and owner-occupied housing stock while improving affordability through capital or interest subsidies
  • Use technology to modernise the housing sector for energy and cost efficiency, productivity and quality, green and intelligent building, and mitigate disaster impacts

In 2005, JnNURM was launched with the objective of encouraging and expediting urban reforms, and construction of 1.5 million houses for the urban poor in 65 mission cities between 2005 and 2012 was included within its ambit. The BSUP is managed by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and seeks to provide seven entitlements that include security of tenure, affordable housing, water, sanitation, health, education and social security to low income segments in 65 mission cities. The Integrated Housing for Slum Development Plan (IHSDP) covers the cities/towns that are not covered by BSUP, and conceives of an 80:20 fund sharing ratio between the national and state governments/urban local bodies (ULBs)/beneficiaries.

In 2013, MoHUPA introduced their flagship programme- Rajiv Awas Yojana, which sanctioned to develop more than 1.9 lakh housing units in just 2 years of launch. However, because of the estimated housing shortage, a new mission was launched in June 2015 called Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), Housing for All by 2022. The mission aims to provide 2 crore houses by the year 2022, building 30 lakh houses every year. Till date, the government has sanctioned about 5 lakh houses over a period of 1 year. The State of Maharashtra and Gujarat have created a dedicated department and mission respectively, in Slum Redevelopment Authority in Mumbai and Affordable Housing Mission in Gujarat. These departments are primarily working for the progress of affordable housing in the state and helping cities to implement the government sponsored schemes.

Affordability Challenges

Affordability is a function of both housing and transport costs; housing in the urban periphery is cheaper but requires residents to pay high commuting costs to travel into the city for employment. On the other hand, living in established areas of the city with good access to subsidised public transport is unaffordable for many given the high price of property in these neighbourhoods. To reduce the overall cost of living, cities should work to provide housing in areas connected with transit.

Affordability of neighbourhood affect:

  • The change in the pace of development in a neighbourhood before and after transit improvements
  • The change in household incomes, which can indicate whether the intended resident income mix has been preserved or eroded
  • Modifications to the housing stock: the division of single household plots into multi-family divisions can indicate the acceptance of smaller dwelling units and increase in the demand for housing
  • Commercialisation of residential units, thereby reducing housing stock

Affordable Housing: Critical Issues and Potential for TOD

One of the biggest challenge in urban India is to develop affordable housing on a large scale, promising a solution to the creation of slums; unorganised real estate development and unplanned growth. Towards this, it is essential that certain critical issues are prioritised to make affordable housing a possibility in a TOD. On the demand side, these issues include identification of the right clientele, increasing outreach through micro mortgage financing mechanisms and self-help groups (SHG's) and flexible repaying mechanisms for loans to cater to variable income flows. On the supply side, incentivising through policy (extra FSI, free sale areas etc.); developing schemes for slum redevelopment and rehabilitation; ensuring adequate availability of land; streamlining of land records; supporting inclusion of mass housing zones in comprehensive development plans (CDPs); encouraging private participation and partnership; and expanding single window clearance for smaller projects on the lines of large township projects are necessary.

Box 13: Urban Villages: An Opportunity

The urban villages are typically characterised by a mix of land-uses and generally have a compact built form, narrow circulation space and low-rise high-density developments. These mainly accommodate residential, commercial and industrial uses and function as a mix (Master Plan- 2021, Delhi Development Authority, 2009). Such villages are vital for providing temporary tenant by small modifications in their character and incentivising landowner with increased FSI, if they occur in influence zone of specialised development such as TOD. These villages even have a large potential to provide rental housing options, dormitories and other small dwelling units.

The authorities (Central, State and ULB's) have a special responsibility to enable development of affordable housing. This may not necessarily be through subsidies, it can also include fast-tracking approval processes, demystifying land laws, deconstructing the financing and land assembling processes,
and the introduction of innovative mechanisms such as earmarking areas for development, encouraging public-private partnerships, and rethinking floor space index (FSI) limits (Venkataraman. M, 2015). Affordable housing thus calls for collaborative, multi pronged and concerted effort from all stakeholders and governing authorities.


Affordability: Housing and Transportation

The affordability of housing and transportation for the urban poor dictates the savings for the basic needs (education, health, recreation and savings). More than 35% expenditure on housing (including rents or mortgages, property taxes, insurance and basic utilities) and 20% on transport, or less than 45% on housing and transport combined is considered as affordable in an urban area (Litman, 2015). Peter Calthorpe said, “Affordable housing must start with affordable neighbourhoods" (Calthorpe, 1995). In the United States, transportation is second only to housing as a household cost, with the average family spending about 32% of their income on housing and 19% on transportation. More importantly, extremely low-income households often spend over 50% of their family income on transportation and often depend on unreliable modes. Many move to suburban locations to save on housing costs, but anything they save is quickly lost as transportation costs. However, for those who live in locations easily accessible by transportation, this cost can be as low as 9% (TOD & Development).

The Center for Neighbourhood Technology (CNT), Chicago developed a Housing and Transportation Affordability Index (H+T) to assess the affordability of neighbourhoods in the United States. The index value in 917 neighbourhoods demonstrated that while considering housing costs alone, 55% of neighbourhoods were affordable for American families, but when transportation costs were included, only 26% of neighbourhoods were affordable.

Thus, balancing the housing and transportation costs is essential while strategising transportation investments under TOD; an efficient TOD investment will lead to minimisation of H+T costs for majority of households in the neighbourhood or city, depending on the scale of the investment. In Mumbai, where the median monthly household income is Rs. 20,000 (Annez, Bertaud, Patel, & Phatak, 2010), housing and transportation costs are highly unaffordable for the poorer sections. The data below illustrates this.

  • The average one-way commute distance to work for households earning above Rs. 20,000 per month is 7.4 km. (Baker, Basu, Cropper, Lall, & Takeuchi, September 2005) This equals to two times the one-way commute distance for households earning less than Rs. 5000 per month.
  • The main mode of choice also differs with income levels. Motorised public transport (buses) or motorised private transport (two wheelers and cars) is commonly used by households earning more than Rs. 20000 per month. On the contrary, the poor earning less than Rs. 5000 per month prefer walking followed by buses. This indicates differences in the quality and convenience of transport.
  • A larger percentage (46%) of the poor households (earning less than Rs. 5000 per month) live more than 20 minutes away from the nearest train station than the wealthier households (39%) (earning more than Rs. 20000 per month).
  • Overall, the poorest households spend about 15% of their income on transportation costs as compared to 10% for other households. The affordability (or lack of it) for the poorest also affects their ability to make trips for non-work purposes, especially healthcare and education.
  • Home affordability is defined as 30% of the gross monthly income towards EMI or rent (Parekh, et al., December 2008). The affordable ratio for home ownership prices is 4 times the annual gross income (Parekh, et al., December 2008).
  • At the current prevailing official rates, a median income household will spend 12 years of annual income to own a home in Mumbai (Praja, 2014). On a monthly basis, the household will have to pay EMI for 36 years. Such long terms loans are currently unavailable, making the ownership a challenge, unless the EMI portion is increased to 54-60% of the household income for the conventional 20-year loan offered in the Indian home loan markets.
  • The total transportation and housing costs for the economically weaker sections will therefore range anywhere from 50% to 70% of their household incomes. This acts as a perverse incentive for expansion of slums to the peripheries of the city (the northern, eastern and western suburbs).
  • Andheri (11 times the annual income) and Ghatkopar (14 times the annual income), the two ends of the recent Metro I corridor typify these increased housing costs (Praja, 2014).

In the case of Delhi, the authorities are unable to accommodate the continuous influx of new residents with varying income levels. This makes affordability considerations related to TOD particularly important. The 2011 national census estimated Delhi’s population at 16.7 million. According to Centre for Policy Research (CPR), report on categorisation on settlement in Delhi, only 23.7% of the city’s population live in planned communities, while 39.2% of the population live in unplanned and illegal communities. The rest 37.1% of the population reside in regularised but unauthorised colonies (these settlements are not authorised in the master plan but are allowed to exist; they mostly do not have any service delivery infrastructure as they are not part of the statutory document), which is indicating an affordability barrier to formal housing within Delhi. 

To mitigate this, Delhi’s 2021 Master Plan explicitly indicates the provision of housing for residents of varying incomes as an important aspect of planned development. The issue of housing affordability in the decade-old rapid transit (Metro) corridors is also highlighted in the Delhi Development Authority’s TOD policy (draft) released in 2012 and approved in July 2015. The effectiveness of TOD depends heavily on the connection between land-use and transport planning. Strengthening their symbiotic link through equitable policies regarding the affordability of living and commuting is necessary for a modal shift to occur, especially in a city like Delhi, which covers 1483 sq. km.

The Draft TOD policy proposed a pilot project in east Delhi’s Karkardooma station. This development will have a 120-storey commercial tower, 4800 new homes, 80,000 sq. m of retail space and a 5-acre community park. The housing units will be in form of mixed development, wherein the unit sizes ranges between 25 sq. m to 40 sq. m. The draft policy targets to reserve a percentage (15%) of the FAR from all TOD projects for affordable housing. As per the draft policy, rental units within the reserved FAR should not be larger than 25 sq.m. Also, out of 15%, 5% is kept aside for other categories which include studio type blocks, units with shared kitchen & toilets, dormitories and hostels. These provisions were changed in the final TOD policy for Delhi.

Incentives for Affordable Housing within TODs: Study of Global Policies

Transit Oriented Development in cities with a high proportion of EWS and LIG residents should address the conundrum of housing and transportation by offering incentives and/or mandating provision of affordable housing within TODs. Global examples of TOD projects have seen trends from gradual gentrification to wide scale displacements. City governments have adopted a mixture of policy tools to address these issues. Some of them are discussed below (Pollack, Bluestone, & Billingham, 2010).

  • Transit-Oriented Development Acquisition Funds for Land Banking

Denver, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and an increasing number of cities in the US are establishing revolving loan funds to finance land acquisition for affordable housing development near transit lines. The funds are either raised through “Linkage Fees”- fees charged to developers in a TOD project or through grants from commercial lenders, investment funds and foundations. These funds for transit-oriented development are used proactively either to acquire land parcels near transit for future affordable housing developments or to preserve existing affordable housing units that may be lost due to price appreciation after transit investments. An example of this mechanism can be seen in San Francisco where the Bay Area Transit-Oriented Affordable Housing Fund (Bay Area TOD) of $50 million provides financing to purchase or improve available property near transit lines.

  • Inclusionary Zoning for Affordable Housing

Inclusionary zoning is a regulation-based tool mandating a certain minimum percentage of affordable housing units to be built within a TOD. In cases where a mandatory provision of affordable housing units within a TOD is restrictive for the private developers, in-lieu fees are charged for off-site development. The off-site development is still restricted to an accessible area (1/2 mile) from a transit station with the provision of feeder services to the transit line. FAR/FSI bonuses are also sometimes given for exceeding the mandated minimum proportion of affordable housing. Montgomery County in Maryland has the Moderately Priced Dwelling Unit Ordinance that requires all mixed-use projects with 20 or more residential units to have 12 to 15% affordable units for low-income housing in exchange for a 22% FAR/density bonus. Delhi’s Masterplan 2021 has recognised the need for affordable housing units within TOD development norms (UTTIPEC, 2015). While necessitating high built-up densities (200 to 800 dwelling units per hectare depending on the FSI), the norms also require minimum 15% of built up area to be allocated for rental and/or ownership housing provided unit sizes are no larger than 25 sq.m. Delhi's draft TOD policy also required an additional 15% to be allocated to unit sizes 40 sq.m or less. Further, housing for low-income families, government employees, single working people, youth hostels, night shelters and serviced apartments for young professionals has been listed as desirable uses for evaluation of TOD proposals.

  • Value Capture Through Tax Increment Financing

Most municipal governments in the US use Tax Increment Financing (TIF) ( as a tool for funding targeted investments for neighbourhood revitalisation through transit. The tool establishes a base property tax collection before improvements and then captures the increased part of the revenue (due to improvements) for subsidising transit improvements, housing or other infrastructure expansion. The state of Utah requires municipalities that generate $100,000 of annual tax increment to set aside minimum 20% of the increased revenues for affordable housing construction and retention within the TIF district ( Similarly, Sacramento used TIF funds to purchase 116 formerly private buildings in south Sacramento and redeveloped them into 1, 2, 3, 4 bedroom rental apartments for low-income families and seniors (

Box 14: Supporting Schemes on Housing Development in India

Development along transit corridors are very much dependent on the nature of cities and their economic activities. Any kinds of expansion or development will always attract migrant and ocall workforce in secondary and tertiary sectors. Both the categories will only move if they have basic services in the transit zone. The basic parameter is to provide shelters for all, whether migrants or local. The government is continuously trying to provide housing for all the citizens of the country. For the same, the Government of India has initiated various schemes, which support the State government and local bodies to accomplish the housing shortage issues. Recent schemes of Government of India in affordable housing are:

  1. Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY): The "Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Housing for All" mission was formally launched on 25 June 2015. It will be implemented during 2015-2022 and will provide central assistance to Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) and other implementing agencies through States/UTs under four verticals: a). In-Situ slum rehabilitation of slum dwellers with the participation of private developers using land as a resource; b). Promotion of affordable housing for economically weaker sections through credit linked subsidy; c). Affordable housing in partnership with public & private sectors and; d). Subsidy for beneficiary-led individual house construction. The schemes covered all statutory towns as per Census 2011 and towns notified subsequently will be eligible under the mission. Note: States/UTs will have the flexibility to include in the mission the planning area as notified in the respective statutory document. The brief of the policy is given in Annexure (1. A)
  2. National Rental Housing Policy: The National Urban Rental Housing Policy (NURHP), 2015 promote sustainable development of rental housing stock in the country with a view to ensure equitable supply to all sections of society. It also focuses on a multipronged approach such as enabling legal and regulatory measures; encouraging involvement of private sector, cooperative, non-governmental organisations, industrial sector (for labour housing) and the services/institutional sector (for employee housing) to promote rental housing. The Policy promotes various types of public-private partnerships for the promotion of rental housing in the country, which will act as a catalytic force to achieve the overall goal of Housing for All by 2022. Models of rental housing include: a). Rental housing for the prospective migrants/homeless; b). Rent to own scheme; c). Converting slums on ULB land to rental housing. The key outcome of this proposition is the security of tenure for vulnerable slum households. Security of tenure, even if for a limited time, allows households to invest in their housing units and reap gains in health, education, and income. The other critical outcome of this proposition is significant revenue for the ULB. This model could generate between 15 and 25% of the ULBs’ revenue. The brief of the policy is given in Annexure (1. B)
  3. National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM): The National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM) is prepared keeping in mind the aim to provide shelter equipped with essential services in phased manner to urban poor including urban homeless. The Mission was launched in 2013 by restructuring the Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojana (SJSRY) in all district headquarters (irrespective of their population) and in all cities with a population of 1 one lakh or more. The scheme is further divided into seven major components: a) Social Mobilisation and Institution Development (SM&ID); b) Employment through Skills Training and Placement (EST&P) c) Self-Employment Programme (SEP); d) Capacity Building and Training (CB&T); e) Support to Urban Street Vendors; f) Shelter to Urban Homeless (SUH) and; g) Innovative and Special Projects. This scheme is anticipated to bring down the vulnerability of the urban poor, especially the urban homeless and provide a better living condition with a possibility of security of tenure in the long run. The impact of this scheme can be measured at the city level and the direct beneficiaries are majorly the below poverty line segment and the urban homeless. The brief of the policy is given in Annexure (1. C)
  • Incentivising PPP for TOD Investment

Additional incentives in TODs will also help to bring about a paradigm shift in the mindsets of private players to invest more on TOD rather than other locations within the cities. Governments are advocating to adopt more inclusive policies which will attract the attention of private player investment either as an individual or in joint ventures (JV). An example of this is the Private Sector Involvement (PSI) initiative for the delivery of public services and infrastructure in Hong Kong, which has brought a significant shift in their development and economic transformation.

To summarise, urban policy for TOD has increasingly recognised the inevitable struggle between transit improvements and the increase in housing costs. According to the Centre for Transit Oriented Development, the demand for housing near transit will nearly triple in the next twenty years, an estimate that could easily change with increasing prices and commute times. Moreover, population groups such as singles, couples without children, the elderly, and low-income households are likely to seek housing in l. Inocations close to public transit in TODs. Indian cities such as Delhi and Mumbai that are particularly struggling with a large shortage of affordable housing, need to address it through mechanisms such modifications in DCRs and robust TOD policies. Financing and legislative mechanisms for incentivising affordable housing within TOD can minimise the disruption, manage the risk of gentrification and leverage the project for addressing the housing problem.

Higher density, diversity and good urban design together with sufficeint housing in relation to jobs encourage walking, cycling and use of public transportation; but only with corresponding infrastructure and supporting policies. To push people away from the use of private vehicles and to pull them to use public transportation and non -motorised modes, mobility with all its aspects - effective parking management, improvement in public transportation, and provisions for NMT and pedestrian movement becomes necessary in a TOD; as illustrated in the next section.


As described in the first chapter, the Indian urbanisation story has been driven by expansion of tier I cities into mega regions due to peri-urban growth and new satellite towns; increase in the number of tier II cities and census towns and in the growth of private automobile ownership (two wheelers and four wheelers). This has resulted in job commutes over longer distances and slower speeds resulting in lost productivity, deteriorating air quality and rising public health concerns in Indian cities. In contrastz, the importance of efficiency, quality and affordability as principles in mobility planning and tries in the European region and North America. 

The relevance of Transit Oriented Development (TOD) in addressing the mobility issue in Indian cities stems from its underlying core principles of compact cities; housing and mixed use (shorter commutes); and urban design and place-making (pleasant urban experiences while commuting). The final piece in this jigsaw is the actual commute or "mobility". By enabling travel for people/communities who would otherwise not, because of transportation disadvantages (spatial, economic or social constraints), the benefits of mobility can be accrued for the specific community and then scaled to the city. It is therefore, critical to understand the current mobility scenario in India and the relevance of public transit and TOD to address some of the problems.

Indian Mobility Scenario

The socioeconomic composition of Indian cities indicates a latent demand for mobility; low median household incomes and a young average age of an Indian urban resident makes the need for mobility important, especially for access to jobs (American Public Transportation Association).

The Indian mobility demand has been hitherto been met by over-reliance on personal vehicles. The Indian cities have doubled the total number of personal vehicles (cars and two-wheelers) in a span of a decade, compared to the previous five decades post independence (46 million in 1951-2001, 52 million in 2001-2009). As seen in the first chapter, this has come at the cost of declining public transport shares, especially in cities having a population of more than 0.8 million. Despite the declining shares of public transport, the existing modal share of private vehicles (cars and two-wheelers) for mobility ranges from 5% to 36% in the top 53 Indian cities. Thus reliance on public and non-motorised (walking and bicycling) modes of transportation for mobility far outweighs other choices in Indian cities. Moreover, the dominance of short and medium distance trips (0-10 km) in all trips made by private vehicles indicate the possibility of moving these trips to sustainable low carbon alternatives of public and non-motorised transport. The strategic approach to wean away urban residents from private transport as their mobility option in Indian cities would rely on solving two main issues:

  1. Availability of NMT and pedestrian network for shorter trips.
  2. For longer trips-
  1. Ease of access to the public transportation service (first and last mile connectivity), again related to NMT and pedestrian networks and feeder services in core city areas and additionally park and ride in suburban areas
  2. Quality of public transportation modes (fleet size, frequency, ease of ticketing etc.)
  3. Barriers to the speed of public transportation (congestion on the road and parking management)

Solving these issues in overall mobility planning has helped cities worldwide in reversing automobile ownership and shifting the commuting patterns in favor of sustainable public transportation. Following the guidelines under National Urban Transport Policy (NUTP) and with the support of previous missions (JnNURM) and current missions (for example, National Smart City Mission) Indian cities too have started gradually towards investing in public transportation, especially Metro and Bus Rapid Transit.

TOD and Sustainable Mobility

The fact that Peter Calthorpe coined the term "Transit Oriented Development" (after also considering the moniker Transit Supportive Development) underlines the original intention of the framework. Retaining (and in some cases increasing) the current demand in cities for public transportation and matching the supply of the public transportation fleet and operations to meet this demand is one of the key distinguishing factors of Transit Oriented Development. That the demand in Indian cities for improved public transportation is not met opens up an opportunity for TOD as a value capture tool that can be reinvested in improving public transportation. As previously discussed, land monetisation by investing in public transportation and using the revenues to continually improve the operations is the model adopted by all successful TOD implementations globally. Paris and Tokyo does it in its rail expansion, Portland does it through its Light Rail corridor and Curitiba does it through its Bus Rapid Transit. Back home, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation has demonstrated this through its station area development.

Box 15: Sustainable Mobility in Indian Lighthouse cities under the Smart City Mission

The Smart City Mission (described in detail in TOD potential in India) acknowledged the role of sustainable mobility, primarily through public transport for longer commuting and non-motorised transport for shorter trips and last mile connectivity. Creating walking communities, reducing the need for commuting, developing compact communities, investing in transit oriented developments and preserving and developing open spaces were ascribed as prescribed features of a smart city by the mission. Similarly, projects involving construction of highways, parking lots were left out of the National Smart City Mission and instead retained in AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation).

Preliminary analysis of the 20 lighthouse city proposals has endorsed this renewed emphasis on public transport and non-motorised commuting within the strategic planning process undertaken by the cities. Adoption of information and communication technology (ICT) to improve the efficiency, ease of use and reliability of public transportation operations also has emerged as a significant proposal by the cities. Some of the highlights regarding integrated mobility planning within the broader SCPs by the lighthouse cities are:

  • The total allocation towards solving mobility problems is $1.8 billion or 25% of the total proposed smart city expenditures ($7.2 billion) by the cities. This is doubling and significant change from the 11% allocation towards transportation made by the previous JnNURM mission.
  • While expressway (flyover) construction, bus rapid transit (BRT) and road improvements were the significant components in the previous mission, emerging global concepts of public bike sharing, ITS/ICT adoption, clean fuel technologies in fleet operation, non-motorised transport (NMT) augmentation, urban design and open spaces and even universal access are the new paradigms proposed by the lighthouse cities. Non-motorised transportation (bicycle and pedestrian) accounts for the biggest allocation of about $350 million followed by bus based systems at $200 million.
  • Solapur (56%), Ludhiana (51%), Pune (48%) and Devanagere (41%) are unique because of their higher allocations to mobility planning than compared with other lighthouse cities. Kochi has uniquely proposed ferry based transportation systems leveraging the city’s water network.

Out of the 20 lighthouse cities, 11 cities have proposed some form of transit oriented, mixed use and compact neighbourhood planning in their area based approaches. These neighbourhoods will have high densities to support the public transit infrastructure investments while including office centres, open spaces and priority to NMT.

In the same vein, any development around a highway corridor without a high capacity efficient public transportation mode to bear a high percentage of mode share, cannot be counted as a TOD. At the most, it can closely resemble some adoption of New Urbanism principles. Similarly just investing in public transportation will not count as TOD. The other factors defined before and after this section are the enablers to drive up the public transportation ridership and hence need to be concurrently addressed while establishing TODs. Public transportation is also the element that helps TOD adoptions scale across various typologies; from node to corridor to city and finally the region. Cities have used, very successfully, a TOD strategy to:

  • Guide development along corridors and;
  • Raise revenues to solve other issues of housing, urban infrastructure beyond the stated mandate of solving jobs-housing connectivity problem.

Given this importance, it is natural that planning a sustainable and efficient alternative to private transportation is a guiding principle within any TOD. The next sections look at the three main enabling factors to achieving this:

  • Parking Management- since incentives for parking act directly against willingness to public transportation and on-street space for parking reduces the space for movement of public transportation vehicles.
  • Public Transportation- since the overall quality of the public transportation (network, frequency, pricing, operations and maintenance of the fleet) affect the appeal of public transportation modes and thereby influence the investments made in continually improving the network. Given that about 20 cities are implementing Metro systems and remaining cities and towns of urban India rely on bus-based transportation, public transportation modes needs to be strengthened on an ongoing basis to achieve inclusion and sustainability.
  • Pedestrian and Non-Motorised Transport- since these modes can act as commuting modes for short trips and feeder modes to public transit for longer trips. The overall quality of these modes (urban design, connected, coherent and safe paths, sharing opportunities and parking for bicycling etc.) will affect the uptick in adoption of these modes for first and last mile connectivity in Indian cities.

Parking Management

Parking Management, especially around transit stations is a critical component of the mobility strategy for transit oriented development. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA), United States estimates that TOD costs and delays increase as structured parking requirements are incorporated within the TOD implementation (FTA, 2006). Cities started incorporating the need for parking spaces in new construction with the belief that this would alleviate the need for on-street parking. In India, these rules are formalised through the Development Control Regulations (DCRs) under the state region and town planning acts. While parking reform has to address both two wheelers and four wheelers, this current section will address four wheeler parking due to the higher space requirements for the four wheelers and the dominance of the parking provisions for them within the DCRs.

Car parking is an inefficient good for the following reasons:

    • The average parking space required for a car is about 150 to 300 sq. ft, this size can accommodate 10 bicycles or 5 motorcycles (Barter, 2010). This space can also alternately be used for increasing public space, accommodating street vendors, emergency vehicles routing or used for housing utilisation.
    • A car on average requires at least three parking spots in the city (home, workplace and recreation/shopping) though the latter two are transient needs.

  • The cost of building a parking spot ranges from $10,000 (Rs. 6,50,000) to $40,000 (Rs. 26,00,000) (Chatman & DiPetrillo, 2010). Irrespective of the comparable costs in India, not reflecting these in costs of city on-street parking can result in excessive demand for on-street parking and consequently congestion.

An overprovision of parking in TOD therefore, decreases land-use intensity around the TOD and possibly incentivises an increased automobile usage within the development and to the transit station. The number of parking spaces has to be matched reasonably to sustain the demand for residential space in the development, yet commercial and office space be excluded from the parking minimum norms.

Shared park and ride spaces (shared with residential spaces) need to be provided at logical nodes (start and end) in a corridor TOD to facilitate access to the transit else might result in reduced transit usage (Evans IV, Bhatt, & Turnbull, 2003). The role of parking is different within the city than in suburban communities. While it is a push strategy (reducing parking forces commuters to use transit) within the core city, the provision of parking around suburban transit stations (start and end of transit corridors) can attract people to park and use the transit mode to commute to the city (Evans IV, Bhatt, & Turnbull, 2003).

The rigid parking minimum standards in Development Control Regulations (DCRs) result in overprovision of off-site parking spaces, devoid of real-time demand pricing mechanisms.

The Development Control Regulations in most Indian cities mandate the provision of parking minimum standards for every residential, commercial and office space development in the core city and the suburbs. The strategy pursued in Indian cities rely on site based provision of parking rather than area management provision to parking (Reinventing Parking). For example, the DCRs for Mumbai mandates minimum parking space as 1 per 225 sq. ft in the island city and increasing to the north (suburbs). Parking to the extent of 125% of minimum parking spaces is also to be free of FSI calculations. Delhi’s parking regulations require minimum parking spaces depending on the type of development and the area where development will occur. The Gujarat DCR too relies on parking minimum but shows a more progressive approach to parking by not requiring any parking in the core city (walled city) and by including parking space within the total FSI consumed in the development.

Global Approaches to Parking

Globally, reform approaches to parking, especially in Transit Oriented Development have focused on the following ideas:

  • Remove Strict Parking Minimums

Lowering the parking minimums (zero minimums within 200-500 meters of transit stations); shifting to parking maximums and encouraging shared parking based on the usage and time of day (Evans IV, Bhatt, & Turnbull, 2003) are the major parking strategies used in TODs worldwide. Shared parking allows for a higher density of development and/or more space available for pedestrian circulation as a direct consequence of reduced parking space requirements in TOD (Evans IV, Bhatt, & Turnbull, 2003). For eg. at Canary Wharf in London, there are no parking minimum standards (except for persons with disabilities) and maximum of 1 space per 1100 sq. m of floor space (Reinventing Parking). Sao Paulo too recently has abolished parking minimums throughout the city.

  • Price Parking as a Scarce Good with Opportunity Costs

Pricing the parking to reflect the economic value of commercial rent in the TOD area is essential. The highest daily and monthly parking rates in the business district (CBD) are seen in London, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore and New York (Moore, 2011). Ironically Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore show the lowest parking rates (Moore, 2011). Paul Barter calculated the mismatch between the parking rates and the commercial Grade A office rental values and found that Indian cities fared poorly compared to other high transit usage regions (figure below). London, Hong Kong, Tokyo, New York, Seoul show a high match between the office rents and parking rents. Amsterdam charges much higher parking rates than the office rents. Singapore does not charge as highly for parking as other global cities but the congestion pricing (ERP) system in Singapore and expensive car ownership permits do make car ownership unviable. Alternatively, the opportunity costs of parking provision in Indian cities have to consider economic returns from providing those spaces for street vending and therefore, pricing has to reflect these returns.

  • Elimination of parking from CBD

Reduction or elimination of parking supply entirely from the commercial business district (CBD) is demonstrated as a successful strategy in successful TODs. This is especially important in Indian cities given the high car density on Indian roads; with no dedicated lanes for public transportation, on-street parking provision conflicts directly with public transportation (some estimates predict 20% of Indian street space used for parking). Curitiba has removed parking spaces from the city central area similar to Munich (Ziemann, 2006). The results have been mixed in American cities when one-for-one replacement parking was provided for the parking eliminated around transit stations (Evans IV, Bhatt, & Turnbull, 2003). 

It is evident that to achieve the objectives of increased transit usage and improved pedestrian experience, transit oriented development has to have a coherent parking management strategy different from the general DCRs mandated in Indian cities. Such a strategy should focus on increasing prices of on-street parking, reducing on-street and on-site parking spaces in the commercial areas and shifting from parking minimums to parking maximums. The provision of off-site parking spaces should occur through shared mechanisms - private operated structured parking lots.

Finally, parking reform management also should provide for structured parking around transit stations for sustainable feeder modes - rickshaws, bicycle and intermediate public transport (IPT).

Public Transportation

The public transportation network in a city and the resulting mobility choices influences the quality of life for its citizens. There exists sufficient global experience documented to show that higher quality public transportation helps to achieve sustainable mobility goals (TERI). This arises primarily due to the inherent advantages that public transportation accrues to the city:

• Efficiency in surface road utilisation by carrying more commuters as compared to private automobiles
• Reduction in fuel utilisation and emissions (most cities in India now have CNG operated buses)
• An affordable and inclusionary means of mobility for majority of the population

The quality and the overall penetration of public transportation network determines the scale and nature of TOD adoption within a city. The various scales (refer to typologies section) depend upon the mode and availability of a public transportation system. Hence any successful TOD is intrinsically related to the public transportation network within the city, whether BRT in Portland or rail in Tokyo. Without "Transit" there is no "TOD".

Box 16: Khyber Pass Metro Depot

Looking at Khyber Pass Metro Depot in Delhi and King’s Cross in London together, we can see a great difference in the investment made for cars. Both of them have a similar market rate - affordable housing ratio of about 65:35. But for Khyber Pass Metro Depot, the number of affordable houses is not decided on the basis of floor area ratio - it is decided on the basis of the number of units. It can be seen in the layout that the affordable housing has been constructed in a very small size.

While the number of car parking spaces at King’s Cross is about 0.43 for each housing unit, Khyber Pass Metro Depot has almost 4 cars parking spaces for each housing unit (Hiroaki Suzuki, 2015).

Further, these spots are only for the non-affordable housing units. This
can be seen by dividing 1500 car parking spaces by 507 housing units. This gives us 3.3 car parking spaces per housing unit, as described by the Suzuki (2015). Clearly, Khyber Pass Metro Depot development is making it easy for its residents to own and use cars.


The transit component of “Transit Oriented Development” for Indian cities (as will be seen through the various case studies) continues to focus on improvement/introduction of a specific mode of transit. Delhi’s Master Plan emphasises TOD around the Delhi Metro network while Ahmedabad relies on Janmarg, its BRT system as the principle transit mode for TOD densification. However, at a city level, there is a need to use specific TOD commitments to enhance the quality of provision of existing public transportation networks as feeder services to the new high capacity transit mode. This is especially important if a transit emphasis is laid on a regional/metropolitan level for commuting in a polycentric spatial urban pattern as has been increasingly observed in India. A city-wide focus on public transportation network can also act effectively as a growth management tool that incentivises higher density development around transportation networks without the need to use other options such as urban growth boundaries (UGB).

Density as an Enabler for Public Transportation in Indian Cities

High density is one of the enabling factors for providing accessibility and agglomeration benefits of transportation investments in a TOD. These minimum densities range from 4 dwelling units per acre (or 15 persons per acre) to 15 dwelling units per acre (or 50 persons per acre) depending on the mode of transit (Victoria Transport Policy Institute, 2015). The average built up densities in the top 100 largest cities in 2010 (though declining from

The average built up densities in the top 100 largest cities in 2010 (though declining from 1990s) is 25000 people/sq. km or 100 persons/acre (Indian Institute of Human Settlements, 2011), suggesting that these Indian cities can still produce efficiencies of scale for citywide public transportation networks rather than limiting to specific corridor, neighbourhood or station TOD projects. City-wide improvements to transit infrastructure will lay the groundwork (refer to case studies on Ahmedabad, Portland, Paris, Mumbai, Delhi etc) for larger gains to be captured through TOD.

Factors Affecting Public Transportation

Improvement of urban transportation networks (including existing feeder services and intermediate personal transport - IPT) expands beyond addition of extra services to include management, scheduling, training and communication to improve the perception and acceptance of public transport.

The quality of public transportation services within a city (Wright & Fjellstrom, 2005) depend upon:

    • Location of transit stations and frequency of services
    • Fleet size and maintenance
    • Overall congestion on the roads if there is no separate right of way for public transport

  • Cost of public transport, especially for economically weak households
  • Feeder services at intermediate stops and final destinations
  • Poor quality of infrastructure (stops, toilets, unclean fleet)
  • Lack of information (schedules, maps, fares etc) and role of technology
  • Institutional arrangements

Some of the most relevant factors will be discussed in this section.

Fleet Size and Quality

Indian cities primarily use bus systems even though metro systems have been implemented in 7 cities under JNNURM. These bus systems are generally operated by the State Transport Undertakings (Wilbur Smith Associates, 2008). Cities that do not have either metro or bus systems rely on mini-buses or IPT. Despite the over-reliance on bus services for commuting, the bus fleet operated by the STUs has continued to decrease except for Bangalore (Wilbur Smith Associates, 2008). Mumbai’s BEST especially has a significant gap in the bus fleet strength for its population as compared to Delhi, Kolkata and Bangalore. Delhi, covered in the case study, suffers from buses with non-modern urban specifications; 22% of its fleet is non-low-floor and more than 10 years old and need to be phased out (Delhi Transport Corporation, 2014). On the other hand, a city such as Portland (refer to the case study) has 659 buses for a population of six lakh, twice the number that would be required by Indian standards.

Given the gaps in bus infrastructure in main cities, it is natural that all small and medium-sized cities (except Madurai) lack the minimum number of buses as per the Central Institute of Road Transport specifications (40 buses per one lakh population) (Wilbur Smith Associates, 2008). An immediate enhancement in bus fleet across the cities is needed.

The JnNURM had in 2009, following the NUTP 2006 recommendations, sanctioned purchase of 15,260 buses for 67 cities. Most of the cities (63) that applied for this program benefitted from the procurement of the buses (around 14,000 buses were purchased). However, the cities failed in planning the operations and maintenance of these newly acquired buses reasons ranging from failing to build institutions (SPVs) to operate the bus systems, lack of robust fare policies to non-adherence to schedule and routes. Consequently, the newly acquired buses started to face recurring breakdowns on roads and idling while the operating agencies faced huge losses.

To address this situation, the Central Government sanctioned in 2013-14, under JnNURM, an additional procurement of 10,000 buses and ancillary infrastructure (Ministry of Urban Development, 2013) at a total cost of Rs. 6300 crores of which Rs. 4450 crores (70%) was funded by the centre through additional central assistance (ACA). Despite this significant proposed investments, only about Rs. 933 crores (20%) have been released by the government for the procurement of 7779 buses. No states or municipal bodies except for the state of Karnataka and Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation planned or commissioned ancillary bus infrastructure projects. This demonstrates a low emphasis by the states on planning and implementation of bus infrastructure (bus stops, bus depots, bus operation centres) and needs to be emphasised in the future funding for bus infrastructure.

Operations and Maintenance

Regular preventive maintenance of bus fleet services is critical for maintaining fuel economy and improving the overall quality of ride for the users (Vasudevan & Mulukutla, 2014). An analysis of the operational statistics for the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) bus services shows a higher breakdown frequency and lower operating ratios than recommended norms (Meakin, 2005) despite having a higher staff ratio per bus (Delhi Transport Corporation, December 2014). Consequently, while bus transport is cheaper than the metro in Delhi for longer distances (Rs. 0.60/km for metro compared to Rs. 0.20/km for bus (Tiwari & Jain, 2008), the performance gap reduces the overall appeal of bus transport. The low operating ratio (operating revenue/operating expenditures) combined with high debt servicing for DTC (interest is twice the operating revenues) makes it difficult to sustain the bus infrastructure and quality of its operations. A staggering 29% of daily trips are missed making the bus network highly unreliable despite the overall ridership.

Box 17

The North Eastern Karnataka Regional Transport Corporation undertook procurement of new buses and new routes in 2012. Since the introduction of the bus services, the ridership has quadrupled, the revenues and operating ratios have increased and efficiency of operations have improved (Vasudevan & Mulukutla, 2014).

Feeder Services at intermediate stops and final destinations

The challenge of providing last mile connectivity to residential and commercial areas of a city is efficiently met with the presence of an effective bus and IPT (intermediate public transport) feeder system to complement the primary mass transit mode. The trunk feeder services use smaller vehicles to reach lower density areas and passengers use intermodal transfer terminals to shift to higher capacity modes like BRT and metro (Wright & Fjellstrom, 2005). The use of smaller fleet size vehicles for feeder services helps in efficiently matching demand to the vehicle characteristics. This also puts additional emphasis to service matching and routing optimisation between the high capacity trunk transportation modes and the feeder services. One of the more successful examples of feeder service integration with the main transit line is the Fort Pheri commuter bus service integrating the commercial business district of Mumbai with the suburban railway line.

Congestion on the roads

Traffic congestion, a measure of the ability (or lack of) to move along a transportation road/corridor with its design speed is a huge barrier to the socioeconomic development of the city. Increasing traffic congestion produces a vicious cycle where public transportation users might shift to private automobiles (two and four wheelers), thereby crowding the streets and producing more congestion. Absence of specific roadway allocation to public transport and non-motorised modes, and instead allocating funds to general traffic and parking, will increase congestion, worsen air quality and lead to an overall depreciation of quality of ride for bus users.

Indian cities continue to experience increased congestion. Cities with a population more than 8 million have an average trip length of 10.4 km, an average speed of 17 kmph (as against the stated speed of 30 kmph) and a congestion index of about 0.33 (Wilbur Smith Associates, 2008). The average speed is projected to reduce to half (9 kmph) by 2021 and one-third (6 kmph) by 2031 (Wilbur Smith Associates, 2008). With no city in India practicing dedicated roadway allocation to bus transport apart from BRT network, bus users in India (especially feeder and local buses) experience worsening travel times and travel costs for their commutes.

Box 18: Fort Pheri

The southernmost suburban train stations of Mumbai, Churchgate and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (erstwhile Victoria Terminus) experience a commuter volume of 100,000 passengers (about 1.1 million daily) per hour (Wilbur Smith Associates, 2013) arriving to work in the Fort area. The Fort circulator hop-on-hop-off feeder caters to this population, with 13000 people using the service daily, amounting to a ridership of 4 million per year. The route is designed to ply on major arterials in Fort such as Frere Road, Madame Cama Road, Marine Drive, Veer Nariman Road and D.N. Road. The circulator route with a peak hour frequency of a bus every 4 minutes covers the employment zones of Ballard Pier and Nariman Point, the public spaces and tourist destinations such as the Town Hall, Horniman Circle, Oval Maidan, Marine Drive, etc. A single flat fare of 6 Rupees (or 10 cents) was introduced on the route of about 6 km making it extremely affordable.

Transportation demand management strategies have been implemented across the world that addresses this through a combination of technology, policy and dedicated road network for bus transit. For example:

  • Vehicle restraint measures that prohibit private automobiles from plying on certain high-traffic corridors or residential/commercial zones permanently/during a certain time of day or day of the week/month. The ROPC (Revised Off Peak Car) and the Area Licensing (ALS) schemes in Singapore are incentive driven implementations while Curitiba, Stockholm, Barcelona, New York city and many other cities have complete car bans in the old and tourist intensive part of the cities.
  • Road space allocation that prioritise public buses and high occupancy vehicles (HOV) priority lanes. While cities in Latin America and China and some in India are building segregated bus lanes, other cities such as New York, Adelaide, London and Singapore have also successfully implemented “bus-flow” lanes along kerbside either for specific stretches of roads, specific road corridors or as a citywide strategy. The bus lanes in Select Bus Service (SBS) in New York corridor is an example of dedicated kerbside bus lanes for majority of the time of day while Adelaide dedicates usage to buses from 7am - 7 pm. This can be replicated in older Indian cities where roadway expansion is not possible on existing high congestion corridors.
  • Using Intelligent Transportation System technologies such as telematics for Traffic Signal Prioritisation for public transport and Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) for bus information systems. More of this will be discussed in the section on Role of Technology.

Role of Technology

Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) provide an opportunity for enhancing returns from transportation investments using technologies for real time vehicle tracking, signal optimisation, improvement of user services (integrated ticketing system), parking management and even driver training. While ITS span across both the demand (commuter apps, passenger information websites) and supply side (transport infrastructure), this section will look at the operational examples of ITS on the supply side that might produce tangible improvements for public transportation users in India.

Telematics is the use of wireless telecommunications and sensor technologies (GPS, RFID) to transmit data followed by information processing for decision making. Increasingly telematics technology has been used in vehicle tracking of public transportation fleet to derive a range of applications for the commuters and fleet operations. Traffic signal prioritisation for buses and bus arrival prediction system using LED displays at the bus stops are two such supply side interventions.

Paris’ bus network has implemented telematics for both bus prioritisation (Mobilien) and real time information seamlessly at the bus stops and onboard to keep the commuters informed about their commuting choices (Asian Development Bank, 2008). Buses are given priority by adjusting the traffic signal sequence to facilitate their movement. While most bus stops have route maps and service schedules, the displays now show real time arrival time to the users and increase predictability of their services. Aalborg, Denmark too has fitted its bus fleet with transponders to prioritise buses at signal intersections through extensions of the green signals and nodal stop with real time information systems for the users (Broaddus, Litman, & Menon, 2009).

In India too, varied forms of this technology have been adopted. The BRTS system in Indore and Ahmedabad have integrated fleet management using GPS and real time passenger information system into their bus planning. The Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC), is implementing the vehicle tracking and passenger information system for a fleet of about 3500 buses in the cities of Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Vishakhapatnam and Tirupathi and some inter city and state routes (Rao). The components include central control centres along with vehicle tracking and in-bus display of next stop.

Thus public transportation improvements improve the overall appeal of public modes of commuting as compared to private car usage. If TOD necessitates the development of higher density mixed use zones, it has to be concurrent with the quality of service offered by the public transportation network in the city. Indian cities already exhibit high densities within the core city and suburban areas, hence the focus of any TOD project should be continuous investments in the public transportation networks along with other focus areas of housing, urban design etc. The section looked at three different ways of improving the public transportation; supply of physical infrastructure, policy intervention of prioritising bus movements in cities where segregated BRT lanes are not possible and use of supply side technology. Transportation improvements also rely upon softer interventions such as driver training (to improve fuel efficiency and reduce operational costs), marketing and branding of public transportation network etc. These therefore also need to be included in the operations and management of the transportation network.

Box 19: Intermediate Public Transport

The role of Intermediate Public Transport (IPT) is very important in Indian cities. These modes range across autorickshaws, e-rickshaws, taxi cabs, cycle rickshaws, mini buses etc. and bridge the gaps in the transportation network by providing mobility options, mostly on demand. These services are essential in urban areas for last mile connectivity and in peri-urban and adjoining rural areas where the heavy capacity transit systems are absent. Even in core and dense urban areas of Indian cities, these modes due to their small turning radii and high maneuverability can easily navigate narrow streets at affordable costs to the commuters. These vehicles use LPG, CNG and batteries as energy sources, causing very little to no emissions. These modes exist both within and outside the formal transportation planning of Indian cities and have important linkages to employment generation as well as job accessibility (Kumar, 2016). Over the last couple of years, aggregator technologies such as Fazilka and Ola have started to integrate these modes within formal mobility planning. Acknowledging these modes for parking and right of way access in station area developments in TOD is necessary since they provide first and last mile connectivity (PEARL, 2014).



Pedestrian and Non-Motorised Transport

Non-motorised transportation (also known as active transportation and human powered transportation) includes walking and bicycling, and variants such as small-wheeled transport (cycle rickshaws, skates, skateboards, push scooters and hand carts) and wheelchair travel.

The availability of the requisite walking and bicycling environment within and beyond the TOD influence zones can determine the success of the TOD to achieve a modal shift from private to public transit. Non-motorised transport accrues little or no air pollution, acts as an efficient mode for short to mid-distance trips and affords an important mobility option for the economically weaker sections of the society thereby reducing the burden on public transportation. The second main important reason to provide for non-motorised infrastructure within a TOD areas in Indian cities is because of the prevalence of walking for first and last mile access usage from home to public transit and from public transit work. In DMRC’s 2012 survey of six stations, the percentage of non-motorised trips to access transit ranged between 34% (Huda City Center) to 62% (Nehru Place). Similarly, in Embarq’s study on station area access in Mumbai (refer Mumbai case study), about 50% of commuters walked or bicycled to Ghatkopar station before utilising the suburban rail on their work commute (EMBARQ, 2012).

Indian cities ranging from megacities to small towns continue to exhibit a high proportion of combined pedestrian, bicycle and auto rickshaw shares for all trips, ranging from 40% to 60% (Tiwari & Jain, 2013). Bicycle ownership is also high in most medium and large cities ranging from 30% to 50% of households owning a bicycle (Tiwari & Jain, 2013). Moreover, the economic burden of owning a bicycle on a household is higher in India than in China; bicycles cost 5 times more to own on household income basis in India than in China (TERI). Introducing formal, well planned and organised bicycle sharing systems in Indian cities along with well designed bicycling infrastructure would alleviate this burden and possibly scale up adoption of bicycling for commuting (TERI). Given that the average trip length excluding walk varies between 2.5 km and 4.8 km for small cities and between 4.2 to 6.9 km for medium and large cities (Tiwari & Jain, 2008), bicycles can serve as a vital mobility option.

Box 20: New York City planNYC - Mainstreaming Non-Motorised Transport

New York city adopts non-motorised transport as a key component for sustainability in its planning model "planNYC". The mode distribution for commuting to work in New York City (NYC Dept. City Planning, Spring 2009) is 43% by subways/trains, 31% by driving/carpooling,14% by bus, 10% by walking and 0.6 by biking. Of all the auto trips in New York, 10% are under one-half mile, 22% are less than 1 mile and 56% are less than 3 miles – distances readily served by bicycle (NYC Dept. City Planning, Spring 2009). Under its non-motorised planning:

  • New York City has marked or constructed over 460 miles of bicycle lanes and paths since 1997, including 160 miles of bicycle paths, since the 2007 release of plaNYC, New York City’s long range plan.
  • The lower Hudson Valley and Long Island, the suburban regions of New York city also has invested in 140 miles and 400 miles respectively of bike infrastructure including designated bike lanes and shared use paths for walking and bicycling respectively. New York city ranks 3rd in the nation for trips made by walking to work and first in bicycling to work (in absolute numbers and 26th in percentage).
  • The principles of TOD design formulated by the New York State Department of Transportation’s Initiative for Healthy Infrastructure for non motorised mobility have been adopted in the revitalisation of DUMBO area in Brooklyn. These laws aim to increase density to support public transit, prohibit auto-related uses and surface parking near transit stops and create pedestrian friendly routes from the stop, accelerate and expedite development review in areas near transit stops and require street connections. Where topographical or other constraints preclude full connectivity for vehicles, the new developments should provide for pedestrian and bicycle access with walkway or stairways.
  • Understanding that a bike share program is a useful tool to increase accessibility to affordable bicycling for low income New Yorkers especially those who cannot afford to buy a bicycle, those without space in their apartments for bikes or safe neighborhoods for everyday parking, and those who do not work in large office buildings with bicycle parking, New York embarked on its first bike-share program Citi Bike in summer of 2012 with more than 100,000 users, a daily ridership of about 25,000 trips and more than 25 million miles travelled (Citi Bike NYC, 2015).
  • NYC DOT has developed a comprehensive pedestrian and public places program to transform under-utilised streets into and reclaim congested streets for public plazas (NYC DOT). The most successful example of this transformation have been Times Square-Broadway and Herald Square plazas thereby added vital green spaces and recreation areas to the city through adaptive design.


While car ownership is predicted to rise by 2030 (Ghate & Sundar, 2013) at the cost of declining walk and bicycle mode shares, the adoption of these as sustainable feeder modes to mass transit within the TOD is very important for the success of TOD implementation. Studies have shown a 5% increase in walkability was associated with a 32% increase in walking to transit access (Frank, Sallis, Conway, Chapman, Saelens, & Bachman, 2006). The necessary infrastructure for NMT should be therefore designed on the principles of safety, coherently connected, directness, attractive design and comfort (Asian Development Bank, 2008). Care should be taken that the connected infrastructure for bicycling and walking in a TOD should

  • Expand least to the transition zone (UTTIPEC, 2012) (2000 m)
  • Connect the dense residential and employment areas within this zone by walking and bicycle paths by using street hierarchy for various modes
  • Provide secure parking facilities for bicycles at bus and metro interchanges and incorporate design principles such as traffic calming and complete streets for safe crossing at junctions.

Smart Cities and Non-Motorised Transport

The National Smart City mission (refer to TOD potential section) has seen increased recognition of the importance of non-motorised transport, especially bicycling walking. While all first 20 lighthouse cities have proposed expansion of the physical bicycle network (road space), 17 have proposed a bike sharing. At an initial glance, about $25 to $30 million or 0.8 to 1% of the national government’s grant will be used by the 20 lighthouse cities for bicycling infrastructure.

While bicycling plans and investments have been done internationally at city levels, this leveraging of a national urban competitive grant to jumpstart sustainable mobility concurrently in 20 cities is probably a first. By the time all 107 cities have applied, we will see about $100 to $150 million being used as seed funding by cities solely for bicycle planning and infrastructure. If other planning interventions (TOD, urban design, greenways, pedestrian streets) that enhance bicycling experience in a city are considered, close to $1 billion in the Indian National Smart City mission will be utilised towards non-motorised transport.