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Downtown Phoenix buildings

Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) is a pattern of development characterized by a mix of uses surrounding a transit station where streets have a high level of connectivity, blocks are small, and buildings and uses cater to pedestrians.

The purpose is to make access to and from the transit station walkable and accessible in an environment that is human-scaled and provides for a mix of compatible and complementary land uses which facilitate transit ridership.

The cities of Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa have taken action to encourage development near the light rail alignment. More than $10.1 billion in private and public capital investment has been built near the initial 26-miles of light rail. Another $807 million in commercial and residential building is being planned, most of that from private developers.

TOD Characteristics

  • Street scene with light rail tracks
  • Walkable, tree-lined streets (shade)
  • Buildings built up to the street
  • Buildings with frequent windows and doors
  • Diverse, complementary uses that encourage people to stroll, shop, meet, greet and eat
  • A variety of compact housing in an assortment of styles
  • Strategic parking strategies (Reduced parking, shared parking, more land for development)

TOD Benefits

  • Revitalizes declining neighborhoods and urban centers
  • Improved accessibility to jobs
  • Generates sales tax revenues
  • Provides affordable housing near a readily available source of transportation, creating a high-level of mobility for households on limited incomes
  • Creates opportunities for public/private partnerships
  • Increases values of nearby properties
  • Improves foot traffic for retailers
  • Decreases transportation costs for residents and workers
  • Decreases employee travel costs
  • Allows access to a more diverse workforce
  • Encourages transit use due to escalating gasoline and fuel costs

Valley Metro’s Role

Vision: Support its member cities in attaining their community and economic development goals and initiatives by serving primarily as a resource, a support function and community educator. By assisting in promoting high quality, more intensive development on and near properties adjacent to the light rail, Valley Metro can increase ridership and support long-term system capacity. Also, such development creates attractive investment opportunities for the private sector and stimulates additional development.

Mission: Assist Valley Metro Rail member cities in developing the policy framework and implementation strategies necessary to successfully build community support for TOD projects that: (1) improve access to public transportation, (2) make communities more pedestrian and bicycle friendly, (3) and create new living spaces that better serve the daily activities of the region by interfacing with a more diversified set of mobility options.

Goals and Objectives:

  • Support community focused development
  • Increase availability of public transportation
  • Establish TOD principles in the planning and development process


Joshua Matthews

Valley Metro Planner II

(602) 495-8263

Katherine Coles

City of Phoenix Light Rail Planner III

(602) 534-9938

Jay Fetherston

City of Phoenix TOD Program Manager

(602) 256-4370

Eric Iwersen

City of Tempe Transit Manager

(480) 350-8810

Jeff McVay

City of Mesa Manager of Downtown Transformation

(480) 644-5379