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Historically, large-scale transportation infrastructure projects have had devastating outcomes in communities of color. With twentieth-century urban renewal efforts often came the displacement of underprivileged communities, the loss of low-income neighborhoods and their replacement with affluent housing and freeways.

According to new OTREC research from the University of Oregon, transit-oriented development, or TOD, can offer a different trajectory. Rather than displacing residents, TOD has the potential to improve neighborhoods for the benefit of those who live there.

OTREC researcher Gerardo Sandoval grew up near MacArthur park, one of the two sites studied, and has witnessed firsthand the neighborhood’s dramatic change. “I think the coolest thing about MacArthur Park is that now it’s considered a national model for TOD. When I was growing up there … nobody saw it like that. It was thought of more as a low-income area,” Sandoval said.

The project examined two California neighborhoods: MacArthur Park, in Los Angeles, and Fruitvale, in Oakland. In both neighborhoods, the majority of residents are recent immigrants from Mexico and Central America, many of whom have significantly lower incomes and rely heavily on public transportation.

In the last few decades, both sites have seen TOD coincide with neighborhood revitalization, and...

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As a part of OTREC’s visiting scholars program, Professor Rick Willson from Cal Poly Pomona presented on the the next generation of Transit Oriented Development (TOD) on February 12.† In a nutshell, TOD is “the intersection of good transit planning and good development planning.”† The initial implementation of TOD in California focused on vertical mixed development, fixed rail and property within a quarter mile.† It was a good step in the right direction of creating more livable and sustainable communities.† However, it had some shortcomings such as using cheap right of way, dispersed origin-destination, and counter incentives. New legislation in California and other states focused on vehicle-miles traveled greenhouse gas emissions reduction provides an opportunity to update TOD to use the lessons learned and improve on some shortcomings.† If you missed Prof. Willson’s recent seminar, you can view the streaming video and access presentation online. (Image Credit: Rick Willson)

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On January 28th, OTREC co-hosted a brown bag seminar on The Impacts and Opportunities for Building Healthy, Equitable Communities.† Shireen Malekafzali, PolicyLink, was the guest speaker of the seminar. She discussed the impacts of transportation on health, the challenges with existing policy,and the opportunities for influencing new policy with transportation authorization on the federal agenda.††Some of the recommendations for policy changes†that better consider the†impact of health equity include prioritizing and encouraging investments in public transprtation, pedestrian and bicycling infrastructure, and transit-oriented development.† The Transportation Prescription: Bold New Ideas for Transportation Reform in America, a publication produced by PolicyLink and Prevention Instituted further explores the link between transportation, health and equity.† The seminar was well-attended, with a standing room only crowd of folks that†represented public, private, non-profit, and university partners in both health and transportation fields. The seminar followed on the heels of the on the recent publication of the book, Healthy, Equitable Transportation Policy: Recommendations and...

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