TOD – The new urban community

14 December 2010 Topics: Planning and environment

Transit Oriented Development (TOD) has raised its profile once more. As land becomes increasingly scarce, TODs are becoming acceptable development outcomes to address population growth. Since 2008, four TODs have been approved in Brisbane.

A TOD is a development centred around a transit facility such as a railway station or a bus station. It is sometimes incorrectly described as a residential tower above a noisy railway station.

The characteristics of a TOD include a rapid and frequent transit service that is highly accessible, a mix of land uses, and high quality open spaces and streetscapes that are pedestrian friendly. As a result of the accessibility to the transit service, there are reduce rates of private car parking.

A TOD will typically include a mix of different land uses, such as medium to high density residential, retail, commercial and community uses. This mix of land uses will enable people to live, work, shop and socialise within a short distance from their homes. A TOD precinct is described as being within a comfortable 10 minute walk or 800 metres radius of the transit station.

While TODs have not formally been adopted in the past, many areas within Brisbane have been developed using TOD principles. These areas include Southbank with its mixed uses situated between two railway stations and Kelvin Grove Urban Village with its mixed uses in close proximity to the busway.

Some of the Urban Development Areas have also been flagged to include a TOD or TOD principles, such as the Fitzgibbon Urban Development Area close to Carseldine Railway Station.

The State Government, through its agency Growth Management Queensland, has confirmed that it is committed to the establishment of TODs to address increased population growth in Queensland.

It is also acknowledged that a TOD will support the use of more sustainable modes of transport and be a more effective integration of land use with transport infrastructure. In order to encourage good practice in terms of applying the principles of TOD, the State Government has released the Transport Oriented Development Guide (Guide). The Guide is in three parts:

  • A guide to practitioners – to encourage good practise in applying the principles of TOD.
  • A guide to community diversity – which outlines how to achieve diverse and inclusive communities for a TOD.
  • A guide for development in a railway environment – a technical guide to assist with the development in or around a rail corridor. This guide ensures safe designs and aims to minimise amenity impacts such as noise and light intrusion.

The release of the Guide also coincides with the announcement of the TOD precinct at Yeerongpilly.

In a press release the Minister for Infrastructure and Planning, Stirling Hinchliffe, stressed that the State Government and Brisbane City Council are working together to deliver an “exemplary TOD at Yeerongpilly”.

The Guide will assist practitioners to meet the State’s expectation for creating vibrant urban communities based on the principles of TOD.

The South East Queensland Regional Plan 2009-2031 and the Far North Queensland Regional Plan 2009-2031 advocate TODs as a strategy for achieving sustainability and building attractive and vibrant communities. It is likely that Brisbane residents will see more TODs being developed over the next few years.

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