Pedestrian- and Transit-Oriented Design Course

Much has changed recently in how communities are designed. New urbanism has flourished, transit-oriented development (TOD) has become commonplace, and smart growth has gone national. All three movements emphasize pedestrian- and transit-oriented design. The travel literature has expanded to include literally hundreds of studies showing that the built environment, as measured by D variables (density, diversity, and design), affects people’s decisions to walk and use transit. Concerns over Americans’ physical inactivity, obesity, and related chronic diseases have led to the active living movement and a rich literature demonstrating how important the built environment is as an influence on physical activity and weight status. Climate change has re-emerged as a national concern, creating another imperative for reduced automobile dependence. The authors proposed a graduate-level, multidisciplinary course that addressed these concerns by focusing on the nexus between research and practice. The course was co-taught by Professor Reid Ewing, Hal Johnson of the Utah Transit Authority, and two planning doctoral students, Shima Hamidi and Philip Stoker. Students in the new course were introduced to the theoretical basis and design principles of compact urban development and reviewed local, national and international TOD for the urban design qualities that make a place walkable and encourage multimodal transportation. Most importantly, students in the course travelled to six different metropolitan areas to evaluate how well TOD was being implemented. Students travelled to Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Denver, San Diego, Portland and Los Angeles. Once in the cities, students collected data relating to pedestrian activities, urban design qualities, and interview data with local TOD planners. Each case study was analyzed in the “lab” using geographic information system (GIS) and demographic data, built environment metrics, and ridership/travel data. The metropolitan areas were selected on the basis of available household travel data and land use databases. The intention is to increase students’ understanding of the dynamics of TODs by bolstering qualitative data from site visits with quantitative data from the “lab.” This research allowed the authors to make comparisons of TODs, as well as make recommendations for TODs related to public health, safety, air quality, economics, and overall livability. The capstone of the course was an oral presentation by students and a compiled report based on the TOD case studies. The results of their work are presented in this report.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Appendices; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 60p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01641044
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: NITC-ED-852
  • Created Date: Jul 16 2017 7:00PM