Do you ever feel like your commute to work is getting worse every day? The traffic, congestion, and accidents, not to mention the hours spent being sedentary while you miss precious time with your family, are things that weigh on you as you count miles after mile on your car’s odometer. You are not imagining things and you are not alone in your assessment; your commute is getting worse! Let’s take a closer look at how bad it really is and how Transit-Oriented Design may be a viable solution.
There are approximately 90 million Americans commuting to work daily in big and small cities alike across this nation. In our neck of the woods, around the Greater Boston region, the news on traffic is dismal. The latest U.S. Census data reports that the Boston area commute is one of the longest in the nation. The average Boston commute time ranked only minutes on average shorter than the notoriously horrendous commutes of New York and Los Angeles. In addition to long commutes, Bostonians have also been rated by Allstate Insurance as some of the most accident-prone motorists in the nation. Census statistics also show us that the daytime population of Boston nearly doubles during daytime working hours, which means that commuters are sharing the roads in an effort to cram their way into an already busy city. These statistics come as no surprise, though, for the hundreds of thousands of people who commute in and around Boston daily.
What design solutions could alleviate these startling statistics? Would adding parking garages or expanding road capacity solve the underlying problem of increased traffic, congestion, and commuters spending hours a day on a highway? While these suggestions may temporarily alleviate congestion, they would merely be a bandage on a larger problem caused by the growth of cities and a huge strain on infrastructure. Transit-Oriented Design, however, has shown already to be beneficial in several communities around the nation and could also aid Boston in the years to come.
Transit-Oriented Design (TOD) is a type of community development that can be an essential part of the solution for not only traffic issues but climate change problems, affordability of housing, and encouragement of healthier lifestyles too. TOD allows for a mixture of housing (both residential and workforce), retail space, offices, and other amenities within a reasonable walking distance to public transportation. TOD is a fast growing trend that involves regional planning, city revitalization, suburban renewal, and walkable neighborhoods combined. These pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods are centered around easily accessible public transportation such as the “T”, commuter rail, or bus lines. As more and more Americans seek out a desirable place to live, work, and play, realtors, contractors, and building designers have come to support the trend that has so many positive impacts. DMS design has been active in planning for our buildings to meet TOD design requirements. We continue to stay on top of this trend as it will impact the Bay State and its many surrounding communities. Here is a quick rundown of how this type of community design could benefit our area.
Benefits of Transit-Oriented Design
- Better access to job opportunities and economic growth.
- Housing opportunities for people of all ages and incomes from singles, to empty-nesters, to growing families.
- Allow residents to live, work, and play in the same area.
- Convenience of walking or taking public transit to work.
- Encouragement of a healthier lifestyle when your home is within walking distance to shopping, food, civic areas, entertainment, and work.
- Reduction of traffic congestion and accidents.
- Reduction of households driving means an overall decrease in the production of greenhouse gases and our carbon footprint, and a dependency on foreign fuels.
- Reduced financial burden of commuting including the cost of a car, insurance, and regular maintenance.
- Revitalization of urban areas.
- Stimulate the local economy.
Visit our blog again as we stay on top of this community design trend and our role in the development in the Boston area. If you have questions call DMS design at 978-965-3470 or visit our website.