What is Transit Oriented Development (TOD) in India

TOD policies are changing the urban spaces across the world. Cited are its impact on urban areas in India with some recent examples

With urban population rising at an exponential rate, the government needs to provide infrastructure for residential and commercial use and for building amenities to support the former two functions such as schools, colleges, recreational areas, community centres, etc. To cater to this objective, high-density development areas have been planned around major roads and public transport infrastructure, to reduce the travel time and encourage a walk-to-work culture. This forms the basis of a transit-oriented development (TOD) policy, which creates a synergy between transport infrastructure and existing developments around them. To understand the concept in detail, we examine what a TOD is and how it impacts the real estate market.


What is transit oriented development (TOD)?

Simply put, TOD combines land usage and transport infrastructure, with the intent to create sustainable urban growth centres. These centres would have walkable and liveable communities, with mixed land-usage policies, to sustain a high density of population. Under this plan, citizens will have easy access to open green areas, public amenities and transit facilities. In other words, a TOD will bring people, activities, buildings and social infrastructure together.


What is Transit Oriented Development (TOD) in India


Transit oriented development principles

According to urban planners, TOD focuses on compact mixed-use developments around transit corridors, such as metro rail, BRTS, etc. This also includes facilitating transit-oriented development where social amenities are accessible at a walkable distance, thereby, creating a sustainable community.


National transit oriented development policy

According to National Urban Transport Policy, the TOD policy defines 12 principles to be implemented in influence zones, also known as the immediate vicinity of the transit stations:

No Principle Definition
1 Multi-modal integration The defined influence area should have a high quality, integrated, multi-modal transport system that could be utilised to an optimum level by the residents.
2 Complete streets The streets and footpaths should be continuous and unobstructed and have suitable width. To avoid the chance of encroachment and parking, buffers should be provided by the local bodies.
3 Last mile connectivity


Strong emphasis should be given for providing public transportation to areas falling beyond the influence zones. Local bodies can consider providing non-motorised transport (NMT) or feeder buses to the populace outside the zone.
4 Inclusive habitat Around 30% of FAR (floor area ratio) should be reserved for creating affordable housing supply in the influence zones.
5 Optimised densities The influence zones should have higher FAR and higher population, as compared to the areas beyond this zone. Depending on the city’s size, the FAR in these zones should be 300%-500%.
6 Mixed land use To reduce the need for traveling, the influence zone should be provided with amenities, such as shopping, entertainment and public facilities such as schools, playgrounds, parks, hospitals, etc., within a walking distance.
7 Interconnected street network The influence zones should have a grid of small and walkable blocks with sidewalks and amenities such as lighting, signage, etc. The street network should be accessible for pedestrians, bicyclists and NMT users.
8 NMT network The influence zones should have a medium of transportation that is non-motorised, for commuters, and should be accessible to all.
9 Traffic calming Local bodies should take notice of the necessary measures required to reduce speed and control vehicular traffic in the influence zones. This is mainly to provide a safe and secure environment to pedestrians and NMT users.
10 Managed parking Usage of private vehicles should be discouraged, by providing managed parking. This could be done by making the parking in the influence zone and limiting the supply of parking areas.
11 Informal sector integration Specific vending zones should be planned on the main streets, to provide livelihood to the informal sector. This would also make the streets more secure, as these vending zones would also function as ‘eyes of the street’. However, care should be taken that such zones do not hinder the movement of pedestrians and impact the business of retail zones.
12 Street oriented building Buildings in the influence zones should be permitted up to the edge of the street. This is to promote natural surveillance of public spaces. Also, the building orientation should face the pedestrian facilities.


Transit oriented development in India

Since Indian cities are urbanising at a rapid pace, it is important to efficiently use transit corridors and integrate land use with the transport infrastructure, to make the cities liveable, healthy and smart. As a result, the union Urban Development Ministry formulated ‘National Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Policy’, to address the challenges of urbanisation. The policy aims to promote living close to mass urban transit corridors like the metros, monorail and bus rapid transit (BRT) corridors. While the implementation strategy to manage the urban spaces rests with the state governments, the National TOD policy serves as a guideline and plays a catalytic role in formulating state/city-level policies for the promotion of transit oriented development (TOD).

See also: All about NHSRCL and India’s bullet train projects


Transit oriented development case studies / examples in India

Ahmedabad station-level TOD

  • Higher FSI has been allotted along the transit corridor, varying from 1.8 to 4. Additional FSI of 2.2 is also available for purchase from local bodies.
  • A ‘betterment charge’ is applicable on properties within 250 metres of the transit corridor.
  • Income from selling FSI to be a part of the transport fund.

Delhi area-level TOD

  • Areas within 500 metres from metro corridors are covered under the TOD policy. This covers 20% of the urban area in Delhi.
  • Promotion of mixed use of land in this corridor: Around 50% of the area is reserved for built structures, 20% for roads and the remaining area for green open spaces.
  • Planned finer road networks created for shortcuts on foot.



What is meant by TOD?

TOD means Transit Oriented Development, which implies building integrated public spaces in coherence with residential and social infrastructure.

Is transit oriented development good?

Yes, TOD promotes overall development of the urban areas and encourages sustainable practices for social communities.


Was this article useful?
  • 😃 (0)
  • 😐 (0)
  • 😔 (0)