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Transit-Oriented Communities

2009 Environmental Priority: Transit-Oriented Communities

Download a fact sheet on Transit-Oriented Communities.

Download a fact sheet on the benefits of Transit-Oriented Communities.

Transit Oriented Communities: HB 1490 and SB 5687

HB 1490/SB 5687, Prime Sponsors: Representative Sharon Nelson and Senator Chris Marr


Washingtonians want to live in affordable, walkable communities connected by frequent, reliable transit. As our population grows, we are facing increased traffic congestion, diminished quality of life, and ever-increasing greenhouse gas emissions. Transit-Oriented Communities would revise the state’s transportation and land-use planning framework to assist local jurisdictions to plan for growth in a sustainable and climate-friendly way. The bill will provide incentives for cities and developers to create affordable, livable, transit-oriented development, increasing transportation choices.


The Opportunity

Building compact, transit-oriented communities will create healthier, safer, affordable, and vibrant communities for Washington while reducing congestion, combating climate change and strengthening the economy.


The Solution

Encourage urban regions to include climate change in transportation planning.

Transportation is the largest source of climate change emissions in Washington State. Fortunately the state has begun to take steps to reduce emissions from transportation by establishing benchmarks for driving less known as per capita vehicle miles traveled (VMT) reduction. Now the state should make urban regional transportation planning organizations (RTPOs) accountable for meeting a portion of per capita VMT reduction targets. Cities and counties within those urban planning regions should help meet the VMT reduction targets set for the region.

Add climate change considerations to local land-use planning.

Cities and counties should help the state meet its climate change goals by including reduction of greenhouse gas emissions

in their comprehensive plans. Provide the tools and resources for cities and counties to plan for these reductions. Additionally cities and counties should adopt measures to increase walking, biking, and transit use in urban areas.

Create and encourage affordable, transit-oriented development (TOD).



TOD should be required near rail and bus rapid transit stations to include compact development, design standards, and plans for affordable housing. It should be strongly encouraged in urban centers and along corridors served by frequent transit. Incentives should be provided for cities and developers to create affordable, livable, transit-oriented communities that will give people real transportation choices.

Contacts: Shefali Ranganathan,, (206) 329-2336 or Shannon Murphy,, (206) 631 -2628.

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