News & Research


Research - October 2011

The Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Academies published a study that examines Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) across the United States. Dr. Renne was the lead author. Co-authors inclue attorney and Urban Planning Professor Keith Bartholomew (co-author of Growing Cooler) of the University of Utah and UNO MURP Graduate Patrick Wontor.


Transit Cooperative Research Program, Legal Research Digest 36, Transit-Oriented Development: Case Studies and Legal Issues is intended to help transit and legal professionals by examining a combination of large, medium, and small TOD and joint development projects and provides comprehensive case studies, with an emphasis on what made the project succeed and how legal issues relate to TODs in general. Case studies from Portland, Oregon; Oakland, California; Chicago, Illinois; Plano, Texas; and Morristown, New Jersey, while illustrating important legal issues, demonstrate that what is needed for TOD success extends beyond laws, financial mechanisms, and public-private contracts.

In 2005, Dr. Renne was the lead author with Jan Wells on related TRB study called NCHRP Research Results Digest 294, Transit-Oriented Development: Developing a Strategy to Meaasure Success.

Consulting - July 2011

The TOD Group was selected to serve as a consultant on a project led by ARUP to provide TOD consulting to the Public Transport Authority (PTA) of Western Australia. The project's goal is to develop an assessment framework to identify TOD opportunities across the Perth metropolitan region. Dr. Renne travelled to Perth in June & July to work with the ARUP project team along with staff from the PTA, the Department of Planning, the Department of Transport, and others.

Previously, Dr. Renne worked on TOD projects in Perth in 2001, 2004-2005, 2006 and 2008. He is affiliated with the Planning and Transport Research Centre of Western Australia and he works closely with Professor Peter Newman, Director of the Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute.

Previous publications Dr. Renne wrote on TOD in Australia include:

  • Ed Blakely, John Black, and John Renne. Public Transport and Transit Oriented Development: A Review of International Literature with Particular Reference to Buses. Prepared for the New South Wales Roads and Traffic Authority, Planning Research Centre, University of Sydney, 2006.
  • Ed Blakely, John Black, Santosh Bista, and John Renne. Framework for the Planning and Assessment of Transit Oriented Developments and Bus Transport. Prepared for the New South Wales Roads and Traffic Authority, Planning Research Centre, University of Sydney, 2006.

TOD Presentations - 2010 & 2011

Dr. Renne delivered a series of talks on TOD across the United States and Australia:

  • Transit Oriented Development: Making It Happen,” Sacramento Metro Chamber Tour, New Orleans, Louisiana, October 7, 2011 (Invited Panel Presentation)
  • “Transit Oriented Development: Making It Happen,” American Public Transportation Association Expo, New Orleans, Louisiana, October 5, 2011 (Closing Plenary Session Panel)
  • "Making TOD Happen,” Oregon Planning Institute Conference, Eugene, Oregon, September 16, 2011 (Invited Panel Presentation)
  • “Getting on Board with TOD,” 2011 Louisiana Smart Growth Summit, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, August 19, 2011 (Invited Panel Presentation)
  • “The Role of Transit Oriented Development in Creating a Sustainable Future,” Young Planners Group, Planning Institute of Australia, Perth, Australia, July 11, 2011 (Keynote Presentation)
  • “Streetcars and Transit Oriented Development: Moving New Orleans Forward,” Urban Land Institute, Louisiana Council, New Orleans, Louisiana, June 23, 2011 (Keynote Presentation)
  • “Transit Oriented Development, Pedestrian Oriented Development and Green Oriented Development,” Louisiana Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, New Orleans, Louisiana, February 12, 2011 (Keynote Presentation)
  • “Moving to a Sustainable Future,” Transportation Committee, New Orleans City Council, New Orleans, Louisiana, November 23, 2010 (Invited Presentation)
  • “States and Sustainable Communities: Energy, Infrastructure and Smart Growth,” Green Matters Conference, New Orleans, Louisiana, October 15, 2010 (Invited Panel Presentation)
  • “Transit Oriented and Joint Development: Case Studies and Legal Issues,” 2010 Louisiana Smart Growth Summit, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, August 19, 2010 (Invited Panel Presentation)
  • “Linking Rail Systems in Southeast Louisiana,” American Society of Civil Engineers, Transportation and Development Institute, University of New Orleans, June 23, 2010 (Invited Panel Presentation)

Clinton Global Initiative University - April 18, 2010Dr. John Renne

Dr. Renne spoke at the Clinton Global Initiative University on April 17 as part of a panel titled, “Sustainable Transportation: One Step to Building Communities.” The event took place at the University of Miami campus and brought together nearly 1500 people including students, national youth organizations and university officials. The panel also included Lee Lambert, Shoreline Community College; Phillipe Cousteau, founder of Earth Echo International and son of legendary explorer Jacques Cousteau; Regini Kapadia, Program Analyst for the Center for Green Jobs at Working for America Institute of the AFL-CIO; Matthew Roth, Deputy Editor of Streetsblog San Francisco; and Susan Szenasy, Editor-in-Chief, Metropolis Magazine.

During the session, Dr. Renne stressed the importance of walkability and access to transit as a necessary component of building sustainable communities.

Click on the following links for information about the Clinton Global Initiative or the Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative.   

April 15, 2010
Dr. Renne was one of several presenters at the Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) “Transit Oriented Development: Possibilities for a New Orleans to Baton Rouge Commuter Rail Corridor.” Dr. Renne presented on national trends and the importance of Transit Oriented Development ("TOD") in the future of America and how it could lead to a sustainable future for Louisiana.  His presentation was based on his recent book, Transit Oriented Development: Making It Happen (2009).

The event took place on April 14th, at the Port of New Orleans Auditorium. For more information about the event, click here.

February 3, 2010
On February 2nd, the White House released its 2011 fiscal budget. The budget included $120m for Denver’s Fastracks program with $40m being recommended for the Gold Line. The proposed funding is part of a larger distribution of $1.8b for transportation projects in 27 cities. The head of RTD’s government relations, Sherry Ellebracht, lauded the inclusion, “…having [the funding] in the President’s budget shows the intent of the administration to support transit in Denver. It is wonderful.” The Gold Line is one of many projects that the Federal Transportation Administration (FTA) intends on funding under a “full funding grant agreement,” according to FTA’s Secretary, Peter Rogoff.

This is important news for The TOD Group who is owner and master developer of a 21-acre parcel directly adjacent to the future “Federal” light rail station along Denver’s Gold Line corridor. The TOD Group intends on developing the 21-acre site into the Clear Creek Transit Village which is expected to be a national TOD model.   

For more information about the funding proposals, click on the following links from Denver Business Journal and Progressive Railroader.

February 2, 2010
Dr. Renne was interviewed by USA Today for an article about post-disaster recovery in Haiti and what lessons can be learned from New Orleans. The article’s release is timely since Dr. Renne will be hosting the National Evacuation Conference on February 3rd through 5th at the University of New Orleans. The Conference will feature numerous evacuation and recovery experts from around the country.

Among the keynote speakers at the Evacuation Conference will be General Honoré who was also interviewed for the USA Today article. Honoré is known for having coordinated military relief efforts after Katrina for the Gulf Coast.

A link to the article can be found here. A link to the National Evacuation Conference can be found here.

January 30, 2010
Dr. Renne was invited by “New London Landmarks” to participate in a forum to “explore the economic possibilities of TOD and consider short term improvements to create a vibrant and accessible transit center in New London.”

Dr. Renne discussed the increasing importance of TOD for the future of real estate development in the United States and what this could mean for New London. Renne urged increased collaboration among state and local entities who often have different strategic approaches to implementing TOD. Cities from the New Jersey Transit Village Initiative were considered as examples of municipalities that overcame many of the same obstacles New London now faces.

A link to the forum's program can be found here. A newspaper article about the forum can be found here.

Dr. Renne is pictured with New London Landmarks' Executive Director, Sandra Chalk

Dec 1, 2010
Dr. John L. Renne was part of a panel on "Safety, Livability and Sustainability" as part of the United States Department of Transportation's "Transportation Authorization National Outreach Tour." Dr. Renne's speech was a call to stakeholders to embrace public-private partnerships between "local government, transit agencies and developers to create sustainable communities. Renne also urged the United States Department of Transportation to adopt a strategic planning framework that would identify and link employment centers to rapid transit, implement density and design standards, and create a public-private funding mechanism to build and connect TODs with transit.

Dr. John L. Renne

A link to Dr. Renne's speech can be found here.

Ashgate publishers recently released Transit-Oriented Development: Making It Happen, coedited by Dr. John L. Renne, Managing Director of The TOD Group along with editors Professor Carey Curtis of Curtin University in Australia and Professor Luca Bertolini of the University of Amsterdam. Dr. Renne is also the author of a chapter in the book called 'Measuring the Success of Transit Oriented Development' along with coathoring the introductory and concluding chapters.

This volume brings together the different stakeholders and disciplines that are involved in the conception and implementation of TOD to provide a comprehensive overview of the realization of this concept in Australia, North America and Europe. Contributors include prominent scholars and practitioners from across the globe including Professor Robert Cervero, Professor Peter Newman, and Ms. Marilee Utter who are also Advisory Board members of The TOD Group.

Transit Oriented Development: Making It Happen - announcement from Ashgate

Dr. Renne publishes a chapter "Evaluating Transit-Oriented Development Using a Sustainability Framework" in Planning Sustainable Communities (University of Calgary - Cities, Policy & Planning Research Series 2009) Edited by Sasha Tsenkova

Abstract: Planners and urban designers across the globe are promoting transit-oriented development (TOD) to encourage sustainable precincts around public transport stations.  TODs are compact, mixed-use developments that facilitate walking, bicycling, and use of public transport through its urban design.  This article presents a method to evaluate the sustainability of TODs based on six aspects of outcomes, including 1. Travel Behaviour, 2. The Local Economy, 3. The Natural Environment, 4. The Built Environment, 5. The Social Environment, and 6. The Policy Context.  Data were collected in five rail precincts across Perth, Western Australia.  The major goal of the study was to determine which indicators were possible to collect and establish baseline data. 

Link to Chapter

Dr. Renne publishes "From Transit-Adjacent to Transit-Oriented Development" in the journal Local Environment

Abstract: Downtown Berkeley, Hayward, and Fremont are three Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) stations
with different surrounding built environments. Berkeley is located in a downtown setting, whereas Hayward and Fremont are located in the suburbs. Fremont is the most auto-dominated, whereas Hayward is a hybrid between being a transit-oriented and transit-adjacent development. Downtown Berkeley exemplifies the aims of many planners across the USA who are working to promote transit-oriented development (TOD). This study helps to confirm the importance of a quality built environment upon travel behaviour and vehicle ownership through an analysis of the three BART stations listed above. This article presents a transit-adjacent development – TOD spectrum that may help planners and policy makers better understand what is and what is not a TOD.

Link to Article

Dr. Renne publishes "Smart Growth and Transit-Oriented Development at the State Level: Lessons from California, New Jersey, and Western Australia" in the Journal of Public Transportation

Abstract: The states of California, New Jersey, and Western Australia encourage smart growth through the employment of transit-oriented development (TOD). This article documents each state’s approach and highlights the importance of interagency cooperation at the state-level and intergovernmental cooperation between state and local governments. This article discusses the importance of state government participation in the planning and creation of policy to facilitate TOD and recommends elements for a model state TOD program.

Link to Article

The TOD Group Advisor, Professor Robert Cervero, Publishes Effects of TOD on Housing, Parking, and Travel (TCRP Report 128) with G.B. Arrington

TCRP Report 128: Effects of TOD on Housing, Parking, and Travel provides original data on TOD residential trip generation and parking, the behavior and motivation of TOD residents, employees, and employers in their mode choice. The report also identifies best practices to promote, maintain, and improve TOD-related transit ridership.

Dr. Renne advises key policy makers and developers in Australia on building TODs

In June 2008, Dr. John Renne met with key policy makers and developers in Australia to provide advice on how to facilitate TOD in Melbourne and Perth. Dr. Renne gave invited lectures to key policy makers in Melbourne, Victoria hosted by the Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability. In Perth, Dr. Renne gave invited lectures to the Western Australian Department for Planning and Infrastructure, LandCorp, the Satterley Property Group, the Public Transport Authority. Dr. Renne also led two workshops on implementing TOD hosted by the Planning and Transport Research Centre.

The TOD Group hired by the Transportation Research Board to conduct a national study of TODs

The TOD Group was was hired by the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies to conduct a national study of joint developments and legal issues in TODs. The study is being led by The TOD Group's Managing Director, Dr. John L. Renne, in partnership with Keith Bartholomew, a leading environmental attorney and an expert on land use and transportation integration. Mr. Bartholomew is an author of Growing Cooler: The Evidence of Urban Development and Climate Change, published by the Urban Land Institute (2008). The TOD study will be completed in 2009.