Equitable Transit-Oriented Development - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Equitable Transit-Oriented Development

New opportunities for people of all incomes to live near transit

The basics of equitable transit-oriented development (ETOD)

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Equitable transit-oriented development (eTOD) advocates that people of all incomes experience the benefits of dense, mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented development near transit hubs.

What is ETOD?

Equitable transit-oriented development (ETOD) advocates that people of all incomes experience the benefits of dense, mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented development near transit hubs.

Why ETOD matters

Transit should be an amenity for everyone. But as more people want to live or own a business near transit, the costs to do so are on the rise. Without strategies that promote equity, people with lower and moderate incomes are increasingly being priced out of opportunity.

ETOD matters because transit connects people to opportunities we all deserve. For example, research from Harvard University shows that how easily a person can get to work is the strongest factor in determining whether a person escapes the cycle of poverty (Chetty 2014).

In strong and emerging markets, ETOD can help ensure affordable housing and commercial spaces are available near transit. In disinvested areas, ETOD can bring new investments and amenities that close socioeconomic gaps. In all markets, ETOD elevates community voices in decision-making.

Benefits of ETOD

  • Household transportation cost savings of up to $10,000 per year
  • Access to 24-50% more jobs, particularly for low-income residents
  • Retail sales up to 88% higher in transit and pedestrian-friendly areas
  • Health improvements, including 3x lower obesity rates among adults who walk, bike or take transit
  • Household transportation emissions up to 78% lower in communities near transit
  • Up to 40% higher property values for homes near rapid transit

This two-page primer introduces the basics of ETOD in Chicagoland

Read the recent MPC summary of City of Chicago's 2022 Proposed Changes to the TOD Ordinance  (updated July 8, 2022).

Calculate the benefits of ETOD for your neighborhood

MPC and CNT teamed up to create an ETOD Calculator, which offers residents, community groups and developers the ability to analyze the impact of development by neighborhood. The tool also illustrates which city parcels qualify for the TOD ordinance's benefits.
This calculator was created and launched in 2022. It combines MPC's Grow Chicago calculator and the CNT ETOD calculator.

Community Input Drives Change

As neighborhoods grow, community input is critical. We hope this ETOD tool helps community groups and activists proactively advocate and plan for real-world development scenarios. 

Whether you are a resident who wants to learn more about ETOD in your neighborhood, a community organization that would like to design a hypothetical development for a specific parcel, or a local developer who wants take advantage of the incentives available through the TOD ordinance, this online ETOD calculator provides information and increases the potential for new Equitable Transit Oriented Development that benefits all residents of Chicago. 

Need examples? Here are ETOD Case Studies:

Emmett Street Apartment Project (Logan Square CTA Blue Line)


Situated just steps from the Logan Square Blue Line stop, the  Emmett Street affordable housing development provides high quality affordable rental housing for Logan Square’s working families currently facing skyrocketing rents and displacement. Developed by not-for-profit affordable housing developer Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation and designed by award-winning firm Landon Bone Baker Architects, this transit-oriented development is a tiered building that is seven stories at its highest point and two stories at its lowest point to fit in with neighboring residential structures. Above image courtesy of Bickerdike Development.

Woodlawn Station (63rd and Cottage Grove CTA Green Line)

Located at the entrance to the CTA's Green Line station at 63rd St. and Cottage Grove Avenue, Woodlawn Station features 70 mixed-income units, 55 in a four-story building at 63rd and Cottage Grove and 15 on scattered sites a block to the south on Maryland Avenue. Many apartments are adapted for handicapped accessibility and some have views of downtown Chicago. The building includes a computer room, roof deck and a community room. The  building also includes 15,000 square feet of first floor retail space, occupied by  Daley's Restaurant, Red Clay Dance Company, and the UPS Store. Above Image courtsey of POAH and Nia Architecture.

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Chicago, Ill. 60603
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For more than 85 years, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has partnered with communities, businesses, and governments to unleash the greatness of the Chicago region. We believe that every neighborhood has promise, every community should be heard, and every person can thrive. To tackle the toughest urban planning and development challenges, we create collaborations that change perceptions, conversations—and the status quo. Read more about our work »

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