A research team is currently conducting a year-long NCST research project to investigate finance and planning mechanisms that California cities use to support transit-oriented development (TOD), transit, and active transport (biking and walking). This project is a second-year project extension that will allow the researchers to complement the first-year survey research with extensive case studies, so as to enrich the survey analysis with more in-depth analysis requiring a case study approach.
The researchers will use the survey findings to help in identifying a range of cities for case study analysis (a range in terms of region of the state, location in the urban-to-rural continuum, built-environment characteristics, demographic and fiscal characteristics, market constraints for infill development, and infrastructure deficits in TOD zones, among other key distinctions between cities). Then the researchers will conduct case studies to learn more about how and why some cities have worked to develop integrated policy “packages” for promoting TOD and transit/AT, and what sort of synergies and trade-offs they face in combining different policy tools and mechanisms. They will characterize exemplary approaches in cities of different types (e.g., suburban versus urban, wealthy versus less wealthy, facing a little or a lot of market interest in infill, with and without infrastructure deficits). This added component to the current project will greatly improve the potential for developing valuable findings and conclusions from this research project, because the survey must necessarily be somewhat limited in the scope of information that can be gained, and case study analysis will provide much richer and better informed understanding of the survey findings. Given the complexity of the topic, this additional depth of analysis will result in much more useful products from the work.