As our country sets to work building more high-speed rail corridors, expanding our metropolitan public transit systems, and constructing hundreds of miles of bike lanes, one thing is certain: This isn't our grandparents' auto-centric culture. A new Streetsfilm series named Moving Beyond the Automobile launches today to shine the light on various ways cities across the country have managed to reduce Americans' reliance on the car. Today's film focuses on transit-oriented development—or the wonky name for them, TODs.
The filmmakers travel to Jersey City, a perfect candidate for smart, transit-accessible living since it's so close to a large metropolitan area where most people commute via train. But simply putting up an apartment complex near a light-rail stop isn't enough for effective development, notes the film. Solutions like adding many modes of transit (ferries, buses, bikes) and making sure that buildings are zoned for many uses, not just residential, help ensure that people will feel comfortable surrendering their cars. As the film demonstrates, transit-oriented development can be more than just environmentally savvy, high-density housing; it also add real richness to local urban life.