Establishing Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) on the ground : case-based analysis of implementing TOD in China

TitleEstablishing Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) on the ground : case-based analysis of implementing TOD in China
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsRuishan Zheng
Academic DepartmentDept. of Urban Studies and Planning
DegreeMaster of Science in Transportation
UniversityMassachusetts Institute of Technology
CityCambridge, MA
Thesis TypeMST
KeywordsChina, policy implementation, TOD

While the study of Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) in China has been under way since the 1990s, effective examples of TOD in practice remain scarce. This research conducted 41 semi -structured interviews and applied the Policy-Program- Implementation Process (PPIP) model to identify the challenges to TOD implementation — which are found throughout the entire process, from general acceptance, to urban planning capacity and regulations, to g overnment administration and the real estate market. Misunderstanding and incomplete understanding prevent people from fully adopting the idea of TOD. In planning and design, the main challenges are in the form of conflicts between current planning regulations and TOD planning techniques. Regarding the public sector, institutional coordination will not become a major barrier once a strong leadership in the municipality is in support of TOD, but there are still barriers in the administrative regulations and fina ncing mechanism. In the real estate market, great challenges come from developers who hesitate to take the risk to introduce the new type of TOD product. In order to establish successful TOD s on the ground in Chinese cities, this research recommends the f ollowing solutions. First, effective TOD training programs need to be carried out. Second, the planning codes should be reviewed and revised to establish the legitimacy of TOD. Third, economic incentives and ongoing revenue resources for the government are needed to reassure real estate developers and also provide sustainable economic solutions for the government. Fourth, institutional structure needs to be developed in both administrative and development processes to reduce the institutional barriers and i nternalize the economic benefits in the TOD implementation.


Supervised by Jinhua Zhao. Readers: Frederick Salvucci, Chris Zegras