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Light Rail, Right Time

Featured Scenarios: Tempe, AZ

Light Rail, Right Time

Smart, transit-oriented development enables people to live, work and shop along a convenient public transportation route. In the case of Tempe, the addition of a light-rail line to a wasteland portion of the city could be the catalyst for the creation of an entire neighborhood.

Light rail has been a successful smart growth strategy in Portland, Ore., where the planned community Orenco Station was built from scratch along a new light-rail route. Today, Orenco Station's residents use public transportation four times as often as the regional average. A well-planned light-rail system can help keep cars off the road, decrease air pollution, preserve natural resources and ensure an active, healthy population.

Within walking distance of the light rail, a variety of houses, apartments and condos, along with recreational open space, would make for an attractive, diverse community that could support nearby businesses and other services.

A transit-oriented neighborhood is designed with everyone in mind. A mix of housing options and the availability of public transportation enable people at many stages of life and many income levels to move into an area. Housing -- and its proximity to affordable transit -- determines the way that communities grow. Offering choices for diverse populations is an important facet of smart growth.

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