A diverse group of people – some walking, mingling, and sitting around a MetroRail station at Plaze Saltillo

Equitable Transit-Oriented Development (ETOD)

Cities Are Built on Connectivity


As cities like Austin grow, it becomes increasingly important to develop policy, programs, and networks that support affordable density, and allow people to get to the places they need to go. Traditional approaches to build a city responsive to these needs are bundled under the umbrella term, transit-oriented development, or TOD.

TOD is a way to build cities that prioritize tightly connected neighborhoods with a mix of residential and commercial uses. It is not a building or a project; it's a pattern of development that is:

  • Compact and relatively dense.
  • Within walking or biking distance of transit.
  • Mixed-use, including housing, jobs, services, shopping and fun.
  • Safe, walkable, interconnected and lively.

These vibrant and walkable neighborhoods offer residents more choices regarding how to get around, whether walking, biking or riding transit, and more destinations for retail, dining and entertainment. In this way, TOD supports CapMetro’s goals for environmental sustainability and economic development.

Revamping Traditional Approaches with a Focus on Equity

While traditional TOD has brought significant benefits to many communities, subsequent growth around many of these developments has resulted in the displacement of nearby vulnerable communities. In many cases, traditional TOD has become a victim of its own success, with new investment often driving up rent and driving out long-time residents and businesses.

Typically, the affected communities include low-income families, people of color and households with limited or no access to private vehicles – the exact people who could benefit most from new transit. In response, CapMetro and the City of Austin are working with communities along Project Connect's future transit corridors to develop policies and principles for equitable transit-oriented development (ETOD). These ongoing community discussions will help us make the most of the opportunity provided by the $300 million anti-displacement fund created by voters in 2020 to create a more just and inclusive transit network in Austin.

Deeper Look into ETOD

Follow the ETOD progress as it relates to Project Connect, take a deep dive into our ETOD goals and explore opportunities to get involved. 

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We Want to Hear From You

We have completed our second round of surveys and are wrapping up Phase 2 of our study. Click the button to check out new engagement opportunities for Phase 3.

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Moving to a model of ETOD is especially important with Project Connect, which offers a once in a generation opportunity for Austin to connect residents to housing and jobs. Successful ETOD does more than protect against displacement; it creates new economic opportunities for everyone. In a city facing a severe housing shortage, Project Connect will unlock the potential for developing and preserving housing for people at all income levels.

If planned without a community focus, however, this investment may displace the very people that benefit most from transit. If planned with community support and involvement, though, the new transit lines will enable Austinites to benefit from the economic growth and opportunities in the years to come.



  1. Supports Transit Investment
    Gives more people access to high-quality transit, leading to a more successful transit investment.
  2. Coordinated Station Access
    Safe and convenient access is prioritized for people walking or biking to and from transit stations.
  3. Managed Change
    New opportunities are available for all types of Austinites to live, work and play near transit stations while being mindful of potential impacts to existing residents and businesses.
  4. Inviting Public Realm
    The area around stations is designed to provide a welcoming environment that fits in with the houses and businesses in the neighborhood.

Without ETOD

  1. Underperforming Transit
    Transit investment may not live up to its full potential, leading to longer wait times and a less convenient service.
  2. Gaps in Station Access
    Gaps in the sidewalk and bicycle network near stations lead to unsafe and unequal access to nearby residents.
  3. Development Pressure
    New development near stations is driven only by market forces, potentially displacing existing residents and businesses and leading to fewer opportunities for lower income Austinites.
  4. Generic Built Environment
    The station and nearby businesses don't fit together, don't serve the existing neighborhood well and lack a cohesive and uniquely “Austin” identity.

This study will seek to meet these CapMetro, City of Austin, and community-defined key objectives for Equitable Transit Oriented Development (ETOD):

accessible transit goal

Goal 1
Enable All Residents to Benefit
from Safe, Sustainable, and
Accessible Transportation 

equity goal

Goal 2
Help to Close Racial Health
and Wealth Gaps

housing goal

Goal 3
Preserve and Increase Housing Opportunities
That are Affordable and Attainable 

Goal 4

Expand Access to High-Quality
Jobs & Career Opportunities 

healthy goal
Goal 5

Support Healthy Neighborhoods
That Meet Daily Needs

diverse business goal
Goal 6

Expand Austin’s Diverse Cultural Heritage and
Small, Minority-Owned, and Legacy Businesses


For more information or to provide feedback, email us at: etod@capmetro.org to get the latest information on upcoming ETOD workshops, events and news.