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Smart Growth

Transportation for Livable Communities Program

The purpose of MTC’s Transportation for Livable Communities Program (TLC) is to support community-based transportation projects that bring new vibrancy to downtown areas, commercial cores, neighborhoods, and transit corridors, enhancing their amenities and ambiance and making them places where people want to live, work and visit. The TLC Program supports the region’s FOCUS Program by investing in Priority Development Areas, designated areas in which there is local commitment to developing housing, along with amenities and services, to meet the day-to-day needs of residents in a pedestrian-friendly environment served by transit.

TLC provides funding for projects that are developed through an inclusive community planning effort, provide for a range of transportation choices, and support connectivity between transportation investments and land uses.

Since the program was launched in 1998, MTC has awarded over $200 million in TLC funds to better link land use and transportation decisions made by the region’s cities and transit operators.

TLC Evaluation

In 2007, MTC staff conducted an evaluation of the TLC programs titled Ten Years of TLC: An Evaluation of MTC's Transportation for Livable Communities. The evaluation includes survey results from both project sponsors and community groups. Recommendations and next steps in the ongoing evolution of the program are outlined in the evaluation. Staff also completed case studies, found in Appendix A to main report.

In 2008, Reconnecting America’s Center for Transit Oriented Development (CTOD) completed a white paper detailing various options and strategies for financing transit-oriented development in the Bay Area. The paper made several recommendations for revising the TLC program, including creating a flexible financing program that responds to different market conditions within the region.

Based on the TLC Evaluation and the CTOD recommendations, MTC made a number of changes to the TLC program including discontinuing the TLC Planning Grants and Housing Incentive Programs (HIP). MTC now focuses on larger land use planning grants through the Station Area Planning Program, as well as the new Technical Assistance Program, which offers smaller, quick-response technical assistance grants to assist local jurisdictions with specific TOD-related challenges. The current TLC Capital Program continues to incorporate incentives to approve new housing by linking TLC awards to the planning and construction of new transit supportive development.

Updates to the Program, 2010

Strengthening the link to the region’s FOCUS program, only projects located in priority development areas (PDAs) are now eligible for TLC funding. The menu of eligible project categories has also expanded. In addition to funding streetscape projects in high impact project areas with multi-modal access, the TLC program can also fund*:

  • Non-transportation infrastructure improvements, such as sewer upgrades
  • Transportation Demand Management projects, such as those incorporating Clipper, carshare or parking management strategies
  • Density Incentives – direct TOD funding for land banking or site assembly

* funding restrictions apply

Design Guidance

In an effort to ensure that high-quality projects which support TLC, as well as other regional goals addressing the accommodation of non-motorized travelers, MTC prepared design guidance for streetscapes to be used in the development of TLC projects. The guidance suggests minimum/maximum ranges and best practices for which project sponsors should strive to design into their projects.

For more information about TLC Design Guidance, contact Annie Young, 510-817-5754,

TLC Projects in the News

For more information about the TLC Program, contact Therese Trivedi, 510-817-5767,