Smart Growth / Transportation for Livable Communities
Choosing Where We Live: Attracting Residents to Transit-Oriented Neighborhoods in the San Francisco Bay Area
MTC has completed a year-long effort to examine what attracts San Francisco Bay Area home-seekers to transit oriented development (TOD) neighborhoods and how to improve these neighborhoods to better attract home seekers, based on a market analysis of surveys of over 900 households. The Bay Area has the opportunity in our town centers, downtowns, transit villages and urban neighborhoods to provide compact, connected and walkable mixes of land uses: housing, work, civic, retail and services coupled with rich transportation options. Our goal is to help elected officials, public agency professionals, community stakeholders and developers understand how to develop high-quality TODs so that they successfully create great neighborhoods and attract new residents.
This Briefing Book summarizes the results of the effort. The document contains summaries of the study design, survey results, market segment descriptions and strategies for attracting residents to TOD neighborhoods. Potential policies to attract targeted market segments are described, along with examples of approaches for addressing neighborhood issues.
This work was conducted with the assistance of Technical Advisory Committee with members from local cities, transit agencies, academic institutions, developers, and community interests. This work was funded through a grant from Caltrans, although the contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of Caltrans.To request a paper copy of the Briefing Book contact the MTC/ABAG Library at
The study design and analytical process are described in more detail below, with links to the technical papers and reports.
Focus Group Report (PDF)
Three focus groups were conducted to elicit qualitative insights from Bay Area residents about their moving/home selection process. All three groups were comprised of people who had moved within the past three years and those who were planning to move in the next year. These groups contained a mix of types of households, including homeowners and renters, single, couples and families with children, and workers, students and retired people, from various cities throughout the Bay Area. These focus groups revealed the various reasoning and preferences of movers, which helped to inform the attitudinal survey. For additional details see the Focus Group Appendices (PDF).
Using the results from the focus group, we developed a survey containing 35 attitudinal questions/statements. We completed telephone surveys of 911 households from the five most urban counties in the Bay Area, using both home telephones and cell phones. Many of the questions required an answer in the form of a rating between 1 and 10 to represent the strength of agreement with the attitude. We then performed statistical analysis and ordered the attitudes. For more details see the New Movers Survey (PDF), the New Movers Survey Appendices (PDF), and the Attitudinal Statements (PDF) shown ranked in order of importance.
The survey results were analyzed using market research techniques to identify the market segments for these movers. Background concepts of Supply and Demand for Neighborhoods (PDF) and Market Segmentation (PDF) are described briefly. Underlying attitudinal dimensions or “factors” were identified see What do Bay Area Residents Want from Their Homes and Neighborhoods? (PDF), which represent combinations of attitudinal statements. Structural Equations Modeling was used to link each factor with a set of related socioeconomic characteristics. We conducted a cluster analysis to define unique market segments based on respondents’ socioeconomic characteristics and the importance they attached to each factor. The result was the definition of eight market segments, each with different attributes and different levels of amenability to living in housing with various characteristics. Understanding the needs and preferences of these market segments can help policymakers and public agencies in their efforts to make transit oriented development (TOD) more desirable to more households. For charts of the results see Analyzing the Attitudes of the Market Segments (PDF).
We identified some of the market segments that are highly amenable to living in TODs, particularly those who value transit more highly than driving. We also identified some key market segments that may be amenable to living in a TOD with the right attributes, and that would be more attracted to TOD if particular policies were to be enacted. Follow-up phone interviews were conducted with survey respondents who belonged to these key target segments to improve our understanding of how these three segments might respond to specific policies to address the attractiveness of TODs for them. These interviews gathered qualitative information on the housing and travel choices of the respondents so as to better inform policymakers.
The market segmentation results have been translated into potential actions that Bay Area governments and agencies can consider to attract additional residents to existing and future TODs. This document lays out the potential strategies and actions that should be prioritized to attract each market segment. Each TOD is unique, and there is a need to attract a mix of market segments to support a viable TOD. The research shows five of the eight market segments are the most easily attracted to TODs: Transit Preferring; Urban DINKs; Young Brainiacs; Mellow Couples; and Ambitious Urbanites. The strategies contained in this document are primarily concerned with attracting people in these five segments to TODs. Note also that TOD neighborhoods are not homogenous, see Variety Within a TOD Station Area (PDF).
We conducted two workshops to obtain feedback on the findings of the TOD Choices Study and to elicit ideas regarding public policies and actions to make transit neighborhoods more attractive to key target markets. Representatives of local government agencies, local elected officials, private developers, police enforcement, education and other groups that had significant involvement in TOD policy participated. This document summarizes the outcomes of these workshops, including comments and specific policies suggested for key segments. For additional examples beyond those shown in the Briefing Book see Additional Examples (PDF).
Additional Resources (PDF) are noted and a Bibliography (PDF) of recent academic and professional documents in the TOD research literature have been cited here, accompanied by brief abstracts detailing key findings relevant to this study and to TOD.
A presentation developed for this effort is provided here:
For more information contact Valerie Knepper at firstname.lastname@example.org
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This page was last modified Tuesday January 04, 2011
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