Policy: Transit Oriented Development in Minneapolis-St. Paul

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What it does: 

In 2013, the Metropolitan Council adopted a Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) policy to create a framework for partnerships between public and private sectors to create walkable urban development around transit stations throughout the Minneapolis-St. Paul region. 

The Metropolitan Council hopes to achieve these goals by strengthening partnerships between the public and private sectors; prioritizing potential investments in TOD programs and locations; focusing on regional equitable economic competitiveness strategy; and improve internal coordination on TOD related programs and projects in order to align investments and priorities and support TOD implementation.


The Metropolitan Council TOD policy works towards the following four goals: 

  1. Maximize the development impact of transit investments by integrating transportation, jobs, and housing 
  2. Support regional economic competitiveness by leveraging private investment 
  3. Advance equity by improving multimodal access to opportunity for all 
  4. Support a 21st century transportation system through increased ridership and revenues 

The TOD policy supports the overarching goal to "foster efficient and economic growth for a prosperous metropolitan region" for people of all income levels, ages, races, ethnicities and abilities.

Cost & Financing: 

The Strategic Action Plan, a key tool in creating a successful TOD policy, funded by the Metropolitan Council, was created by the combined efforts of a consultant (cost: $100,000) and one agency staff member with the guidance of the TOD Advisory Committee.

In 2011, the Metropolitan Council allocated $26.2 million to create the Livable Communities TOD grant category (LCA-TOD). This grant is directed towards funding development projects in established and emerging transit station areas. 

TOD funding sources include Corridors of Opportunity Housing/TOD Loan Program, Department of Employment and Economic Development Transit Improvement Area Loan Fund, Developer Working Capital, Greater Metropolitan Housing Corporation, Hennepin County TOD Program and many more.

Corridors for Opportunity, a key partnership between government entities, non-profit organizations, and business interests, provided $20 million in grants and loans to support nearly two dozen planning and implementation activities focusing on corridor-wide TOD strategies, affordable housing and TOD investment, small business support and investment, community outreach and engagement, demonstration projects, and tools + policy studies.


The Strategic Action Plan, adopted in 2013, laid the groundwork for a TOD policy by clearly defining next steps the Metropolitan Council can take. The Strategic Action Plan  focuses on the following five tools: collaboration, technical resources, communication and education, TOD planning, TOD development, and TOD funding. 

The TOD Office was created in 2013 to develop Metropolitan Council-owned land, connect partners to existing and new funding sources, coordinate TOD within Metro Transit/Met Council and among external partners, and act as a contact point for the development community and TOD inquiries. 

Key Contacts: 

Name Organization Phone Number E-mail

Allison Bell

Metro Transit (612) 349-7672 allison.bell@metc.state.mn.us
Joan Vanhala Alliance for Metropolitan Stability (612) 332-4471 joan@metrostability.org

Allison Bell is the program manager at Metro Transit.  Joan Vanhala is a coalition organizer and also on the leadership team for the development and implementation of the Twin Cities Equitable Development Principles & Scorecard.

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