Integrating Retail into TOD - Home Page

Photo of sidewalk in front of colorful shops with trees and landscaping and people walking
Santana Row, San José, CA

The integration of retail and other commercial uses within transit-oriented development (TOD) is a key contributing factor to placemaking, or the creation of vibrant, livable public spaces. Providing convenient access to shopping and services from home and work encourages dynamic neighborhoods where people can easily walk, bike, or take transit for daily or less frequent trips.

In addition, overbuilt retail and the boom of e-commerce have contributed to an ongoing decline of brick-and-mortar stores. To cater to modern-day customers, development of shopping centers is pivoting to not only sell goods but to also become an experiential destination. Thus, retail should appropriately and creatively interface with the public realm to become a place for socializing and gathering.

Retailers are also integrating their online presence with how they do business in physical stores; for example, many companies are advertising the in-store experience through social media and providing curbside/in-store pick-up. New strategies for retail integration will need to allow for flexibility in uses and provide physical infrastructure that supports new technologies.

Design Guidelines
Policy & Implementation
The Role of Local Government & Transit First Policies
Guiding Principles of Land Use
Flexible Zoning Strategies
Street Design Implementation
Revising Transportation Analysis Practices
Transportation Demand Management
Rethinking Vehicle Parking Requirements
Parking Management
Best Practices to Attract Successful Developers
Clarifying Design Expectations
Integrating Retail into Transit Oriented Development
Community Planning for Rail Transit
Additional Resources

Retail Concept and Tenanting Plan

Offer a strong retail development concept and appropriate tenanting plans that create an opportune mix of community amenities, responding to the neighborhood’s target market.

Retail Vacancies

Seek to fill any ground-floor retail vacancies with appropriate types of businesses.

Financial Incentives for Retail Development

Attract and retain retail uses within TODs and transit areas.

Local Retail

Foster a unique local identity by encouraging local retail over chain stores and big-box retail to locate in retail TOD.

Siting Retail

Locate retail strategically so that businesses receive adequate foot traffic and are located near other complementary businesses.

Ground Floor Activation

Activate ground floor uses to promote walkability and sociability around transit stations by creating an interesting and inviting pedestrian environment. Enhance neighborhood safety and security by encouraging “eyes on the street.”

Experiential Retail

Promote experiential retail in which a visit to the retail store or district offers a distinctive experience.

Flexibility in Retail Uses

Provide flexibility to allow for other types of uses that encourage pedestrian activity without relying solely on retail.

Case Studies

  • San Francisco, California, USA – Flexible Retail Ordinance

  • Downtown Container Park, Las Vegas - Experiential Retail

  • Adams Morgan Partnership BID, Washington DC – Placemaking to Enhance Retail