Downtown Hopkins, which will be served by the METRO Green Line is a suburb with a streetcar-era walkable downtown. Hundreds of multifamily residences have been recently built.Real estate market conditions depend on many factors. The accessibility of a location by transit can be important, but its importance varies throughout the region. As explained in this section, the market for using transit and the market for transit-oriented development are related, but they are not the same thing.

Market Value of Transit

People take transit for different reasons based on their needs, resources, preferences, and values. The value of taking transit depends on where people live, where they want to go, and how much income they have. From the viewpoint of transit providers, including Metro Transit, population density and the location of job concentrations largely determine the efficiency of providing transit service. From the standpoint of the developer, business owner, or potential resident, transit access can enhance the
value of a location.

Market Conditions for Transit

Market conditions for both using transit, and TOD, depend on many characteristics. They include the level and quality of transit service, the mobility and accessibility that transit provides for a particular location, and other characteristics like the walkability of an area, the availability of nearby stores and services, and the quality of open space.

Click on map to open Appendix G of the 2040 Transportation Policy Plan.Research by the Metropolitan Council shows that three main factors greatly influence transit use across the region. They include: density (population and employment); the interconnectedness of the local street system; and the number of cars owned by residents. The Metropolitan Council defines “Transit Market Areas” based on these factors.

Transit Market Areas Map

Transit Market Areas indicate the likely cost effectiveness of types of transit service investments. For example, high transit ridership in Market Area I makes it more cost effective. 

The map also shows what parts of the region are changing and intensifying, called “Emerging Market Areas." TOD in these areas can support existing levels of transit service and set the stage for improvements over time. See Appendix G of the 2040 Transportation Policy Plan (TPP) for further information about Transit Market Areas and the types of transit services that work well for different contexts.

Transit Planning Basics

In general, transit works best and is more cost-effective when serving concentrations of people and jobs along corridors. Cities can learn more about transit planning fundamentals by reviewing the Transit Planning Basics section of Chapter 6 of the TPP. Cities can strengthen conditions for transit service by guiding growth toward corridors that are candidates for transit improvements. Cities should acknowledge planned transit corridors (see Chapter 6 of the TPP) in their comprehensive plans. We also encourage cities to contact Metro Transit’s Service Planners on questions related to existing and planned transit services.

Downtown Minneapolis, Marquette Avenue. Transit ridership is highest in Transit Market Area 1.


We Can Help!

Transit market areas and regional transitway planning

Cole Hiniker, Manager of Multimodal Planning
Metropolitan Council - Metropolitan Transportation Services
[email protected]

Transit route and service planning
Contact Metro Transit Service Planners (click for regional map of contacts)

Downtown Minneapolis is the strongest transit market for jobs, but its growing resident population will soon have transit access to job centers along the planned extensions of METRO Blue Line and Metro Green Line.Market demand for TOD varies throughout the region, affected by the quality of transit as well as other characteristics that matter to residents and businesses. They include proximity to jobs, access to the workers, access to services and amenities, the quality of local schools, the attractiveness of parks and open space, and the walkability of an area.

Planning for “complete communities” is an effective way to approach planning for TOD in many areas. It recognizes that the needs of residents and businesses relate to a range of characteristics that affect an area's livability and desirability, not the availability of transit alone. 

Market Demand by Businesses 

Many businesses want visible, central locations well-served by transit. Other businesses may be willing to locate near transit if a location has other desirable characteristics. Some industries, however, may not be suitable for locations served by transit because of very low job density and the need for highway access. CTOD's publication TOD 202: Transit and Employment emphasizes the needs of different industries, the travel behavior of employees, and the design of the built environment. Highlights include:

  1. Ensure that employment sites close to transit meet the needs of potential employers, such as nearby amenities and services.

  2. Retrofit suburban job centers to be more walkable.

  3. Undertake placemaking strategies.

  4. Encourage the retention and growth of jobs along mixed-use corridors.

  5. Match density with levels of transit service (either existing or planned).

  6. Be patient and realistic about achieving land use and economic goals near transit.

Market Demand by Residents

St. Paul Union Depot Tot Lot. Strengthening the TOD market should address the needs of families.Demand for new multifamily housing is high in parts of the region with high-quality urban amenities that include transit. Households that value proximity to transit include those who rely on transit either by choice or because they have lower incomes. Many families with children may also appreciate high-quality transit service in locations where there are housing choices and a mix of amenities that include high-quality schools, parks, and libraries.

CTOD’s publication TOD 205: Families and TOD emphasizes the needs of families who may appreciate access to reliable transit but for whom other issues are also important. Highlights include:

  1. Create a sense of community and place through investments in parks, libraries, and community events.

  2. Ensure that neighborhoods are safe for kids to walk and bike.

  3. Families will value locations where schools are part of the community.

  4. Families will value locations with convenient access to daily shopping needs.

  5. Families will value transit access to regional employment and amenities.


We Can Help!

Working with employers and developers around transit

Lucy Galbraith, Director
Metro Transit - Transit Oriented Development Office
[email protected]

Commuter programs to serve employers and institutions

Theresa Cain, Manager
Metro Transit - Commuter Programs
[email protected]

This section is UNDER CONSTRUCTION. Do you have information to share, or a particular interest in this topic? Please let us know at [email protected].


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