Click the links to expand for more info on each principle, objective, and metric.
Principle 1: WALK
High quality, unobstructed pedestrian footpaths provide basic mobility for all. Furniture, landscaping elements, and active building edges transform walkways into vibrant public spaces.
A. The pedestrian realm is safe and complete
- Completeness of the walkway network is a basic requirement. The network should meet local accessibility regulations or standards and receive adequate street lighting.
- Complete walkways are defined as either (a) dedicated and protected sidewalks, or (b) shared streets designed for safe sharing between pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles, with speeds capped at 15km/h or 10 mph1 by design, or (c) pedestrian-only paths.
- Wheelchair-accessible walkways are defined as barrier-free for wheelchair users, according to local regulations and standards.
- Walkway obstructions due to works or other temporary situations are not penalized as long as a safe detour is available.
- Quantify the total length of all block frontage. (Blocks are defined by pedestrian accessibility, see Glossary).
- Quantify the length of all block frontages with qualifying walkways (see details above).
- Divide the second measure by the first to calculate percentage of walkway coverage.
- Completeness of the walkway network is a basic requirement, and the network should meet local accessibility regulations or standards and receive adequate street lighting.
- In the case of very dense street networks, where there are qualifying crosswalks at an interval of 150 meters or less, crosswalks through the larger road are not required at all intersections.
- Qualifying safe crosswalks are:
(a) two or more meters in width and demarcated, and
(b) fully wheelchair accessible, and
(c) if the crossing is longer than two traffic lanes, safe cross walks also have a wheelchair accessible refuge island.
- Quantify the number of intersections requiring pedestrian crossing facilities.
- Quantify the number of these intersections with qualifying crossing facilities (see details above).
- Divide the second measure by the first to calculate the percentage of complete intersections.
B. The pedestrian realm is active and vibrant
- Visually active frontage is defined as a length building frontage that abuts public walkways and is visually penetrable.
- A walkway segment is defined as a length of frontage between 2 pedestrian network intersections. It is considered visually active if 20% or more of its abutting building frontage is visually active frontage.
- Visually active frontage is measured as windows and partially, or completely, transparent walls, and accessible open space (including playground and park, but not fenced-off landscaping, porches, or patios), located along the streetwall at any point between ground level and the first level above ground level.
- Vehicle entrances do not count as visually active frontage.
- Operable interior or exterior curtains or shutters are admissible.
- Alleyways that do not lead to a main pedestrian entrance of a building, and/or do not connect to the public right of way on two sides (i.e., is a dead end) should not be included as public walkways.
- Quantify the total number of public walkway segments.
(a) For streets where the right of way from building line to building line is less than 20 meters, public walkways on both sides can be counted as one public walkway segment.
(b) For streets where the right of way from building line to building line is more than 20 meters, each public walkway along a building must be counted as one walkway segment.
- Quantify the number of public walkway segments that qualify as visually active (see details above).
- Divide the second measure by the first to calculate an active frontage percentage.
- Qualifying entrances include openings to storefronts, restaurants and cafés, building lobbies, cycle and pedestrian passageways and entrances, park and corner plaza entrances, and active service entrances.
- Non-qualifying entrances include emergency exits, access to storage, motor vehicle garages or driveway entrances.
- Alleyways that do not lead to a main pedestrian entrance of a building, and/or do not connect to the local pedestrian network at both ends should not be included as “public walkways”.
- Quantify the total length of block frontage that abuts public walkways and divide by 100 meters.
- Quantify the number of entrances along public walkways.
- Divide the second measure by the first to calculate average number of entrances per 100 meters of block frontage.
C. The pedestrian realm is temperate and comfortable
- Shaded walkways are defined as having a clear pedestrian path that is appropriately shaded during the hottest seasons.
- Both sidewalks should be shaded on streets with more than two traffic lanes.
- Shade can be provided through various means including: trees, buildings (arcades, awnings), freestanding structures (shade shelters at intersections, public transport shelters) and vertical screens (walls, lattices).
- If buildings provide shade to the walkways at most hours of the day, this can be considered an appropriately shaded walkway.
- Walkway segments are defined as the part of a walkway that lies between adjacent pedestrian network intersections, including non-motorized intersections.
- Quantify the number of walkway segments.
- Quantify the number of segments that incorporate a qualifying shade or shelter element.
- Divide the second measure by the first to calculate a percentage of shaded and sheltered walkways.
Principle 2: CYCLE
Street design ensures safety for cyclists by reducing carriageway speeds or creating separate cycle tracks. A complete network, adequate shading elements, smooth surfaces, and secure cycle parking are essential.
A. The cycling network is safe and complete
- Requirements for safe and complete cycling conditions are:
(a) Streets with speeds above 30km/h or 20 mph must have exclusive or protected cycleways in both directions. Exclusive cycleways are spatially segregated from vehicles (e.g., painted cycle lanes or physically separated cycle lanes).
(b) Slow streets (with a speed of 30km/h or 20 mph or less) are considered safe for cycling and do not require exclusive or protected cycleways, but sharrow stencils are recommended.
(c) Pedestrian priority streets, or shared streets, (with a speed of 15km/h or 10 mph or less) are considered safe for cycling.
- Quantify the number of street segments.
- Quantify the number of street segments with safe cycling conditions (see details above).
- Divide the second measure by the first to calculate the percentage of street segments safe for cycling.
B. Cycle parking and storage is ample and secure
- Secure cycle parking is defined as fixed facilities available to lock bicycles and other non-motorized vehicles. These include multi-space outdoor racks and/or weather-protected storage.
- Cycle parking facilities should be located outside pedestrian or vehicle circulation paths and within 100 meters of a transit station entrance.
- Identify all high-capacity transit stations, within the scope defined below.
- Identify the stations that provide multi-space, secure cycle parking facilities (see details above).
- Applies to buildings greater than 500 square meters of floor area, or six residential units.
- Cycle parking at buildings should be: (a) located within 100 meters of the entrance, and (b) located outside pedestrian or vehicle circulation areas.
- Publicly provided cycle parking facilities and those provided in garages are included.
- Quantify all applicable buildings.
- Quantify all applicable buildings with acceptable cycle parking (see details above).
- Divide the second measure by the first to calculate a percentage for cycle parking provision.
- Cycle access into tenant-controlled spaces must be required by building code or bylaws
- Review applicable codes and/or bylaws.
Principle 3: CONNECT
Short and direct pedestrian and cycling routes require highly connected network of paths and streets around small, permeable blocks. This is primarily important for walking and for transit station accessibility, which can be easily discouraged by detours.
A. Walking and cycling routes are short, direct and varied
- Blocks are enclosed properties defined by the publicly accessible pedestrian network. A publicly accessible passageway through a building divides the building into two blocks.
- Publicly accessible is defined as indiscriminately open to all at least 15 hours a day.
- Blocks are measured by the length of block faces between adjacent intersections of the pedestrian network.
- Do not include blocks located along hard edges and impermeable to pedestrians, such as railroads or motorways.
- Quantify the number of blocks that lie fully within the development.
- Estimate the length of each block.
B. Walking and cycling routes are shorter than motor vehicle routes
- Pedestrian intersections are defined as all intersections in the pedestrian network, including pedestrian paths and passages as well as pedestrian priority streets, and vehicular streets with appropriate crosswalks.
- Motor vehicle intersections are defined as intersections of vehicular streets, fast and slow, excluding pedestrian priority (shared) streets.
- Intersections at plazas and open spaces permeable to pedestrians and cyclists, but without defined walkways or cycleways, are counted as four-way intersections.
- Cul-de-sacs with no pedestrian exit or throughway to the pedestrian network do not count towards the intersection. A four-way intersection, where one street is a cul-de-sac would be counted as a three-way intersection.
- Map all motor vehicle intersections within the development and to the centerline of peripheral streets.
- Map all pedestrian intersections within the development and to the centerline of peripheral streets.This includes motor vehicle intersections with appropriate walkways and crosswalks.
- Quantify all intersections as follows:
A four-way intersection = 1 intersection
A three-way, or “T”, intersection = 0.75
A five-way intersection = 1.25
- Divide the second measure by the first to calculate a prioritized connectivity ratio.
Principle 4: TRANSIT
Transit connects and integrates distant parts of the city for pedestrians. Access and proximity to high-capacity public transit service, defined as bus rapid transit (BRT) or rail transit is a prerequisite for TOD Standard recognition. High-capacity public transit plays a critical role, as it allows for highly efficient and equitable urban mobility, and supports dense and compact development patterns. Transit also comes in various forms to support the entire spectrum of urban transport needs, including low- and high-capacity vehicles, taxis and motorized rickshaws, bi-articulated buses and trains.
A. High quality transit is accessible by foot.
- Applicable transit stations include: a high-capacity transit station (defined as BRT, rail or ferry), or a station on a direct transit service which connects to high-capacity transit within 5 kilometers.
- Measure actual walk distance through permanently public areas and walkways (not a straight line) between a building entrance and a transit station
- Identify building entrances that are farthest away from these transit stations.
- Quantify the maximum walking distance to a transit station.
Principle 5: MIX
When there is a balanced mix of complementary uses and activities within a local area (e.g., a mix of residences, workplaces and local retail commerce), many daily trips can remain short and walkable. Diverse uses peaking at different times keep local streets animated and safe, encouraging walking and cycling activity, and fostering a vibrant human environment where people want to live.
A. Opportunities and services are within a short walking distance of where people live and work, and the public space is activated over extended hours.
- Complementary Uses: Residential and nonresidential uses within same or adjacent blocks.
- Access to Local Services: Percentage of buildings that are within walking distance of an elementary or primary school, a healthcare service or pharmacy, and a source of fresh food.
- Access to Parks and Playgrounds: Percentage of buildings located within a 500-meter walking distance of a park or playground.
- Map all buildings and primary building entrances.
- Map all sources of fresh food.
- Map all qualifying elementary schools and health- care services.
- Mark all buildings with entrances within a 500 m walking distance of fresh food sources and a 1,000 m walking distance of primary or elementary schools and a healthcare service or a pharmacy.
B. Diverse demographics and income ranges are included among local residents.
- Affordable Housing: Percentage of total residential units provided as affordable housing.
- Housing Preservation: Percentage of households living on site before the project that are maintained or relocated within walking distance.
- Business and Services Preservation: Percentage of pre-existing local resident–serving businesses and services on the project site that are maintained on site or relocated within walking distance.
- Quantify the number of residential units created. If there are no residential units in the development, then the score is 8, and no further measurement is needed.
- Quantify the number of affordable residential units created (see details above).
- Divide the second figure by the first to obtain the ratio.
- Apply the general case or the variant that best fulfills Objective 5.B. If a variant is being applied, justify the decision in the notes.
Principle 6: DENSIFY
To absorb urban growth in compact and dense forms, urban areas must grow vertically (densification) instead of horizontally (sprawl). In turn, high urban densities oriented towards transit support a transit service of high-quality, frequency and connectivity, and help generate resources for investment in system improvements and expansions.
A. Residential and job densities support high quality transit, local services, and public space activity.
- The measure of a development’s land use density is the Floor Area Ratio (FAR), calculated by dividing the total Gross Floor Area (GFA) of the buildings in the development by the area of the land.
- Gross Floor Area is the cumulated area of floor inside the buildings envelope including the area of all external and internal walls, mezzanines and penthouses, but excluding sub-surface basements, unenclosed areas, and roofs.
- The following should be deducted from the land area figures used in the measurement: a) local public facilities (e.g. local schools, neighborhood libraries, public sport fields and playgrounds), b) publicly accessible parks, c) natural constraints (e.g. bodies of water and wetlands, wooded land, steep slopes), d) any large public infrastructure on or traversing the development land (e.g. transport, water supply, power, telecommunication).
- Developers are encouraged to seek variances from regulations mandating lower floor area ratio caps, or dwelling unit density caps, to obtain full points.
- Calculate the development’s average density using local GFA calculation standards as appropriate.
- Identify two recently completed comparable projects that fit the following criteria:
(a) built in comparable areas within the same city
(b) similar in terms of land use regulation
(c) similar in terms of market strength
(d) similar in size and type of project
(e) densest to date.
- Calculate a baseline density by averaging the FAR of the comparative projects.
- Compare the development’s average density to the baseline density.
Principle 7: COMPACT
The basic organizational principle of dense urban development is compact development. In a compact city, or a compact district, the various activities and uses are conveniently located close together, minimizing the time and energy required to reach them and maximizing the potential for interaction.
A. The development is in, or next to, an existing urban area
- “Built-up” adjoining sites/property includes previously developed sites that have been cleared.
- Adjoining properties that include transport infrastructure, such as railways and motorways, protected landscape, water bodies (lake, rivers) or other natural topography that inhibits development should be considered “built-up”.
- Divide the development site boundaries into four sections (each equaling approximately 25% of the total length of the development boundary).
- Count number of sides that adjoin existing built-up sites.
B. Traveling through the city is convenient
- Regular transit lines or routes, including non-BRT buses and para-transit modes, can be considered a transit option if the transit line is regularly serviced from 7am to 10pm, with headways of 20 minutes or less.
- Stations on different transit lines should be counted. Different stations which are on the same line only count as one transit option.
- A dense bike share system can be considered one transit option.
- Identify all applicable high-capacity, regular, para-transit, and public bicycle station options within walking distance, excluding the primary transit station used for scoring Metric 4.1.
Principle 8: SHIFT
When cities are shaped by the above seven principles, personal motor vehicles become largely unnecessary in day-to-day life. Walking, cycling and the use of high-capacity transit are easy and convenient, and can be supplemented by a variety of intermediary transit modes and rented vehicles that are much less space-intensive. Scarce and valuable urban space resources can be reclaimed from unnecessary roads and parking, and can be reallocated to more socially and economically productive uses. The performance objective below focuses on these benefits.
A. The land occupied by motor vehicles is minimized.
- Include all surface parking lots, total floor area of structured parking facilities, and related driveways starting from the access property line.
- Exempt the parking places and driveway reserved for car share service, people with disabilities, and essential service vehicles, such as firefighting, ambulance and emergency medical service, construction and maintenance service, and loading docks.
- Quantify the cumulative area of all non-exempt off-street parking areas and driveways.
- Quantify the total land area.
- Divide the first measure by the second to calculate the ratio of parking area to land area.
- Driveways are here defined as paths for motor vehicles that cross pedestrian areas and walkways to connect to off-street parking or loading facilities.
- Vehicle connections to off-street parking and loading facilities that do not intersect a walkway or reduce the completeness of the walkway network are not counted as driveways for this metric.
- Quantify the total length of block frontage and divide by 100 meters.
- Quantify the total number of driveways that intersect a walkway.
- Divide the second measure by the first to calculate a driveway density average.
- Excludes right-of-ways dedicated to cycling, buses, pedestrians, and pedestrian priority streets.
- Quantify the total area of traffic lanes, including but not double-counting intersection space.
- Quantify the total area of parking lanes.
- Sum both measures.
- Quantify the total land area of the development site, extended to the centerline of peripheral streets.
- Divide the third measure by the fourth to calculate a percentage of land paved for on-street parking and traffic.