Public Transportation, Walkability, and Livability

Transit-Oriented Development in Central Massachusetts


Transit-oriented development is an exciting trend resulting in vibrant, livable, and sustainable communities. Primarily centered around rail, these areas are pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use communities consisting of office, residential, retail, and cultural amenities. These neighborhoods are also walk-, bicycle-, and scooter-friendly and often have include a bikeshare rental system. Easily accessible transit, including public and private bus service, provides a lower-stress lifestyle without complete dependence on a car. Real estate developers have quickly acted to meet the demand incorporating specialized, commuter-related retail such as cafes, grocery stores, and dry cleaners.

Benefits of transit-oriented development are plenty and include: a higher quality of life; greater and easier mobility; reduced traffic congestion, car accidents, and injuries; decreased household spending on transportation, resulting in additional spending on other lifestyle choices; a healthier lifestyle with more walking; more stable property values; increased foot traffic for local businesses; and a reduced dependence on foreign oil and fossil-fuel pollution.

Nearly 70 percent of Worcester employees live outside the city creating road congestion and disruption with unpredictable commute times. This session will be focused on regional and national best practices and discuss how Worcester can leverage its central location and first-class intermodal hub at Union Station to increase this type of development.

MODERATOR: Barbara Fields, President & CEO  |  Greater Worcester Community Foundation
Harriette Chandler, Senate President
Tracy Corley, Ph.D., Transit-Oriented Development Fellow  |  Gateway Cities Innovation Institute at Mass Inc.
Joshua Lee Smith, Partner  |  Bowditch & Dewey

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