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Livability Policies and Provisions

FTA Livability Policies and Provisions

All of FTA’s programs work to enhance the livability of communities by providing transportation options for people and communities across the country. FTA’s grant programs provide flexibility for communities to make investments in transit as part of multimodal transportation networks, with connections to improved facilities for walking and bicycling, and encouragement of transit oriented developments. The programs below represent highlights of the policies and provisions specifically intended to help communities improve their quality of life by identifying investments in transit.  Note:  Most of these policies/provisions do not have designated funding sources associated with them.  Rather, these elements are eligible for Federal transit funds under appropriate FTA grant programs.

Transit Oriented Development

FTA encourages Transit Oriented Developments (TODs) through its grants, programs, research, and technical assistance, and various partnerships.  Transit-oriented development (TOD) is defined as compact, mixed-use development near transit facilities with high-quality walking environments. TODs create sustainable communities where people of all ages and incomes have transportation and housing choices, increasing location efficiency where people can walk, bike and take transit.  In addition, TODs boost transit ridership and reduce automobile congestion, providing value for both the public and private sectors, while creating a sense of community and place.  Transit elements of TOD are eligible for FTA funding.

Joint Development

A specific form of transit-oriented development that is often project specific, taking place on, above, or adjacent to transit agency property that was acquired (in whole or in part) with Federal transit funds.  It involves the common use of transit-owned property for transit and non-transit (public or private) purposes.  Proximity to rapid transit has been shown to enhance economic development and can increase the opportunity for fostering community and development partnerships. Joint development activities are subject to FTA review for eligibility of transit funding.

Transit Enhancements (MS Word)

The term "transit enhancement" (TE) means projects or project elements that are designed to enhance mass transportation service or use and are physically or functionally related to transit facilities. FTA’s Urbanized Area Formula Grant Program requires at least 1% of money to be used for transit enhancements. Transit enhancement activities might include landscaping, public art, bus shelters, bicycle access and storage facilities, signage, access for persons with disabilities, and historic preservation. Other transit enhancement funding is also available under the Surface Transportation Program (STP).

Bike and Pedestrian (PDF)

Federal surface transportation law provides tremendous flexibility to States, metropolitan planning organizations, and transit agencies to fund bicycle and pedestrian improvements from a wide variety of programs. As such, funding from FTA grant programs can be used for bicycle facilities and access; and pedestrian related enhancements connected to transit facilities. To view our recent Federal Register Notice on bike and pedestrian improvements click on the link above. The following link provides detailed information about Bicycle/Pedestrian opportunities through FHWA and FTA ( Please refer to additional information.

Intercity Bus (5311(f))

The Intercity Bus program under FTA’s nonurbanized Area formula grant program supports the connection between nonurbanized areas and the larger regional or national system of intercity bus service. The program provides critical transit access to residents in nonurbanized areas to employment, health, educational, and other important “human” services and opportunities.

Art in Transit

“Art in Transit” is an example of the quality of life initiatives FTA is able to support through the Urbanized Area Formula Grant Program, Surface Transportation Program (STP), and other funding sources.  FTA program funds may be used for the costs of design, fabrication, and installation of art that is part of a transit facility. FTA’s Art in Transit program encourages the creation of transit facilities that are integral components of communities. Information about the character, makeup, and history of the neighborhood can be included in the public art through artist involvement with the local residents and businesses.

Updated: Wednesday, March 16, 2016
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