Success of any Transit Oriented Development depends on the effective use of implementation mechanisms for land use planning, land value capture and travel demand management. By shaping the components of a TOD, these enablers link it with the larger city planning processes and goals. As seen in the global practices, enabling mechanisms are of three types – Land-Use Planning Mechanisms, Process Mechanisms and Financial mechanisms.
Land-Use Planning & Design Mechanisms
It includes land-use master plan, overlay plans, influence zone plans, comprehensive mobility plan and other planning and visioning documents which outline a city or region’s plan for growth in the future. The significance of these documents is three fold. First, they present a city’s vision for long term growth and development, second, they outline the land-use and mobility structure of the city and third, they are legally binding in nature and they regulate development. Through a land-use document, a city can establish a statutory framework for the implementation of a development project. This also means that the projects are developed, allowing room for necessary adjustments across the city.
Synergy between Transport and Land use
(Source: Master Plan of Delhi, 2021)
A Master Plan is critical in implementation of a Zonal plan or other mechanisms including Land Assembly under Town Planning Scheme. An example would be the Master Plan of Delhi 2021. Its language enables the preparation of a comprehensive redevelopment scheme for the influence area of an MRTS stations. Initially, the draft MPD-2021 proposed that the influence zones of MRTS stations be further classified into three zone categories with certain location thresholds (Hiroaki Suzuki, 2015). But this structure of the influence zone has been changed to into a continuous area within 500 m depth on either side from the center line of MRTS in MPD 2021 TOD Gazetted Notification in July 2015.
Delhi’s use of influence zone is similar to San Diego’s 1992 ordinance which created Urban Village Overlay Zones to promote compact infill development around the transit nodes (trolley stops) (Bhishna Bajracharya, 2005).
Form Based Codes are documents which define the physical shape and design of a built form. These are useful tools in preserving the heritage and culture of a historic neighbourhood. It can also be used to preserve commercial facades, define building envelopes and to in general preserve the activity in a given public space.
Land-Use Planning and Design Mechanisms are important tools in the process of developing a TOD as they provide the statutory framework necessary for various changes in land-use, densities and design of the TOD. Appropriate land-use and design mechanisms may even act as a prerequisite for the process mechanisms. Delhi and Ahmedabad demonstrate this by creating policies for moving the process forward. In reality though policies which can be restrictive for a long period of time (through master planning exercises) and infact discourage higher density living. Hence having a framework that gives the flexibility to city managers to guide the development is undoubtedly a practical approach. Singapore and Hong Kong exemplify this approach by varying their densities, floor space index in response to market demand on an ongoing basis (Bertaud, 2014).
They are mostly command and control tools and economic instruments which mobilise the projects of all sizes and shapes. These mechanisms include land assembly, transfer of development, establishment of partnerships between local jurisdiction, transit and other regional agencies along with the private sector. Land assembly is among the most complex of processes and a critical step in the densification of a neighbourhood. For the most part, land assembly in India has been conducted through two methods – land acquisition (based on the principle of Eminent Domain) and land pooling and readjustment. Eminent Domain refers to the power of the state or public planning authorities and development agencies to acquire land (with appropriate compensation) for the purpose of public use.
Land Acquisition can enable rapid availability of adequate amount of land for development, provided most of the owners agree for sale. It provides almost a clean slate for the new master plan for the assembled land as the value of the land appreciates, it provides opportunity for the development authority to accrue the benefits (Ballaney). One of the acts governing the process of land acquisition is the Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act of 2013.
Urban Growth Boundary
Urban Growth Boundary, as in case of Portland, is a mechanism for managing growth. The Metro Council in 1995 suggested “concentrating development in urban growth boundaries, with some extent of satellite development”. On its basis, Portland prepared its growth management strategy called “2040 Growth Plan” which features a tight Urban Growth Boundary focusing growth in transit centres and corridors, and asks local governments to limit parking, and adopt zoning and comprehensive plan changes to be consistent with the plan.
Land Acquisition faces multiple barriers as listed below:
- Land title disputes
- Proving legitimacy of public use
- Displacement of land owners and loss of livelihood
- Compensation delays and disputes
- Development and redistribution of land
- Hold outs for speculation
- Poor capture of the appraisal of land value by the land owners after development
- Low participation of land owners in the decision making process, particularly when public use has been legitimately established.
As a result, land readjustment and pooling techniques are being used in many parts of the country as an efficient alternative. One of these is a Town Planning Scheme or TPS. A Town Planning Scheme adopts a different approach by engaging the land owners with the development authority for the planning process. In this land pooling/readjustment method, the development authority prepares a master plan for the given area, lays out the infrastructure and distributes the remaining land back to the land owners. There is no land acquisition in the process. Instead, the land owners are charged a betterment fee to pay for the infrastructure development. This allows the land owners to benefit from the appreciation of the land value and enables them to retain their livelihoods. It also means the method can be long and complicated. The method been successfully used in development of Magarpatta, Pune and in Gujarat for development of Sardar Patel Ring Road in Ahmedabad, Outer Ring Road in Surat, BRTS in Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Vadodara and Surat. Land Pooling is used in different countries, including Australia and Finland (I.P.Gautam, 2012). Transfer of Development Rights is another land readjustment technique. It enables the planners to direct additional development as required, along with improvements to infrastructure, using finances generated through the process.
Transferable Development Rights (TDRs) are essentially the rights to develop built space on land that can be transferred (Nallathiga, 2014):
I. horizontally from one location to another location (ex situ),
II. vertically from surface to above or below (in situ)
Each piece of land has a potential for development defined by the property zoning, land-use and development control regulation (Nallathiga, 2014). The differential development potential of land can be utilised in a positive manner to preserve certain land-uses which are required to be kept with little or no development on site; while at the same time, this unutilised development potential needs to be tapped for beneficial use in other sector – such as residential housing (Nallathiga, 2014). TDRs essentially serve as a mechanism to achieve this objective. In case of Mumbai, the TDR program was initially started with the intention of acquiring land for public amenities i.e., reservations such as green spaces, gardens and playgrounds, and for road construction. In addition, the award of TDR was also made applicable to plot/land owners if they construct/develop the public amenities (or, planned reservations) as per the rules under DCR. The TDR scheme was later extended to achieve other purposes of city development like slum housing, conservation of built heritage, and even for the development/provision of public amenities that were otherwise to be provided by the MCGM (Nallathiga, 2014).
The challenge in the land assembly processes is the capture of the land value which increases with the improvements made to the land. There are different mechanisms that can capture this value, which fall into the category of financial mechanisms.
They are of two kinds: the first involves mobilisation of financial resources (which includes capture of land value) and the second involves use of financial tools to enhance quality of life within a TOD through behaviour change. Traditionally, financial resources come from either the central or state government sponsored schemes, such as JnNURM, through land monetisation driven EPC or PPP or through land value capture. EPC and PPP are driven through debt servicing or partnership equity. Land is also a major financial resource which can fund development. Its value can be captured in two ways- monetisation through sale or land and/or air rights or by capture of financial value accrued by the improvement of transit, quality of life and comfort. Any improvement to a transit system leads to a direct increase in the value of the land due to improved accessibility, infrastructure, service delivery and quality of life.
Monetisation of land in also seen in some TPS schemes in Gujarat where a small portion of land is acquired from the owner in exchange of providing infrastructure services instead of charging a betterment fee. This land is then assembled and either used for the infrastructure provision or sold to generate funds for financing the infrastructure improvements and other development.
Value capture is distinct from the user charges or fees that agencies collect once services start being delivered on the infrastructure. Value capture relies more on the intrinsic accretion of value increase in the location of the private land once public infrastructure is implemented in its vicinity. Different ways of capturing land value in India include- Land value tax, Fees for changing land-use, Land Value Increment Tax, Area based Development Charges, Value based Development Charges, Transfer of Development Rights and Incentive FSI, Premium on relaxation of rules or additional FSI, Charges for regularisation of unauthorised development, Land Acquisition and Development and Town Planning Schemes.
Giving teeth to the guidelines
Cities often have guidelines or advisory documents instead of regulations and policies in many cases. Guidelines are simply recommendations which should be implemented, but they are not mandatory. One of the simplest examples here is the case of street guidelines, which have been developed in many cities across the country(including Delhi and Chennai), yet they carry little weight due to their advisory nature. Area Based Development within a Smart City Proposal or a city’s Transit Oriented Development Policy, present an opportunity to turn such advisory documents into regulations and policies. Bhubaneswar has proposed this in its Area Based Development, where it is implementing a complete streets policy to diversify its mode share.
The second part of financial mechanisms is the use of financial tools for bringing about a change in the user behaviour. Using congestion fees in a CBD area, or enforcing high on-street parking prices would be an example of de-incentivising use of cars in a dense walkable neighbourhood. Implementing subsidies for public transit fare, or implementing single fare system are examples of financial incentives for using public transit. An example of this is Pune’s draft for public parking policy, where it is proposed use of parking cost as a tool to discourage car use and promote transit ridership and walking.
All these mechanisms work at different stages of building a transit oriented development. From assembling land to implementing parking policies, each of them depend on the institutional capacities of various city agencies and departments. The purpose of the enablers is to mobilise the development process. Many of these mechanisms take time and coordination of various other processes. Thus, they need a comprehensive and proactive approach to ensure success.