Transit-Oriented Development

Transit-Oriented Development



OurWinnipeg and the Complete Communities Direction Strategy provide a proactive blueprint on how Winnipeg will grow and develop over the next twenty-five years. With the introduction of Rapid Transit, a portion of Winnipeg’s future growth can be accommodated in Rapid Transit Corridors – which are identified as Transformative Areas in OurWinnipeg - Complete Communities. The Parker Lands Major Redevelopment Site (MRS) is one of four sites that will be guided by Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Principles.

TOD Principles recognize that public investments in transit are not just investments in transportation infrastructure, but investments in city building and economic development. TOD focuses on compact growth within an easy walk of transit stations, bringing potential riders closer to transit facilities, and promotes increased ridership by making riding transit that much easier.

TOD encourages the creation of a mixed-use, higher density pedestrian-oriented infill development within a five to ten minute (400m – 800m) walk of a Transit Station.


TOD Handbook

Winnipeg’s Transit-Oriented Development Handbook (TOD Handbook) was endorsed as policy (TR-006) by Winnipeg Council on February 22, 2012.

The TOD Handbook project was conducted by GB Arrington of PB PlaceMaking, a leading consulting firm in TOD and a multi-departmental City of Winnipeg technical advisory committee consisting of members of Planning, Property and Development, Public Works, Water and Waste, Winnipeg Transit, Winnipeg Parking Authority, and others.

The TOD Handbook is a high-level framework document that guides and facilitates mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented infill development along rapid transit corridors and high-frequency transit corridors. This is based on best practices, lessons learned from other jurisdictions, and contains multiple case studies. This document is one of the 'implementation documents' identified in the Complete Communities Direction Strategy.

The TOD Handbook is a synthesis of “best practice” TOD principles to assist policymakers, developers, the Public Service, and members of the public in Winnipeg to facilitate the broader implementation of TOD.

Winnipeg Transit-Oriented Development Handbook, endorsed by council in 2012.


The TOD Handbook is organized into three main sections:

A.     Overview of TOD - What TOD is, presents benefits and challenges of TOD, and discusses the relationship of the transit station to the surrounding land uses.

B.     Core Principles of TOD - Presents the six key principles every successful TOD should include.

Supporting each principle is a best practice case study. These six principles directly influence the land use, circulation, urban form and overall performance of a place. The six principles of TOD are:

  1. Medium to High Density Development that is Greater than the Community Average.
    1. Highest densities immediately around the transit station, tapering down to transition density at the edges of the TOD following the core-centre-edge concept.
    2. Density at levels to support high quality transit. The general rule of thumb is that doubling density equates to a 60 percent increase in transit trips.
    3. 15 - 17 dwelling units per hectare [du/ha] (6-7 dwelling units per acre [du/ac]) on net average for a street bus line.
    4. 22 - 62 du/ha (9-25 du/ac) on net average for rapid transit.
    5. Site design for major projects should allow for intensification of densities over time.
    6. Minimum density should be a high percentage of the density maximum (e.g. minimum density is 80% of maximum density).
    7. Retail and office uses located closest to the transit station.


  2. A Mix of Uses.
    1. “Active” first floor uses oriented to serve pedestrians along key street edges.
    2. “Active” first floor uses oriented to serve pedestrians along key street edges.
    3. A mix of uses including residential, commercial, service, employment, and public uses.
    4. Vertical and horizontal mixed-use.
    5. Land uses that emphasize pedestrians and de-emphasize motorists within 400 metres (1/4 mile) of transit.
    6. Discourage the introduction of new auto-oriented uses nearest to transit.
    7. A mix of uses consistent with the character, needs, opportunities, and constraints of the area.


  3. Compact, High Quality Pedestrian-Oriented Environment.
    1. Blocks sized for a 5-minute walk. A suggested maximum of 122 metres (400 feet), or a circumference of 488 metres (1,600 feet).
    2. Entrances oriented to be easily accessible from the public sidewalk.
    3. Interconnected multi-modal streets and pedestrian paths connecting to the street system.
    4. Streets designed to calm traffic.
    5. Centrally located, secure and convenient bicycle parking.
    6. Wide sidewalks. The more dense the development, the wider the sidewalk. In residential neighbourhoods, the suggested width should be 3 - 3.75 metres, from the face of curb to back of sidewalk (10 - 12 feet). Mixed-use main streets should be 4.25 -5.5 metres (14-18 feet). High-density urban centres should be 5 – 7 metres (16 - 24 feet).
    7. Lanes, as appropriate, for dedicated service and delivery access point for commercial businesses.
    8. Street trees to soften the urban environment by blending natural features with built features.
    9. Pedestrian-scale lighting to enhance visibility and safety.
    10. High quality architectural design and detail conveying a sense of place and relating to the street and the pedestrian environment, including active first floor storefront with windows, awnings, architectural features, lighting and landscaping.


  4. An Active Defined Centre.
    1. A sense of vitality, a ‘people place’ with a compact urban form that is oriented toward walking and a mix of uses.
    2. Responsive to the fundamentals of market supply and demand (i.e., provide the products and services that are desired and needed in the local community).
    3. Highest density of buildings nearest the transit station, following the core-centre-edge concept.
    4. Different locations within a centre with different functions, such as residential, retail, employment, civic, cultural and recreation.
    5. Employment uses closest to the transit station. For every 30 metres (100 feet) from the station, the share of office workers using transit drops by about one percent.
    6. Buildings are typically taller than the surrounding area, oriented close to the street with window displays and main entrances.


  5. Innovative Parking Strategies.
    1. Parking provided on an area basis (i.e., shared uses) rather than building by building.
    2. Reduced parking requirements through zoning by-laws, such as parking maximums.
    3. Parking facilities located behind buildings, in parking structures with ground floor retail, and screened from adjacent land uses.
    4. On-street parking on all streets except limited access arterials.
    5. Parking design integrated with the development to relate to the streetscape and circulation routes.
    6. Paid parking or time-limited free parking.


  6. Public Leadership.
    1. “Political will” aligned with the TOD objectives.
    2. New and modified policies and by-law language to achieve the TOD goals.
    3. Continued collaborative relationships with developers to encourage and facilitate TOD.
    4. Corridor strategies to identify priorities, and linkages between station areas & surrounding context.
    5. Station area plans and improvements incorporated into the City’s capital improvements budget.
    6. Necessary staff and capital resources dedicated to carry out implementation.
    7. Commitment to innovative development, a flexible approach, and removal of challenges to development.


C.     Tools for Implementing TOD - Builds on the core principles and presents tools that can be used to make TOD a reality.

These include:

  • Considerations for Locating TOD;
  • Components that should be included in TOD Station Area Plans;
  • Implementation Toolbox; and
  • TOD types or ‘typologies to consider for Rapid Transit Stations.


TOD Station Typology – Urban Neighbourhood

"In my experience only one station typology applies to a station, the aspiration is for the place to become an urban centre or to be a town centre as a district. Not both. Within that district it is expected there will be a mix of uses and intensities which collectively contribute to achieving the net density desired for the district.”

[GB Arrington, Author of the TOD Handbook, in communication with John Wintrup, May 31, 2017].

The TOD Handbook Station Typologies define six (6) possible types of Rapid Transit Stations based on:

1) land-use mix.

2) net housing density,

3) regional connectivity, and

4) frequency of transit,

TOD Zones Typology – Urban Neighbourhood identified in ‘Yellow’.





TOD Assessment Tool

The TOD Handbook identifies the Parker Lands as fitting the TOD Urban Neighbourhood Typology:



TOD Zoning District

On December 14, 2016, Council enacted By-law No. 135/2016 which added the TOD zoning district as a Residential Zoning District Type to Winnipeg Zoning By-law 200/2006 to "provide standards for transit-oriented development at other existing and future rapid transit stations” [page 8, Public Service Report Exhibit 3 File DAZ 214/2016].


According to the UPD's Public Service Report for DAZ 214/2016, which proposes the TOD Zoning District as a ‘Residential District’:


The first leg of Winnipeg’s rapid transit system went into operation in April of 2012. One of the pillars of the City’s rapid transit strategy is transit-oriented development. Transit-Oriented Development (“TOD”) supports the city-building vision of OurWinnipeg and the Complete Communities Development Strategy. It is a concept designed to maximize access to public transport, and typically involves mixed-use, higher density pedestrian-oriented infill development adjacent to rapid transit stations.


Because transit-oriented development includes common attributes, regardless of where it occurs, the Winnipeg Public Service recommends creating a standard set of TOD regulations embedded within a new zoning district that development proponents can apply for.

The proposed intent statement for the TOD Zoning District within the Zoning By-law would indicate that it may be used for sites adjacent to rapid transit stations where there is an endorsed or adopted area plan in place.

The Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) district is intended to facilitate mixed use development at a scale and density exceeding all other districts. These sites are intended to be adjacent to rapid transit stations with a Council endorsed local area plan in place to guide development. Site design should fulfill the objectives of the Transit-Oriented Development Handbook. 


TOD Net Housing Density

The net area of the developable lands not including the park dedication area and public rights-of-way equals approximately 30.82 acres with 12.73 acres on the west side of the site of mixed housing (single-family, duplexes, triplex and quadplex townhomes) and 18.09 acres on the east side of the site of multiple family (+3 stories).


There are a couple ways identified to calculate the Net Housing Density within a TOD Zone:

  • The TOD Zoning By-law ‘Minimum Lot Area per Dwelling Unit’ is 200 square feet. This yields a maximum potential number of units of 6,712.6 units for the Fulton Grove development.
  • The TOD Handbook indicates for 'Urban Neighbourhood Zone’ that the Net Housing Density is 40-100 units per acre. This would yield a range of 1,233 to 3,082 units for the Fulton Grove development
  • The GEM proposed density for the Fulton Grove development is a Net Housing Density of 62.23 units per acre or 1,918 units for the whole site.


The GEM proposal for housing density falls exactly within the 'Urban Neighbourhood' of the TOD Handbook for the frequency of buses for a transit station on the Southwest Rapid Transit Corridor Line; and is well below the maximum density under the Zoning By-law regulations for the TOD Zone.