TTOD Planning and Design Competition

Proposal Deadline Approaching + Updated Guidelines

Transfomative Transit-Oriented Development Planning and Design Competition Call for Proposals

Proposal deadline approaching!

Thank you to everyone who has expressed interest in submitting a project to our TTOD Planning and Design Competition! Many project teams have given us sneak previews of their design, planning, and research projects. We look forward to receiving your final proposals on January 12, 2020.

This competition connects student teams with Gateway City planning/development teams and community-based organizations (CBOs)/advocacy groups to create an innovative plan or project that will connect important places of activity and growth with high-capacity transit hubs. Each proposal can be a visionary plan, pilot program, or tactical project in transit-oriented districts—the half-mile areas around multimodal train stations or bus hubs.

Each proposal and final project should clearly demonstrate how it will catalyze the virtuous fiscal, environmental, and equitable growth benefits we identify in our 2018 TTOD report. We also encourage submissions that prioritize improving access to rail and other public transit, and non-motorized, active transport options (walking, biking, scooter).

If you’re a student team or faculty member who is interested in participating, please contact us as soon as possible so that we can match you with one of our interested Gateway Cities.

2020 Competition Schedule (Updated 12/18/19)

  • November 20, 2019 — MassINC hosts the optional equitable TOD workshop in Worcester (in-person participants only).
  • November 2019 to January 2020 — Where needed, MassINC matches cities and students along with community/nonprofit partners.
  • January 12, 2020 — Deadline for student teams to submit proposals on behalf of their project teams. Each proposal must include the contact information for a city supporter and at least one community/nonprofit organization.
  • April 15, 2020 — Final TOD or project plans are due.
  • April 27, 2020 — State House Finalists and Winners Recognition Event.

Proposal Components

  • Student team of at least three graduate students. All team members must be actively enrolled during the Fall 2019 and Winter 2020 semesters. If students are enrolled at different colleges or universities, the application must address how the students will manage collaborating with each other.
  • Contact information for student team’s faculty advisor(s). If the team consists of students from different schools, all must be working with the same faculty advisor.
  • Contact information for contact person(s) with your Gateway City planning and/or development team.
  • Statement of support from at least one CBOs and/or advocacy groups, indicating contact person with each organization/group. See this page for more detail about community involvement
  • Summary of proposed intervention (proposal), written and submitted by the student team.
  • Demonstrated attention to the TTOD points:
    • Relevance – Has the project team demonstrated understanding of selected city’s challenges in improving regional connectivity, mobility, and accessibility through the city’s transit-oriented district?
    • Innovation – How unique and forward-thinking is the proposed intervention compared to existing options for improving people’s connectivity, accessibility, and mobility in the given context? Or does the intervention apply existing or simple solutions in new ways?
    • Feasibility – How realistic is the scope, scale, and budget of the intervention? Can it be absorbed into the city’s existing budget or will it need additional funding? Can it be institutionalized for moving the project forward? How does it fit within other municipal priorities and planning cycles?
    • Participation – Has the group included marginalized groups in early discussions, project planning/design, and predicted outcomes? How will CBO’s be involved throughout the process?
    • Equity – Does the intervention leverage the city’s transit-oriented district to improve regional mobility, connectivity, and access for people of many ages, abilities, classes, and cultures? Does it consider the city’s additional needs beyond jobs and housing, such as cultural activities, social services, and educational opportunities?
  • Proposals must be no more than two 8.5”x11” (letter-sized) pages, 10 pt. Times New Roman, single-spaced. Maps, team member bios, and other reference documents can be submitted as separate attachments, no more than 10 additional pages.

Please submit all proposals and attachments as PDF files to ttod at

Final Project Submission Requirements

  • PDF file of project deliverables as defined by the city (examples include reports, maps, design documents, etc.)
  • Up to six slides or a project poster in PDF or PowerPoint format that summarizes the problem, student team’s approach & methodology, recommended solutions, and further considerations for the Gateway City
  • (Optional) Proposed budget and workplan for implementing recommendations
Please submit all final project files as PDF/PPTX files to ttod at If files are too large to email, please contact us to arrange for submission methods.

Project Scoring Factors

  • Diversity of disciplines among student team
  • Diversity and inclusion among student team, city participants, and participating CBOs
  • Strength of recommendation letters
  • Depth and breadth of public engagement
  • Time and cost feasibility of the proposed plan or intervention.
  • Integration of the abovementioned points

Winner Prizes

  • Feature at a State House event
  • Feature on all finalists and winners on MassINC website and other communications
  • Feature in a Gateways Podcast
  • Admission to a TTOD National Event in 2020
  • Recognition at 2020/2021 TTOD Regional Forum for their project’s region
  • Connection with potential funders and other implementation support (where feasible)

Thank you for participating! If you have questions or feedback, please contact Rachel Klein or Tracy Corley.

Meet The Authors

Tracy A. Corley, PhD

Transit-Oriented Development Fellow, MassINC

Rachel Klein

Tisch Scholars Intern, MassINC

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