The Transformative Transit-Oriented
Development (TTOD) Initiative is MassINC’s multi-year effort to advance strategic state policy for Gateway City growth and renewal

In an age when many residents prefer to live and work in transit-accessible locations, cities across the US are building rail and bus rapid transit lines to spur growth through transit-oriented development.

The Gateway Cities Innovation Institute kicked off its TTOD Initiative in April 2018 with the release of a study quantifying the potential opportunity and impact of transit-oriented development in 13 Gateway Cities with current or planned commuter rail service. Until 2021, we will expand this foundational research to test a range of strategies that improve the transit rider experience by promoting frequent, all-day, accessible service and stimulating inclusive growth and development in Gateway Cities and surrounding communities.



More than one way to ‘transform’ a city

Gateways Episode 14

On this week’s episode of Gateways, Dr. Tracy Corley is joined by Noah Koretz, Director of Transformative Development for MassDevelopment. He discusses his Transformative Development Initiative (TDI), a “place and partnership program” that bolsters the economic development efforts of Gateway Cities. We learn about the TDI program especially as it relates to MassINC’s Transformative Transit-Oriented Development

The South Coast Rail opportunity sitting right before our eyes

The Gateway Cities Journal

At a MassINC event held in New Bedford earlier this month, Jean Fox, MassDOT’s South Coast Rail Project Manager, reported that construction to reestablish train service to the region is finally set to begin. You could hear the room full of leaders from Southeastern Mass breath a collective sigh of relief upon receiving the long-awaited news. But

Transformative transit-oriented development greets New Bedford

Gateways Episode 13

On this week’s episode of Gateways, co-hosts Ben and Tracy dissect the high points of MassINC’s regional forum on transformative transit oriented development, held in New Bedford’s historic Whaling Museum on April 8. Speakers include several Gateway City leaders who are working to achieve transformative transit oriented development, such as Mayor Jon Mitchell, Rob May,

Southern Massachusetts TTOD Regional Forum

Event Recap

Last week, MassINC kicked off ourTransformative Transit-Oriented Development (TTOD) Regional Forum Series at the Whaling Museum in New Bedford. The event was co-sponsored by the City of New Bedford, the SouthCoast Development Partnership, and the New Bedford Economic Development Council. The Southern Massachusetts TTOD Regional Forum allowed for community leaders and the civically-engaged to gather

House budget advances Gateway City neighborhood stabilization effort

The Gateway Cities Journal

The FY 2020 House budget released yesterday directs $1 million to MassDevelopment’s Transformative Development Initiative (TDI)-with $750,000 of that earmarked for neighborhood stabilization activities. This represents an important step forward (and a strong show of support) for a concerted effort to create a comprehensive neighborhood stabilization program for Massachusetts. With these funds, MassDevelopment could build

TOD planning takes root in the Heart of the Commonwealth

Gateways Episode 11

In this episode, we hear from Mayor Petty & Jake Sanders from the city of Worcester along with Craig Blais and Roberta Brien of the Worcester Business Development Corporation. They explain how planning is helping transform New England’s second-largest city through transit-oriented development.

A Complex Recipe for Housing Financing

Brockton Offers Formula for Gateway Cities

Rob May, Brock- ton’s director of economic devel- opment and planning, famously offers up his seven-layer dip to any- one with a taste for the city’s downtown. A 121B Urban Re- newal plan forms the base. Then, he mixes in 40Q District Improvement Financing, a 40R Smart Growth Overlay District, a 40V Hous-ing Development Zone and a Transformative Development District.

State House Forum on Stimulating Transformative Investment in Gateway Cities

Event Recap

On February 27, MassINC hosted “Stimulating Transformative Development in Gateway Cities,” a State House forum co-sponsored by LOCUS of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance (MSGA). The event examined state and federal tools that can work in combination to foster transit-oriented development (TOD) in our Gateway Cities, particularly highlighting the importance of HDIP, Opportunity

Hooray for Housing Choice and HDIP

Gateways Episode 8

In this episode of Gateways, co-hosts Ben Forman and Dr. Tracy Corley dive deep into state and federal housing policies that stimulate housing development in Gateway Cities. In response to Gov. Baker’s Housing Choice legislation announcement, they analyze its potential impacts on the quantity and quality of housing across the state. Tune in to Ben

Dr. Corley’s big debut, Crighton and Cabral talk about their bill too

Gateways Episode 6

In this episode of GATEWAYS, Aimee and Ben introduce MassINC’s Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Fellow, Dr. Tracy Corley, who joins the podcast as a new host. We also speak with Representative Cabral and Senator Crighton about the recent neighborhood stabilization bill, which was unveiled last week in the State House by the Gateway Cities Legislative Caucus. Tracy succinctly outlines our

Press coverage

  • Boom in transit ridership could signal big changes for Brockton

    “Brockton was really slow to see any reinvestment and then all of a sudden the city has built a tremendous pipeline,” said Ben Forman, director of MassINC’s Gateway Cities Institute, which studies the state’s substantial collection of mid-sized, formerly industrial cities. Brockton has since “leapfrogged” many of the cities it once lagged behind in terms of housing production, according to Forman.

    Read More…

  • Viewpoint: Affordability, congestion can be solved with smart, bold policies

    A flexible tax credit equal to up to 25 percent of development expenses, HDIP is quietly accumulating an impressive track record breathing new life into abandoned buildings and long-vacant lots near Gateway City train stations. MassINC research shows each dollar in state HDIP funding has leveraged approximately 12 additional dollars. Housing Choice and Opportunity Funds could provide even more leverage in the future, but the state must have credits available to deploy. Currently, HDIP is up against an annual cap of just $10 million.

    Read More…

  • A Complex Recipe for Housing Financing

    Rob May, Brockton’s director of economic development and planning, famously offers up his seven-layer dip to anyone with a taste for the city’s downtown.

    A 121B Urban Renewal plan forms the base. Then, he mixes in 40Q District Improvement Financing, a 40R Smart Growth Overlay District, a 40V Housing Development Zone and a Transformative Development District. He recently has added an Opportunity Zone for a dash of spice. Apparently, a few stout souls have an appetite for this concoction; a downtown that sat idle for four decades has been steadily drawing private investment.

    As a case study for planners and policymakers, May’s seven-layer dip raises two central questions: How do we get other Gateway Cities to make better use of available state and federal development tools? And how do we refine these programs so that form a complementary fabric rather than a conflicting patchwork for cities?

    Read More…

  • Opinion: State should strengthen, not take over, local school committees

    As a result, the strategic plans Massachusetts schools prepare today are anything but strategic. MassINC research shows that these plans don’t allocate resources to meet priorities, they don’t contain measurable goals to hold leaders accountable for results, and, perhaps most tellingly, they aren’t clear and accessible. This leaves parents with little grasp for what their schools are trying to improve upon, and how they can support the effort.

    Read More…

  • Next Stop: The Commuter Rail

    WGBH News’ Bob Seay sits down with President of Transit Matters, Josh Fairchild, Transportation-Oriented Development Fellow of the Gateway Cities Institute at MassINC, Tracy Corley, and Mayor of Salem, Kim Driscoll, to discuss reliability, fare hikes and the future of the Commuter Rail. Watch it here…



Great work, @EricLesser for building broad support for much-needed service. Eases housing crisis & expands talent, location, & partner opps for biz :: Boston City Council supports rail link to Springfield #MassTOD
May 22, 2019
We’re live from @fitchburgart for the Central MA Transformative Transit-Oriented Development (TTOD) Regional Forum. Discussing how Fitchburg, Leominster, Worcester & other cities are using transit-oriented development to transform their cities & surrounding communities. #MassTOD
May 21, 2019
Excellent news for South Shore residents! Parity is equity :: South Shore commuter rail trains to start late-night service #MassTOD
May 22, 2019
Another awesome event, thos time in Fitchburg! Thank you to our amazing panelists and presenter and everyone who attended and engaged in the discussion. So much potential in Central Mass! #MassTOD
May 22, 2019
Thank you @rep_higgins ! 1st time I've ever been called a "rock star"! Must be the stellar company on panel with my longtime friends @chamberworc Tim Murray & @ncmchamber Roy Nascimento as well as @NewVueComm Marc Cohan & Montachusett Opportunity Council Tricia Pistone #masstod
May 21, 2019
My question about how we can advocate for federal grant mechanisms in FAST Act reauthorization for TOD started a small conversation about earmarks, New Starts, and various programs. #MassTOD
May 21, 2019
Like asking local communities to collaborate regionally, state agencies should consider collaboration for more coordinated and equitable outcomes. - Tricia Pistone #TransformativeTOD Regional Forum #MassTOD
May 21, 2019
Learning about the Virtuous Benefit of Transformative Transit-Oriented Development at the #Fitchburg Forum with @MassINC #MassTOD
May 21, 2019
and also former Congresman John Olver! #massToD
May 21, 2019
Excited for a great discussion led by a rockstar panel at the #MassTOD #Fitchburg Forum with the Montachusett Opportunity Council, @NewVueComm, the Worcester Chamber of Commerce, 495/Metrowest Partnership, and @ncmchamber.
May 21, 2019
Incredible research presentation by @tracyacorley on the vast potential for transit-oriented development to promote equitable urban growth #MassTOD @Gatewaycities
May 21, 2019
As the panelists of @MassInc's #MassToD offer praise for the improvements in #FitchburgMA over the past 10 years, I can't help but think of the great work of former Mayor Lisa Wong to help set the stage to help get to this point. @Gatewaycities
May 21, 2019
#MassTOD @ActivateMillSt in @FitchburgMass Walking Tour Downtown Fitchburg for Central Mass TTOD Regional Forum 2019
May 21, 2019
Thanks to @TriciaP7 & Paul Matthews w/ @495MWPtnership for the shout outs to @MAPublicHealth’s work on #healthequity & #RTA’s. #masstod #publictransit
May 21, 2019
In an era of instant contact and delivery, remember that development takes time. Tim Murray @ #TransformativeTOD Regional Forum in Fitchburg #MassTOD
May 21, 2019
Next up in #MassTOD #Fitchburg Forum -- @MassDOT Rail Vision Presentation on 7 Alternatives. I know North Central MA is eager for a more reliable, affordable and cleaner #commuterrail.
May 21, 2019
"Transit oriented development" may not be a familiar term in #publichealth circles yet, but it's a key ingredient in working towards #healthequity . #masstod #SDOH @T4MASS #transportationjustice #affordablehousing
May 21, 2019
. @MassDOT's Alexandra Markiewicz gives a overview of the #RailVision process. #mapoli #MassTOD
May 21, 2019
@MassINC Dr. Tracy Corley giving overview of inter municipal development potential given transit and @MBTA_CR service #masstod
May 21, 2019
I’m proud to represent @MAPublicHealth at @MassINC’s event & eager to learn about #MassToD from Dr Tracy Corley. Thanks for coming to #NorthCentralMA!
May 21, 2019
Dr. Tracy Corley from @MassINC gives a presentation on transformative TOD research for Gateway cities. #mapoli #MassTOD
May 21, 2019
Fitchburg Mayor Stephen DiNatale welcomes everyone to the #MassTOD forum.
May 21, 2019
Honored to be in @CityofFitchburg for @MassINC & serving as panelist for #masstod , with welcoming remarks from @ncmchamber Roy Nascimento
May 21, 2019
From “collective breaking point” to collective victory #mapoli
May 21, 2019
Don't forget: get your tickets today to join the @Gatewaycities Central MA TTOD Forum tomorrow 5/21 in @FitchburgMass & learn all about proposed and active rail service improvements. @MassINC @495MWPtnership @MontachusettRPC #mapoli #montachusett #MassTOD
May 20, 2019
Potential win 4 housing shortage battle? Landlords in low-rent communities who hold out for Boston vouchers (which bring more money than local ones) will have to get real about rental income & stop inflating prices. #MassTOD #HousingChoice #HousingCrisis
May 20, 2019
If you're befuddled as to why the U.S. doesn't have high speed rail, this 16-min. video sheds some light on the topic. It is a game changer for economic and community development in the areas within a few miles of fast, reliable transit. #MassTOD
May 17, 2019

Coming up

Explore research reports

  • MassINC is a key partner to the Boston Foundation, and all of us who are seeking to advance the regional conversation around economic opportunity and a strong quality of life for all.  MassINC's robust, nonpartisan research is exactly what our citizens and leaders need to make good decisions.

    Paul Grogan, President of The Boston Foundation

  • I watch my inbox for CommonWealth magazine’s Daily Download. I can count on the newsletter to tell me succinctly what’s happening in politics and public policy. The magazine itself always delivers in-depth news, analysis and commentary. It's simply outstanding, quality journalism. I am happy to support unbiased reporting through my participation in Citizens Circle.

    Helen Chin Schlichte
    Former Public Administrator; President Emeritus, South Cove Manor at Quincy Point

  • MassINC's long-term dedication to Gateway Cities makes them a valuable resource to all of our communities. They are a true thought partner. They go the distance to help others appreciate our unique opportunities, needs, and perspectives.

    Tim McGourthy Executive Director of the Worcester Regional Research Bureau

  • MassINC serves as a credible, thoughtful resource for all of us who are invested in the future of the Commonwealth. Its emphasis on careful analysis that is grounded in data, research, and polling makes an important contribution to and helps elevate the conversation about the challenges and opportunities facing the region.

    Trevor Pollack, Manager of Special Projects for the Barr Foundation

  • The potential of Massachusetts’ Gateway Cities is limitless. MassINC’s dedicated work in promoting these cities has been, and will continue to be, instrumental in their individual and collective success.

    Jay Ash
    Massachusetts Secretary of Housing and Economic Development and former chair of the Gateway Cities Innovation Institute

  • MassINC has always provided research showing the detrimental impact of the state’s unforgiving criminal justice system on our communities. Their polling confirmed that the public understood the need for change in our system. That criminal justice reform is at the forefront of bipartisan local and national debates today is in no small measure due to MassINC’s persistent and fair commitment to the issue.

    Juliette Kayyem Faculty Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Founder Kayyem Solutions LLC

  • Through my partnership with MassINC, the Building On What Works Coalition is working to unite a diverse collection of civic leaders around an urgent call to encourage the state to act on the progress that has been made ensuring all children in Massachusetts have a true chance to succeed in the state’s economy. MassINC’s research and commitment to data driven public policy are helping to give the children of Massachusetts a better education.

    Kim Driscoll Mayor of Salem

  • MassINC's work with the Gateway Cities is unmatched. As Eastern Bank strives to help businesses in these communities thrive, MassINC has been a tremendous partner, providing data-driven research and affirming that these cities are full of opportunities.

    Bob Rivers Chairman and CEO of Eastern Bank

  • When MassINC speaks, it’s well worth listening. After all, the nonpartisan think tank has established itself as a thoughtful, careful, credible voice on public policy in Massachusetts.

    Scot Lehigh Boston Globe Op-Ed Columnist

  • Few organizations in the country have better understood the important role of governance reform and accountability in education policy and economic development than MassINC.

    Bruce Katz Former Vice President and Founding Director of the Metropolitan Policy Program at The Brookings Institution

  • [MassINC's] understanding of the complexity of the challenges facing the state’s older cities, its belief in the opportunities that present themselves in those communities, and its advocacy of the role that public higher education can and should play in them, has added to the understanding that policy makers need to have as they move our state toward the future.

    Jean MacCormack

Why support massinc?

  • We enjoy what we do.

    Whether it’s planning events, conducting research, or analyzing the news, our team works on projects that we’re passionate about.
  • We develop leaders.

    Former MassINC employees have gone on to work at reputable organizations like Harvard University, Boston University, City Year, EnerNOC, and Governor Baker’s office.  
  • We stick with it.

    Our work on transformative development, which uses public and private funding for projects to revitalize an entire downtown or urban neighbor­hood, began as Policy Center research report in 2013. A year later, the state legislature passed a bill funding transformative development projects across Massachusetts.
  • We are nonpartisan.

    Our Board of Directors includes prominent Massachusetts Democrats and Republicans. We are interested people’s ideas, not which side of the aisle they sit on.
  • We have a complete toolbox.

    We aren’t just a think tank. We bring nonpartisan research, civic engagement, journalism, and independent polling together under one roof.
  • We have state-wide reach.

    We know that Beacon Hill isn’t the only place to make progress. We’re on the ground in cities across the state working with local leaders.
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