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SEPTA launches new program to expand transit access

The Transit Supportive Community Development (TSCD) Program is part of the SEPTA Forward initiative, which promotes healthy, sustainable and vibrant…

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On Oct. 26, SEPTA announced the launch of the Transit Supportive Community Development (TSCD) Program, a new program that will aim to expand access to transit. 

The new program will allow SEPTA to do so by shaping development near SEPTA services, which will lead to increased ridership, improved social equity, the stabilization of SEPTA’s financial base and reduced reliance on cars.

It is a key initiative of SEPTA Forward, the Authority’s five-year strategic plan to support healthy, sustainable and vibrant communities across the Pennsylvania region.

The TSCD program contrasts from traditional transit-oriented development programs, as it will guide and support development along corridors with frequent transit service, rather than just strictly near SEPTA stations. 

“Making our communities easier to navigate by transit, walking, or biking enables more people to take advantage of SEPTA’s frequent network and upcoming transformational service improvements laid out in SEPTA Forward,” said SEPTA CEO & General Manager Leslie S. Richards, in a press release.

“Development that supports and expands access to transit is key to reaping the benefits of public transportation, like reduced greenhouse gas emissions, reduced household transportation costs, and increased social mobility,” she added. 

SEPTA views TSCD as a critical component of its efforts to create the seamless, equitable transit network that was envisioned when the SEPTA Forward plan was initially laid out, as SEPTA is a major driver of the regional economy as well as an essential service provider. 

According to a May 2019 report, SEPTA generates more than $3 billion in annual statewide economic activity, and proximity to SEPTA services contribute to a premium of $33 billion in housing value across the region.  

We are excited to launch a program that makes an inclusive, safe, and sustainable future possible,” said Richards. 

In partnership with the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Planning Association, SEPTA will be hosting a webinar on Wednesday, Nov. 3 that will include an overview of the program, and panelists who will share best practices from Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and San Francisco. 

To further allow individuals to learn about the TSCD program, SEPTA has created a website about the project and its next steps. 

Beginning this year, SEPTA will develop guidelines that will provide clear guidance to developers on construction on or near SEPTA’s property, encourage equitable transit-oriented development with the Authority’s partners and detail the overall process.

This is just one of a series of efforts SEPTA has undertaken within the umbrella of SEPTA Forward, which includes Bus Revolution, a comprehensive redesign of the bus network; Trolley Modernization and King of Prussia Rail.

More information about the TSCD program can be found here

This article is part of Broke in Philly, a collaborative reporting project among more than 20 news organizations focused on economic mobility in Philadelphia. Read all of our reporting at brokeinphilly.org.

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