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Research Projects

STATUS: Complete YEAR: 2017 TOPIC AREA: Vehicles and infrastructure CENTER: NCST

Transit-Oriented Development Opportunities Among Failing Malls

Project Summary

Project number: NCST-17-03

Funding source: US DOT

Contract number: 69A3551747109

Funding amount: $15,000

Performance period: 09/01/2017 to 08/31/2018


Link to white paper:


Project Description:

This paper explores opportunities for the redevelopment of failing regional shopping malls as Transit-Oriented Developments (TODs) to improve transit ridership, focusing on Southern California. In effect, the study suggests an alternative to the typical sequence of first providing transit infrastructure and then changing land uses and densities to develop a TOD around new transit stations. Instead, the study suggests that failing shopping malls can provide the footprint for their redevelopment as TODs that could then be linked to transit lines. The study focuses on several major topics and reviews recent literature on the following steps in the argument for this policy:


1. The rationale for redeveloping declining malls as TODs, the supporting federal and California policies for TODs, and evidence for how different characteristics of TODs and their combination can reduce vehicle miles traveled, air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions;


2. The issues that hinder the development of TODs around transit stations, e.g., difficulties in up-zoning, land assembly; loss of existing affordable housing;


3. Changes in retail, focusing on factors affecting the closing of shopping malls, e.g., the effect of Internet shopping on shopping malls, and the increasing failure of shopping malls; and


4. The potential and rationale for the redevelopment of failing regional malls into TODs.



Hilda Blanco
Research Professor, USC Price School of Public Policy
650 Childs Way
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States
[email protected]