Policy Solution

Transit-oriented development

Funding and Financing


Summary: Transport is a major contributor to the urban heat island effect. Transit-oriented development (TOD) reduces reliance on cars and promotes dense, mixed-use areas that are accessible by public transit, walkable, and bikable. Governments often face barriers to TOD related to regulatory hurdles and market limitations. Offering TOD-supportive incentives and financing can help move projects forward.

Implementation: Establish grant programs for TOD projects to subsidize funding gaps.

Considerations for Use: Common barriers in TOD projects are City land use regulations like single-use zoning, low maximum-density regulations, and high minimum-parking ratios. Coordination with other City departments and private developers who have interests in TOD will be necessary to address these obstacles. Although infill densification contributes to urban heat islands, it is a favorable land use policy when it comes to heat because it helps reduce auto-dependency and development of greenfield sites.

  • Policy Levers: The mechanism municipalities can use to actualize the intervention. These policy levers will likely be used in combination with each other.

    Funding and FinancingThe allocation of public or philanthropic funding or private financing to implement projects, including risk transfer mechanisms.
  • Trigger Points: Opportunities for municipalities to implement risk reduction and preparedness interventions based on the policy lever, building on the United Nations Environment Programme triggers used in the Beating the Heat handbook (2021).

    City planning processesIncludes city initiatives such as the development of climate action plan, pathway to zero-energy, master plan, transit plan, energy mapping etc.
    Introducing new or updated zoning/codesIncludes codes, zoning requirements or by-laws pertaining to urban planning and building construction activity.
    Planned new developmentIncludes Greenfield or brownfield development or new construction
  • Intervention Type:
  • Sectors:
    Buildings, City Administration, Economic Development, Transportation


  • Target Beneficiaries:
    Heat-vulnerable communities, Property owners, Residents
  • Phase of Impact:
    Risk reduction and mitigation
  • Metrics:
    Change in transit ridership, Number of new transit stations or distance of new transit infrastructure constructed


  • Intervention Scale:
    City, Neighborhood
  • Authority and Governance:
    City government, State/provincial government
  • Implementation Timeline:
    Long-term (10+ Years)
  • Implementation Stakeholders:
    City government, Private developers
  • Funding Sources:
    private investment, Public investment
  • Capacity to Act:


  • Cost-Benefit:
  • Public Good:
  • GHG Reduction:
  • Co-benefits (Climate/Environmental):
    Reduce air and water pollution, Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Co-benefits (Social):
    Build social cohesion, Create jobs, Improve human health, Improve the public realm, Increase property values