Conceptualising justice in transit-oriented development (TOD): towards an analytical framework

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Originally conceived to create dense, diverse and mixed-used communities that are inclusive and sustainable, Transit-oriented Development (“TOD”) has come under increasing academic scrutiny on its negative implications on equity and justice. However, these injustices are often examined case-by-case individually, which revealed the lack of a comprehensive framework that is grounded in justice concepts and theories for analysing justice in TOD. In this paper, we aim to show the importance of, and suggest a framework for, analysing justice in TOD holistically. We begin by taking a brief overview of key theories and concepts in process and outcome justice. Then, through a thematic review of justice-related TOD literature, we synthesised three main justice issues currently existing in TOD: transit-induced gentrification; neglect of livelihood and well-being of disadvantaged groups; and poor inclusion and representation of different stakeholders. These issues revealed the interconnectedness and importance of both process and outcome justices in TOD. As such, we formulated an analytical framework by adopting the Institutional Analysis and Development (“IAD”) model (a tool for understanding institutional interactions in public policies) to examine process justice; and the 5Ds of the built environment (namely Density, Diversity, Design, Destination Accessibility, and Distance to Transit) to examine outcome justice. In brief, for process justice, our framework advocates open, accessible and equitable particiaption by all interested stakeholders to be able to give views, exercise their power, obtain and share information, and make decisions collectively, with dedicated efforts to facilitate participation of more disadvantaged groups. For outcome justice, our framework calls for providing suitable and equitable built environments (in terms of 5Ds) in different neighbourhoods in a TOD, with special attention towards the needs of disadvantaged groups. The framework serves as general guidance for researchers and planners to analyse the justice implications of TOD (both ex-ante and ex-post) in a holistic and conceptually-grounded manner, with a view to better positioning justice issues and directing efforts towards more just TODs.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTransport Reviews
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29-Apr-2024


  • Transit-oriented development
  • TOD
  • Review
  • Justice
  • Analytical framework


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