Raleigh BRT Rendering


Equitable Development Around Transit

Bus Rapid Transit in Raleigh

Equitable Development Around Transit, or EDAT, describes a series of projects from the City of Raleigh. The City is planning for a new type of bus service called Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). The first part of this planning was called EDAT and focused on the community’s priorities for future development near transit. At the end of the EDAT process, the City published a report called the Equitable Transit-Oriented Development Guidebook. The guidebook was adopted by the City Council in early 2021. The next stage of EDAT has two parts that will start bringing the guidebook ideas to life. First, new zoning rules have been developed to encourage the type of development that will support a successful BRT system. That zoning is called Transit Overlay Districts (TOD). The second step is to create specific plans for development around each BRT station. This “Station Area Planning” focused first on New Bern Avenue BRT corridor and will be focusing on the Western and Southern BRT corridors beginning in early 2023.

Project Details

Corridor Studies
Project Lead:
Jason Hardin



Hannah Reckhow
Planning Supervisor
Planning and Development

Lead Department:
Planning and Development
Service Unit:



Transit Overlay District (TOD) Adoption and Mapping

The City has created special zoning districts to be applied along the BRT routes. These overlay districts modify the existing zoning to encourage affordable housing and employment uses, like office buildings. The TOD districts also require high-quality public spaces that make it comfortable to walk to and from the bus service. These changes were approved City Council on October 5, 2021. You can find out more about the TOD districts by reading the adopted ordinance. On October 10, 2021, City Council authorized a city-initiated rezoning process to apply the TOD to properties along the western and southern BRT routes. The application of the TOD was approved for the southern corridor on July 5, 2022, and the western corridor on August 16, 2022. Please visit the TOD Mapping project page for more information.

Station Area Planning

Now that the Equitable Development policy has been added to Raleigh’s 2030 Comprehensive Plan (see “Equitable Development Project Report” below), the next step is applying that policy through Station Area Planning processes along each corridor. These planning efforts will study where people will walk and bike to transit and how the areas around the BRT corridors can grow to support healthy, affordable, and equitable neighborhoods.

  • New Bern Station Area Planning: This planning effort began in June 2021 and the draft report and Comprehensive Plan Amendments were delivered to City Council on June 21, 2022. At that meeting, City Council authorized the zoning changes recommended in the plan and referred Comprehensive Plan amendments to the Planning Commission for review. The staff is currently finalizing the proposed zoning application. The next step will be a neighborhood meeting before the end of 2022. Following that and a second neighborhood meeting, the changes will go to the Planning Commission for review.
  • Western Station Area Planning and Southern Station Area Planning: Both efforts are scheduled to begin in early 2023.

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)

The Wake County Transit Plan calls for bus rapid transit (BRT) to connect Raleigh and the region. Bus rapid transit service will serve existing neighborhoods and shape future growth. The Equitable Development around Transit (EDAT) plan is an effort to consider future growth around transit and ensure that the benefits created by transit investment are shared broadly.

Bus rapid transit can:

  • Connect people to jobs, education resources, and other opportunities
  • Support walkable places that support both housing and commercial destinations
  • Improve air quality by reducing the number of vehicles on the road
  • Save money for households who drive less or opt-out of car ownership altogether

Fully achieving these benefits means thinking about areas around transit stations. The Equitable Development process will focus on how and to what extent the city grows around transit.

What is equitable development around transit?

Equity and sustainability are core goals of this project. The BRT service and this planning process are intended to both serve existing neighborhoods and shape future growth.


To promote fairness in the development around BRT routes, this plan aims to:

  • Maintain and enhance housing affordability
  • Ensure accessibility to service from existing residential areas
  • Minimize displacement from rising real estate values
  • Increase ridership
  • Provide economic development opportunities


Investing in transit and encouraging thoughtful development around transit stations can:

  • Reduce vehicle miles traveled
  • Reduce carbon emissions and other air pollutants
  • Support active and healthy lifestyles.
  • Reduce overall household expenses

Want to learn more? Listen to a presentation that sets out the project’s goals and looks at examples of equitable development from other cities.

Equitable Development Project Report

The EDAT process aimed to answer two questions about bus rapid transit:

  1. To what extent should Raleigh grow more around transit, as opposed to driving, in the future?  
  2. How do we ensure the benefits of BRT are shared equitably? 

We’ve heard clearly that Raleigh should work toward becoming a more sustainable and transit-oriented city and that affordable housing is absolutely critical. 

We’ve now published the Equitable Transit-Oriented Development Guidebook, which outlines a path toward meeting those goals. The guidebook recommends a set of strategies, including allowing more height around BRT stations, addressing pedestrian safety issues, and using new and existing tools for providing affordable housing and supporting other equity-related efforts. Don’t have time to read a planning report? Check out the video, which hits the highlights of the report and recommendations.

The public engagement efforts for the EDAT study concluded in the Spring of 2020. Those efforts included two public meetings where the recommendations of the EDAT project were discussed. If you missed those workshops, you can learn more with these documents:

We also held community conversations on the topics of Equity and Affordability and Growing around Transit.

See the results of the Raleigh BRT: Equitable Development Around Transit (Equity and Sustainability) survey.