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Transit Oriented Development Legal Research Guide: Home

The focus of this guide is the search for local land use laws relevant to transit oriented development. This research guide includes links to primary and secondary sources.

Introduction

Transit Oriented Development incorporates various land use mechanisms to reduce our dependency on cars and encourage the development and use of urban transit systems. Use this guide to find the local laws which put into effect the land use plans of local governments, and the planning documents, both local and regional, which inform planning for transit oriented development.

Google Search

Google Search

Google offers customized searches. Advanced search offers:

  • Require / exclude words
  • Search for a phrase
  • Limit results by language
  • Limit results by format type
  • Search within a site or domain. e.g. site:gov
  • Limit by date or region
  • Require where the keywords show up

Google Scholar search includes legal opinions from all US courts and legal journals. Results can be sorted by jurisdiction (state or federal) or type of document (court opinion or journal). Database includes US patents. Rresults can be saved when you log in with your Google account. 

Generating Search Terms - Topical

Take a few minutes to generate a list of possible search terms before you start your research. You'll probably find that there will be a family of terms that deal specifically with the non-legal aspects of your topic, and terms that relate to the legal and planning aspects of your topic. 

  • Synonyms: 
  • Broader: 
  • Narrower Terms or Planning Terms:  
  • Related Terms:  
  • Terms of Art:  

As you review and evaluate your search results, you will learn which terms and combinations of terms are most effective in particular contexts/databases. You will be able to expand this list of search terms as your understanding of the subject area and the language used to describe it grows.

Generating Search Terms - Topical

Take a few minutes to generate a list of possible search terms before you start your research. You'll probably find that there will be a family of terms that deal specifically with the non-legal aspects of your topic, and terms that relate to the legal and planning aspects of your topic. 

Let's assume we're looking for newspaper articles and other current awareness materials regarding transit oriented development. Think about the words that are part of your topic in terms of these categories:

  • Synonyms: TOD, transit oriented development (without the dash), transit oriented design,  transportation oriented development, transit friendly, transit supportive design guidelines
  • Broader: sustainable development, smart growth, new urbanism, regional planning, transit network 
  • Narrower Terms or Planning Terms: transit friendly, transit oriented design, transit supportive design guidelines, moderate density development, high density development, mixed use development, pedestrian overlay district, compact development.
  • Related Terms: mass transit, public transit, transportation, railway(s), light railways, trains, buses, complete streets, pedestrian friendly, traffic calming
  • Terms of Art: Terms of art are words that have a particular meaning in a particular context.   

As you review and evaluate your search results, you will learn which terms and combinations of terms are most effective in particular contexts/databases. You will be able to expand this list of search terms as your understanding of the subject area and the language used to describe it grows.