Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority

TOD Timeline

TODs have had a long and rich history in our region. Click on the timeline below to learn about the progressive growth of TOD in the DC Metro area.

  1. 1862-1900

    From Horsecars to Streetcar Suburbs

    While L’Enfant envisioned the layout out of the capital city, its actual growth was facilitated by the transit networks of the era.

    The region’s first horsecars began service in 1862 amidst Washington's wartime population growth. Starting in 1888, electric streetcars took over the rails and rapidly expanded beyond the old city limits, pushing past the hills that had been too challenging for horses. Through the Second World War, the growth patterns of the region largely followed streetcar lines. Private developers marketed investment opportunities near streetcars. Some streetcar lines were even built by private real estate interests to service new development.

  2. 1960


    Fueled by an influx of Federal funds, new highways opened up the periphery for suburban development. City centers and transit, meanwhile, suffered from a lack of investment. While affordable new homes and fast freeway commutes were appealing to many, in time the region started to recognize the downsides of auto-oriented development patterns. By the end of the 1960s, it was clear that the growth of congestion and pollution had to be brought under control.​

  3. 1976

    Metro Opening

    The first segment of Metrorail opened in 1976 to much fanfare. As the system grew, it became clear that transit offered the region more than convenient commutes. In multiple jurisdictions, leaders in the public and private sectors invested in new and existing communities near Metro, establishing national models for transit-oriented growth.

  4. 2001

    Joint Development

    With the opening of the southern section of the Green Line, Metro's original 103-mile system was complete. By this time, many new TODs were coming of age as established communities. At the same time, Metro was facilitating the revitalization of historic urban neighborhoods where investment had lagged for decades.

  5. Today

    TOD Corridors

    In 2014, the first phase of the Silver Line brought Metro to Tysons and Reston, launching a new wave of development in areas where traffic congestion had, in the absence of rapid transit, become a constraint on growth. Looking ahead, Metro's future stations will include Potomac Yard, one of the catalysts for Amazon HQ2 in National Landing.

    From Largo Town Center to Ashburn, from Wheaton to Huntington, Metro is the anchor for the region's most dynamic new development. Opportunity -- for development, business, living, working, and playing -- is within walking distance of every station.