Spotlights on Value Capture Strategies in Practice (United States)

Delaware Transportation Improvement District–the building block of building better communities.

Download as PDF

Part geographic area, part proactive planning tool, a Transport Improvement District (TID) is created to secure and finance required transport improvements. Transportation is a vital part of any efficient and effective community. This form of special assessment district generally considers benefits on a programmatic basis rather than more targeted "special benefits" on a project-specific basis. The designated zone may cross jurisdictional boundaries among several local or regional government entities and is consistent with several elements that support planning for complete communities in Delaware.

Quite often, it can be a challenge to finance infrastructure improvements needed to accommodate a growing community. These planning tools help maintain Delaware's quality of life. While Federal funding for transportation has eroded, and traditional revenue sources have failed to keep pace with the needs of many areas, a TID is a perfect alternative to traditional funding.

A TID is leveraged for land-use forecasting and traffic analysis when properly implemented. TIDs can also identify the need for certain transportation improvements. In Delaware, the Department of Transportation will continue working with communities to implement the proposed improvements.

TID Benefits

As a transportation-based impact fee, TIDs equitably distribute the cost of development-related growth and infrastructure improvements to the private sector. TIDs also provide a funding mechanism to secure the required long-term improvements on a fair share basis from developers. Additionally, TIDs can reduce land development pressures by preparing targeted growth areas for market-ready redevelopment–or, if need be, development.

TID management of transportation impacts planned growth and helps attract investment to a targeted growth or redevelopment area by expediting pre-construction phases and leveraging State and Federal funds for improvements to State-owned assets.

Lastly, a TID supports sustainable development and entire communities by reconnecting land and transportation.

TIDs vs. Traffic Impact Studies

A Traffic Impact Study (TIS) assesses the adequacy of the existing or future transportation infrastructure to accommodate additional trips generated by a proposed development, redevelopment, or land rezoning. This analysis is limited to the number of intersections, omitting some intersections, and only gauges the impact of a single project or development. In short, a TIS is too often restricted in its scope and scale.

A TID is forecast 20 years into the future, and while a TID covers all intersections in the area, it goes far beyond intersection studies. A TID is much more comprehensive and has a cumulative impact on the area.

A TID typically begins with an agreement between the local government and the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT). These two entities work together to establish the TID boundaries, included in the local government's more comprehensive plan. Together, they determine the proper culmination date or "Horizon Year" for which the land use forecast will be completed. They also agree on specific service standards that define what should be considered adequate transportation facilities within the TID.

The local government is responsible for providing a parcel-specific land-use forecast. This, in turn, enables DelDOT to conduct a comprehensive transportation study of the area, including determining the future impacts of the land-use plan on the transportation system. The plan includes the collection and monitoring of current traffic data. Through this, DelDOT can develop and create a fee structure for the area and, ultimately, a full transportation plan.

Henlopen's TID

Sussex County and DelDOT are currently working to develop a TID southwest of SR1, north of Herring Creek and Chapel Branch, and east of Beaver Dam Rd. and Bundicks Branch. This specific TID is being called the Henlopen TID and comprises a 24-square-mile area, including 43 roadway segments and 66 miles of studied traffic ways.

In summary, a TID is a better, more predictable process to aid in building stronger transportation systems and, in turn, stronger communities. The process aids in development by balancing the needs of a transportation network with economic growth and redevelopment.


The Delaware Complete Communities Toolbox - Delaware Transportation Improvement Districts
Delaware Department Of Transportation - Transportation Improvement Districts