Manchester, NH’s Transit-Oriented Development Plan


How the City created a TOD plan through 18 months of community engagement.

Beacon Communities


Manchester is New Hampshire’s largest city, just 51 miles north of Boston, with a population of ~113,000.

The opportunity

Transit-oriented development (TOD) emphasizes compact and pedestrian-oriented mixed-use developments centered around well-connected transit services. The Manchester TOD plan seeks to enable new places to live, work, and recreate near convenient options to walk, bike, or take transit. The plan would attract investment and provide Manchester residents with an improved quality of life through better access to jobs, stores, healthcare, parks, and entertainment.

The Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission (SNHPC) and the consultant design team (led by Goody Clancy) engaged those who live, work, study, and recreate in Manchester to shape a comprehensive transit-oriented development plan, the first of its kind to be completed in the state. The efforts built off of the momentum seen in recent years to revitalize the Millyard and historic downtown.

The project team implemented a robust engagement strategy to develop a community-driven plan.

Manchester Transit Community Commenting

A Plan Driven by Community Priorities

Throughout the planning process, community members shared their vision of long-term economic development that would connect Manchester residents and workers with the Greater Boston Area.

Throughout 18 months of planning efforts, SNHPC and the consultant team collected community feedback on an interactive map on coUrbanize.

Stakeholder interviews with property owners, major employers, developers, and mission-driven organizations were conducted as part of the planning process. These interviews provided additional context and perspectives that were incorporated into the final plan.

Digital Engagement Meets Boots-on-the-Ground Efforts

To include more residents in the conversation, the SNHPC complemented their digital outreach efforts on coUrbanize with dynamic and engaging in-person events. The design team held a kick-off presentation for the Chamber of Commerce. This presentation explained transit-oriented development and how it related to this project.

The team also held a planning charrette, giving community members an opportunity to engage the design team in person and contribute to the planning process. The event, held inside the study area, included interactive activities like role playing and written exercises.

Manchester TOD Event

The solution:

Community-Centered Planning Initiatives

Following their robust engagement process, SNHPC continued to provide regular updates on the progress of the plan and new opportunities to provide input. These efforts helped the City of Manchester, Manchester Transit Authority, local business owners, area property owners, and interested citizens come together through interviews, surveys, online engagement tools, and public meetings to develop the TOD Plan.


coUrbanize gave the SNHPC an easy-to-access platform to engage with the broader community. The mapping tool and revolving survey questions made it easy for residents, business owners, and other stakeholders to share input on the aspects of the project that matter most to them.

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transit-oriented development plan completed in the state of New Hampshire


The insights gathered from the in-person and virtual engagement efforts resulted in a plan that provides a framework for over $100 million of infrastructure investment in new streets and paths designed to facilitate walking and biking in a compact, attractive, and well-signed new development. The TOD plan provides clear direction for public and private investment, reducing risk for potential developers.

In September 2020, the final Transit-Oriented Development Plan, the first transit-oriented development plan to be completed in the state of New Hampshire, was released to the public.

Transit-Oriented Development Plan

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