What is LEED? – Location and Transportation

This is the third post in a series on the LEED green building rating system.  The first post provided an Introduction to LEED, and the second looked at the Sustainable Sites credit category.

Public transportation connectivity

Location and Transporation

The LEED Location and Transporation category of credits is based on where the project is located, its connectibility to public transportation, and making accommodations for those using alternative transportation modes.

LEED for Neighborhood Development Location

This credit is worth 3-16 points.  If the project site is located within a development area that has qualified for LEED for Neighborhood Development, the project is awarded points based on the certification level that the neighborhood achieved.  Qualifications for LEED for Neighborhood Development include communitiy connectivity, appropriateness of the development site, and whether the development encourages physical activity.

If the project qualifies for this credit, it is not eligible to receive any other credits from the Location and Transportation category.

Sensitive Land Protection

This credit is worth 1-2 points.  To earn this credit, the project must be located in a previously developed site (worth one point), and/or not be located in one of several sensitive sites: farmland, natural habitat, floodplains, and near water bodies or wetlands (worth an additional point).

“Minor improvements” are allowed near water bodies and wetlands if they help visitors to appreciate the bodies.  “Minor improvements” include bicycle and walking paths, restoration/maintenance of native natural communities or hydrology, small single-story structures, removal of hazardous or diseased trees, and brownfield remediation.

High-Priority Site

This credit is worth 1-2 points.  One point is given for locating the project within an infill or previously developed site in a historic district, or for locating in one of several priority zoning locations, which have been determined by local or national jurisdictions.  These include EPA certification as a Nation Priority Site and Department of the Treasury certification as a low-income area.  Two credits are available for developing on a brownfield, or contaminated site.

Community connectivitySurrounding Density and Diverse Uses

This credit is worth1-5 points.  Projects receive 2-3 points for locating in an area with specific densities of occupation within a 1/4 mile radius.  The LEED Reference Guide provides a table detailing what these densities are.

In addition, projects can receive 1-2 points for locating near several publicly available diverse uses.  The uses, such as restaurants, grocery shopping, beauty parlors, gyms, etc, are measured within a 1/2 mile radius of the project front entrance, and only one location of each use type counts (only one restaurant qualifies, even if there are five within the boundary).  If a project is near 4-7 distinct uses, it receives one point, and if there are eight or more, it receives two points.

Access to Quality Transport

This credit is worth 1-5 points.  Projects earn credits based on the number of public and private transportation routes and stops that are located within a 1/2 mile of the project’s front entrance.  The accepted transporation modes include buses, light rail, ferries, and rideshare programs.  Both current transportation stops and routes and those that are planned with a short time are included.

Bicycle parkingBicycle Facilities

This credit is worth 1 point.  Projects can earn this credit by locating near a bicycle network and providing secure bicycle parking and showering facilities.  The bicycle network must connect to at least 10 distinct uses, as defined in the Density and Uses credit, an employment center (for projects that are 50% or more residential), or rapid transit.

The project must provide both long and short-term bicycle parking and showering facilities on-site.  The number of parking spaces and showers is based on a percentage of the expected occupancy of the project.

Reduced Parking Footprint

This credit is worth 1 point.  Projects must not exceed the local requirements for the number of parking spaces, and must achieve a reduction in the number of spaces that is 20-40% lower than the base ratio provided by the Parking Consultants Council, depending on the development density and transit availability of the local area.

Projects must also provide priority parking for carpools.  Preferred parking is not required if no off-street parking is provided.

Green Vehicles

This credit is worth 1 point.  In order to earn this credit, projects must designate 5% of the parking spaces for alternative fuel and hybrid vehicles.  These spaces should be priority spaces and evenly distributed between short and long-term spaces.  An additional 2% of the spaces should have vehicle charging services for electric vehicles or other alternative fuel forms (liquid, gas, or battery).

Next we will look at the Water Efficiency credit category.

Source: LEED v4 for Building Design and Construction (updated July 1, 2014)

Photos courtesy of paulkimo9, SK53 OSM, and Karen through a Creative Commons License

About the Author

has over 15 years experience in the construction industry and is the author of Green Building Design 101, an e-book available from Amazon. She is a LEED AP and Certified Green Building Advisor, and has worked on the LEED Certification of three projects in Salem, Oregon. She is currently a Contract Administrator at Rich Duncan Construction.  
  • Victor Tam

    Thank you, the article is very useful for beginners.

    BTW, I found some typos, like transporation and communitiy.