Spurring private-sector development along transit corridors

By 2030, a network of 14 connected transit corridors is planned for the Minneapolis–St. Paul metropolitan region. The success of this network hinges on ridership from nearby housing and businesses, and the success of development depends on access.

To find out what policymakers can do to help spur transit-oriented development, a U of M research team interviewed key players in the private sector in the Twin Cities. They asked central-city and suburban developers, real estate brokers, and business leaders whether and to what degree transit factored into their current and future site-location decisions. 

Assistant Professor Yingling Fan and Research Fellow Andrew Guthrie, both with the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, led the research. 

Their key findings include:

  • Interviews with businesses and developers revealed pent-up demand for transit-oriented development (TOD) in the Twin Cities metropolitan region.
  • Regulatory and cost barriers, combined with the uncertainty of transit expansion, inhibit the market from responding to this demand for TOD.
  • "This study affirms that there is interest in and demand for development that incorporates transit and for transit that incorporates development."

    —Metropolitan Council Chair Susan Haigh

  • Developers view transportation access as highly important when selecting sites but will sacrifice transit access if a transit-oriented site is more expensive or presents more complex regulatory hurdles than traditional auto-oriented design.
  • Employers say that providing a great work location is critical to recruiting highly skilled young professionals who are likely to desire—or demand—urban living and access to transit.
  • Multiple participants say efforts to make transit-accessible housing affordable by design rather than by subsidy are crucial to promoting mixed-income neighborhoods in station areas.

More information:


Media Contact

Michael McCarthy, 612-624-3645 or mpmccarthy@umn.edu


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This research was conducted for the Metropolitan Council as part of the Corridors of Opportunity Initiative, a broad-based plan to accelerate the build-out of a Twin Cities regional transit system so that people of all incomes and backgrounds share in the resulting opportunities. The study was funded under an award from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.