Transportation Impacts of Transitways: A Case Study of the Hiawatha Line

Thursday, October 18, 2012 - 11:00am

About the Event

To double transit ridership by 2030, the Metropolitan Council and local governments are promoting transitway programs and corresponding transit-oriented developments (TODs). If we build it, will they use it? Many opponents have questioned the effectiveness of transitways and TODs in increasing ridership and associated benefits. This seminar outlined a project that explored the impacts of light-rail transit (LRT) on transit uses and walking behavior by randomly surveying residents currently living within walking distance of Hiawatha LRT stations, residents in similar urban neighborhoods but without transitways, and residents of suburban neighborhoods. 

Results show that LRT promotes transit use by residents who moved to the corridor area before the LRT opening, but it does not generate ridership benefits from residents who moved to the corridor after its opening. Further, after controlling for demographics, travel attitudes, and residential preferences, residents walking to the store is significantly associated with population density, proximity to commercial land use, and street network interruptions. These findings carry important implications for planners to capitalize on light-rail projects and design associated land-use policies.

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Jason Cao is an assistant professor at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. His research interests include land-use and transportation interactions, environmental correlates of public health, transit planning, and the connection between telecommunications and travel. 

Jessica Schoner is a graduate student at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and Department of Civil Engineering. Her research interests include bike-share systems, nonmotorized transportation infrastructure networks, and transit's "last mile" problem.