Research Synthesis: Transforming Community

Research indicates transitways are improving mobility, spurring economic growth and development, and supporting equity

TIRP Synthesis cover

The Twin Cities metro region is in the midst of a transit build-out. The Metro Blue Line (formerly known as Hiawatha), Red Line (Cedar Avenue Bus Rapid Transit), and Northstar Commuter Rail are in operation, and the Green Line (Central Corridor) opens next year. All are part of an expanding regional transit network.

These regional investments have the potential to significantly change long-term land-use patterns and travel behavior. They also raise important questions for policymakers and elected officials regarding the potential return on investment.

The Transitway Impacts Research Program (TIRP) was launched in 2006 to help answer these questions. Under the TIRP umbrella, U of M researchers are providing an objective analysis of data, public perceptions, and complex impacts resulting from transitway investments. A 24-page synthesis of their work is now available.

The synthesis pulls together findings from TIRP studies completed over the past seven years as well as findings from two related projects. It summarizes the actual and projected impacts of transitways on the Twin Cities region, offering lessons learned to help guide the build-out of the rest of the network most effectively. It concludes with a set of implications for policymakers.

TIRP was launched by the Hennepin–University Partnership and has grown to include a mix of state, regional, and local jurisdictional partners.

Key findings

  • Transitway investment is significantly improving access to jobs and workers, particularly benefiting low-wage earners.
  • Transit improves mobility.
  • Development is occurring along new and emerging transit corridors.
  • The marketplace values transit access.
  • People of all incomes benefit from transitway expansion, and those with lower incomes gain the most.
  • A majority of residents and businesses see the value in transit.
  • There is pent-up demand for transit-oriented development in the Twin Cities metropolitan region.
  • Policymakers can maximize the benefits of transitway investment.

More information:

Media Contact

Michael McCarthy, 612-624-3645 or

Synthesis sponsor