Assessing Neighborhood and Social Influences of Transit Corridors

Principal Investigator(s):

Yingling Fan, Associate Dean for Faculty, Humphrey School of Public Affairs

Project summary:

This project assessed how residents and businesses along transit corridors in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, perceive neighborhood changes caused by transitways. To delineate a comprehensive picture, research focused on four transit corridors: Hiawatha light rail transit (LRT), NorthStar Commuter Rail, Cedar Avenue bus rapid transit (BRT), and Central Corridor LRT, each of which is at a different stage of planning, construction, or operation. Among the key findings: 1) The majority of residents and businesses in transitway corridors have a positive view of transit-induced neighborhood change. The extent of positive neighborhood change that transitway corridor residents and businesses anticipate varies widely from corridor to corridor; 2) People with any experience using light-rail transit, frequent transit users, and transit-dependent riders all have overwhelmingly positive attitudes regarding transit-induced neighborhood change; 3) Racial differences in perceptions of transit-induced neighborhood change do exist, with specific groups on certain corridors having markedly more negative or positive views than others; and 4) Five key strategies may help address negative perceptions and possible negative impacts of transit-induced neighborhood change: addressing misperceptions, engaging the neutrals, playing to the strengths, including transit users, and conducting community-sensitive planning. By covering a variety of transit technologies including LRT, BRT and Commuter Rail, as well as a diverse range of urban and suburban neighborhoods, results from this research will help policy makers make more informed decisions about how to prevent and mitigate socially harmful neighborhood changes associated with various types of transitways.

Project details: