Economic Development Impacts of Bus Rapid Transit

Principal Investigator(s):

Andrew Guthrie, Former U of M Researcher, Humphrey School of Public Affairs


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

Project summary:

Bus rapid transit (BRT) will play an increasingly important role in the Twin Cities transit system in the future. A key aim of transit corridor investments is improving access to jobs, particularly jobs for which disadvantaged workers are likely to be qualified. Transit improvements enhance job access by shortening journey times, but the greatest possible accessibility benefits require station-area job growth that is not restricted to central business districts. This research compared job growth within one half mile of new light rail and bus rapid transit stations that were implemented in the Twin Cities and peer regions between 2003 and 2010, broken down by sector and wage categories. Fixed transit infrastructure (light rail tracks or BRT-dedicated guideways), total street mileage in station areas, proximity to central business districts, and overall regional economic strength are associated with more station-area jobs. Policy recommendations include building a strong corridor identity for arterial BRT lines, proactive job growth promotion efforts along BRT lines in general, and a continued focus on social and racial equity concerns.

Project details:

  • Project number: 2014045
  • Start date: 03/2014
  • Project status: Completed
  • Research area: Planning and Economy
  • Topics: Economics, Transit planning