Economic Impacts of Transitways, Part 1: The Hiawatha Light Rail Line

Principal Investigator(s):

Edward Goetz, Professor, CURA Director, Urban & Regional Affairs

Project summary:

The Twin Cities' 2030 Transportation Plan, developed by the Metropolitan Council, identifies eight transitways; the development of these transitways, including large-scale physical redevelopment and land use changes, will cost local governments millions of dollars. A critical public concern is whether these transitways produce community benefits beyond improving the region's transportation system, specifically whether and how such physical redevelopment will affect property values, housing patterns, businesses and employment opportunities, and adjacent land uses in surrounding neighborhoods. The goal of this research project was to select or develop a methodology for determining the impacts of transitways in the Twin Cities. In order to manage the complexities surrounding the identification of important research questions and the availability and comparability of data, this research involved numerous local stakeholders. The potential economic impacts are distinct from (and can be analyzed separately from) the impacts such transitways will have on transportation behavior, mode choice, and traffic patterns. The recent completion of the Hiawatha light-rail transit (LRT) line provided an opportunity to investigate these questions. Such research can be used to inform the planning and policy decisions faced by local governments as the regional transportation plan is implemented over the next 25 years, and it was essential that the focus not be limited to the Hiawatha LRT but also include suggestions about how the same methodologies used in this project could be applied to other transitways. In the final report, researchers focused on three major areas: 1) impacts on property values by proximity to the line; 2) land use changes that have occurred around the line?s transit stations; and 3) changes in the level of housing investment within the corridor.

Project details:

  • Project number: 2008067
  • Start date: 07/2007
  • Project status: Completed
  • Research area: Planning and Economy
  • Topics: Economics, Transit planning