Impact of Twin Cities Transitways on Regional Labor Market Accessibility: A Transportation Equity Perspective

Principal Investigator(s):

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


  • Jason Cao, Professor , Humphrey School of Public Affairs
  • David Levinson, Former U of M Professor, Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering

Project summary:

This study evaluates the impact of the Hiawatha Light Rail (LRT) line on job accessibility for the economically disadvantaged, seeking to further understand transit’s role in promoting social equity and to identify commute flow changes among low-wage workers. The results will inform more equitable transit policies and improvements in the future.

Numerous studies find spatial mismatch is an impediment to employment for low-wage workers. While transit is recognized as a tool for improving outcomes, results of empirical research are mixed. Several studies find positive relationships; others find none. This study examines changes in jobs accessible by transit throughout the service day.

Shifts in actual home-to-work commute flows were examined using the Longitudinal Employment and Housing Database (LEHD) Origin-Destination Matrix. Researchers employed GIS map analysis, summary statistics, and regression analysis. Regression models estimate shifts in where individuals commute from and to as a function of distance to the nearest transit stop at both ends of a commute, location within the immediate area of a light rail station or other premium transit stop at both ends of a commute, and of various demographic variables.

Project details:

  • Project number: 2009039
  • Start date: 11/2008
  • Project status: Completed
  • Research area: Environment and Energy
  • Topics: Equity, Planning, Transit planning