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The Effects of Transit-Oriented Development: A Case Study of MARTA Neighborhoods

A public transit stop, whether it be part of a heavy rail, light rail, bus, or bus rapid transit system, can have a very real impact on its surroundings.  It can revitalize the neighborhood economy by providing new access points for retail, give locals without a car access to new job opportunities in other areas of town, it can reduce crime, it can change the racial makeup of a region.  But much of the literature ignores these statistics, choosing instead to only focus on public transit’s effect on local property values.  In this piece, I explore a case study of 12 Atlanta neighborhoods and how they demographically shifted in the decades after they received railroad transit stations.

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Brian Simel

References:

Bollinger, Christopher R., and Keith R. Ihlanfeldt. “The Impact of Rapid Rail Transit on Economic             Development: The Case of Atlanta’s MARTA.” Journal of Urban Economics 42 (1997): 179-204.        Web. 6 Dec. 2010.

Chen, Joyce, Mark Hamilton, Nick Kindel, Ian Macek, and Meghan Pinch. “Transit Oriented         Development and Cluster Developments.” 1-11. Web. 23 Sept. 2010.    <http://courses.washington.edu>.

Dawson, Christie R. Transit Ridership Report: Third Quarter 2009. Rep. American Public Transportation             Association. Print.

Elliott, Mark. “MARTA Rail and Offices.” Atlanta Business Chronicle 20 Oct. 2010. BizJournals. 20 Oct.       2010. Web. 6 Dec. 2010.

Grass, Gail. “The Estimation of Residential Property Values Around Transit Station Sites in           Washington, D.C.” Journal of Economics and Finance 16.2 (1992): 139-46. SpringerLink. Web. 6      Dec. 2010.

Ihlanfeldt, Keith R. “Rail Transit and Neighborhood Crime: The Case of Atlanta, Georgia.” Southern           Economic Journal 70.2 (2003): 273-94. ProQuest. Web. 6 Dec. 2010.

MARTA Homepage. 2009. Web. 6 Dec. 2010. <http://www.itsmarta.com>.

Niles, John, and Dick Nelson. “Measuring the Success of Transit-Oriented Development: Retail     Market Dynamics and Other Key Determinants.” Proc. of American Planning Association       National Planning Conference. 31 Aug. 2006. Web. 23 Sept. 2010.      <http://www.community-wealth.org/_pdfs/articles-publications/tod/paper-niles-            nelson.pdf>.

O’Toole, Randal. “Defining Success: The Case Against Rail Transit.” Policy Analysis 663 (2010). Cato         Institute, 22 May 2010. Web. 23 Sept. 2010.     <http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1612782>.

Perk, Victoria A., and Martin Catala. Land Use Impacts of Bus Rapid Transit: Effects of BRT Station       Proximity on Property Values along the Pittsburgh Martin Luther King, Jr. East Busway. Rep. no.            FTA-FL-26-7109.2009.6. US Department of Transportation, Federal Transit Administration,     Dec. 2009. Web. 6 Dec. 2010.

The Efficacy of Transit-Oriented Development

Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) is one of the most contentious topics in modern urban planning.  The basic concept of TOD is that local governments can and should encourage decreased dependence on automobiles by creating convenient public transit nodes and supporting high-density development in the immediate vicinity of these points.  This often comes in the form of new rail-transit investments and is lauded as an important tool in the fight against urban sprawl.  New Urbanists see in TOD an opportunity to encourage high-density, mixed-use development like never before.  More conservative purists, however, argue that these TOD neighborhoods represent unwanted and inefficient market distortions that cater only to upper-class snobs too pretentious to ride a bus.  The outcome of this debate will have critical implications on the built landscape of our urban environments for decades to come.

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References:

Chen, Joyce, Mark Hamilton, Nick Kindel, Ian Macek, and Meghan Pinch. “Transit Oriented Development and Cluster Developments.” 1-11. Web. 23 Sept. 2010. <http://courses.washington.edu>.

Niles, John, and Dick Nelson. “Measuring the Success of Transit-Oriented Development: Retail Market Dynamics and Other Key Determinants.” Proc. of American Planning Association National Planning Conference. 31 Aug. 2006. Web. 23 Sept. 2010.< www.community-wealth.org/_pdfs/articles-publications/tod/paper-niles-http://nelson.pdf>

O’Toole, Randal. “Defining Success: The Case Against Rail Transit.” Policy Analysis 663 (2010). Cato Institute, 22 May 2010. Web. 23 Sept. 2010.<http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm? abstract_id=1612782>.

By: Brian Simel