The influence of light rail transit on transit use: An exploration of station area residents along the Hiawatha line in Minneapolis

My student Jessica Schoner and colleague Jason Cao recently published:

Cao and Schoner (2014) The influence of light rail transit on transit use: An exploration of station area residents along the Hiawatha line in Minneapolis. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice
Volume 59, January 2014, Pages 134–143

Highlights

  • We compare transit use of residents in LRT corridor and control corridors well served by bus transit.
  • People moving into LRT corridor before its opening use transit more than those in control corridors.
  • Transit use of people moving into LRT corridor after its opening is similar to that of urban controls.
  • LRT-related land use and transportation policies are necessary for ridership growth.

Abstract
Rail transit is often implemented in the corridors already with high transit demand. When evaluating their ridership benefits, previous studies often choose the city/county/region as control groups, rather than comparable corridors without rail, and hence overstate their impacts. In this study, we employ propensity score matching to explore the impact of Hiawatha light rail transit (LRT) on transit use. We find that compared to residents in similar urban corridors, the Hiawatha LRT promotes transit use of residents who have lived in the corridor before its opening, and that residents who moved to the corridor after its opening use transit as often as new residents in the comparable urban corridors without LRT. We conclude that besides LRT, land use and transportation policies are necessary for ridership growth.

Keywords
Propensity score matching; Self-selection; Transit-oriented development; Travel behavior; Urban form

One thought on “The influence of light rail transit on transit use: An exploration of station area residents along the Hiawatha line in Minneapolis”

  1. Just read an article which had a statement that seems to contradict these findings: “We won’t walk more than five minutes to a bus stop, but we will walk 10 to a light-rail or subway station, partly because most of us perceive rail service to be faster, more predictable, and more comfortable.” Article here: http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_eye/2013/12/10/why_cul_de_sacs_are_bad_for_your_health_happy_city_by_charles_montgomery.html

    Based on this statement, the study should have predicted that the light rail would have drawn in users from further from the stations. What do studies of other street car and light rail projects discover?

Comments are closed.