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New transit service often spurs new development. As transit makes an area more accessible, it becomes a more attractive place for investors to build.

This new investment, however, can create serious housing problems for the very residents who depend most on transit: lower-income households and people of color.

The latest report from the NITC program, from a research effort led by Lisa Bates and Aaron Golub of Portland State University, studies the intended and unintended costs and benefits of a new transit investment on the diverse communities of East Portland, Oregon; many already under stress from existing development and gentrification pressures.

The report, Planning Ahead for Livable Communities Along the Powell-Division BRT: Neighborhood Conditions and Change, offers an analysis of the planning of a new transit infrastructure project in Portland, crossing several neighborhoods in different stages of gentrification along the Powell-Division corridor. Public transit use for commuting is higher in the study corridor than in surrounding areas, and car ownership in the...

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Painted as the “next big thing” in transit, bus rapid transit systems have the luster of a new concept -- and the lack of research literature to match. A NITC research project set out to change that, producing a far-ranging research report delving into the influence of BRT on jobs, housing and development.

Bus Rapid Transit systems occupy a space between regular bus and light rail systems. Like regular bus systems, BRT systems typically use rubber tires and internal combustion engines and run on paved roads. However, the systems may share many features with light-rail trains, including exclusive lanes, off-vehicle payment systems and low floors and large doors for quicker boarding.

Led by Arthur C. Nelson at the University of Utah’s Metropolitan Research Center, the project, “National Study of BRT Development Outcomes,” looked at systems around the country, finding evidence that BRT systems influence development patterns in important ways. The research found that BRT systems are tied to positive outcomes for development and job location, although not necessarily changes in population or housing.

Bus rapid transit systems hold the promise of bringing communities some of the positive outcomes traditionally associated with light-rail transit systems but at a lower cost. The research will be of interest to...

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In recent decades, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) has gained popularity across the United States due to its relatively low costs of development (compared to the investment requirements of putting in a new light rail system, for example) and its potential to drive economic development.

However, there is a need for more comprehensive research devoted to understanding its economic impacts across various sectors.

NITC researcher Joanna Ganning is the lead author on a research paper that will be presented at the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board this month, which seeks to estimate the effects of BRT stations on employment growth.

Using Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics data, Ganning and her research team investigated the impacts of BRT on employment changes of each major industry sector between 2002 and 2010.

The researchers analyzed employment data surrounding 226 BRT stations along nine BRT corridors which were opened during the study period, as well as employment data from equally sized areas around control points.

Metropolitan areas included in the analysis were Phoenix, Los Angeles, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, New York City, Cleveland, Ohio and Eugene, Oregon.

With the presence or absence of BRT stations as the independent variable, the team found that BRT statistically significantly influenced employment change for just one...

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