Updating and Expanding LRT/BRT/SCT/CRT Data and Analysis

Arthur C. Nelson, University of Arizona


This project will update and expand our station area databases (developed under previous NITC contracts 547, 650, and 763) to include new systems added since the late 2000s and more metropolitan areas. Under prior NITC contracts, we built station area databases for 12 light rail transit (LRT) systems, nine bus rapid transit (BRT) systems, four streetcar transit (SCT), and five commuter rail transit (CRT) systems. We included employment data extending annually from 2002 through 2011, and census data for 2000 and 2010. Our analysis compared development, demographic and housing outcomes associated with these transit systems during the period before the Great Recession (2000 through 2007) and during recession into recovery (2008 through 2011). Two final reports, several press interviews including one press conference in DC plus several webinars, and nearly 20 papers have been published, accepted for publication, or are in review. Though we found important differences in outcomes between the study periods of 2000-2007 and 2008-2011, our research could not measure or compare outcomes during the period of economic stability that commenced about 2012. 

We thus propose to update and analyze those databases to 2015. This will allow us to compare outcomes associated with these transit systems before (2000-2007), during (2008-2011) and after (2012-2015) the Great Recession. Moreover, since some LRT and streetcar systems as well as most BRT systems did not start until well into the 2000s (some during the Great Recession), the updated database will allow for more comprehensive assessment of outcomes between the Great Recession and early recovery into the period of relative economic stability. Using newly released HUD housing affordability data, we will include a new area of research associating transit station proximity to variations in median household transportation costs. Though we will apply these updated and expanded data to the methods we developed for earlier studies, and new ones, a key benefit of our databases and shape files is that we will make them available freely through NITC to enable other researchers to conduct micro-level analysis as well as in-depth longitudinal and comparative analyses that we have not. We anticipate this will be a valuable contribution to future research by academics, students, policy analysts, and transit organizations.   

Project Details

Project Type:
Project Status:
In Progress
End Date:
December 31,2018
UTC Grant Cycle:
Round 1
UTC Funding: