As bus rapid transit (BRT) grows in popularity in the United States, a better understanding of the mode’s impacts on land uses and property values is needed. Economic theory suggests, and literature has shown, that people are willing to pay higher housing costs to lower their costs of transportation to areas of economic activity. Does high-quality BRT service reliably provide such access and, thereby, increase residential property values?
The hypothesis is that property values are higher closer to BRT stations, reflecting a premium for the access provided by the BRT service to various goods, services, employment, education, and recreation. There has been some work on this topic outside of the U.S.; however, due to various cultural, social, and institutional differences, those experiences may not be applicable to U.S. property values. The literature includes, to date, very little work on U.S. BRT systems’ impacts on property values using robust econometric techniques and/or spatial modeling. Further, because every BRT system is different, it is necessary to analyze additional case studies to provide a more robust understanding of how modern U.S. experiences with BRT services may affect surrounding property values.
This research contributes to the relatively small body of literature on property value impacts of BRT in the U.S. by conducting a case study on Lane Transit District’s EmX BRT service (Eugene, Oregon) using econometric modeling techniques to estimate changes in property values associated with the BRT. The analysis is based on hedonic price regression analysis, where sale prices are modeled using several property characteristics that contribute to the market or sale price. The findings of this research indicate that the EmX BRT system does positively impact surrounding single-family home sale prices.
Results are statistically significant yet, as expected, relatively small in magnitude. An interesting finding is that the impact of the EmX stations on property values increased in each of the three periods examined in this study. For 2005 single-family home sales, the price increased $823 on average for every 100 meters closer to a station. In 2010, the marginal impact increased to an average of $1,056 for every 100 meters closer to a station. In 2016, every 100 meters closer to a station adds an average of $1,128 to a home’s sale price. These results provide further insight into how BRT services can enhance the livability and economic development in a community, and provide policymakers and the transit industry throughout the U.S. with the best information possible to make informed transit investment decisions in their communities.