The University of Utah
College of Architecture + Planning

Working Papers & Presentations

The Effects of BRT on Sectoral Employment Change in the U.S., 2000-2010
Authors: Joanna P. Ganning, PhD; Keuntae Kim, PhD Student; Mercedes Beaudoin, MSURP; Arthur C. Nelson, PhD, FAICP

Abstract: Recently Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) has gained in popularity across the United States due to its relatively low costs of development among transit types and its simultaneous potential to drive economic development. However, very little research has been conducted to understand the economic impacts of such systems across sectors. This paper uses buffer areas around BRT stations on nine lines opened in the mid-2000s across the U.S., and equally sized areas around control points, to estimate the effects of BRT stations on employment growth for sectors. We find that while our model adequately predicts overall employment change regardless of BRT, BRT is found to influence employment change in only one sector—manufacturing. We believe this finding should be encouraging to economic development planners, as manufacturing provides an employment base for a broad spectrum of income levels, and represents a significant share of industrial recruitment activity.

Key Words: Bus Rapid Transit, Employment, GIS Model Builder, NAICS, Industry, Sectors, Economic Development,

Bus Rapid Transit and Location Affordability
Authors: Arthur C. Nelson, PhD, FAICP; Dejan Eskic, MRED; Keuntae Kim, PhD Student; Joanna P. Ganning, PhD

Abstract: Literature shows that transportation costs as a share of household income increase with respect to distance from downtowns and freeway interchanges but it is silent on the relationship with proximity to bus rapid transit (BRT) stations. Our study helps close this gap in literature. Using ordinary least squares regression analysis, we evaluate block group data for all 12 BRT lines operating in the U.S. in 2010. We use the Department of Housing and Urban Development Location Affordability Index database which estimates the share of household budgets consumed by transportation. In addition to control variables, we measure the distance of block group centroids to the center of central business districts (CBD), freeway interchanges, and BRT stations. We use the quadratic transformation of the CBD and BRT distance variables to estimate the extent to which distance affects are found. We find that household transportation costs as a share of budgets increase with respect to CBD distance to about 19 miles and about eight miles with respect to BRT stations. We offer implications for planning and housing, as well as for future research.

Key Words: Bus Rapid Transit, Affordability, Household Income, HUD,

Express Busways and Economic Development: Case Study of the South Miami-Dade Busway
Authors: Arthur C. Nelson, PhD, FAICP; Keuntae Kim, PhD Student; Nilia M. Cartaya M.S.; Dejan Eskic, MRED; Joanna P. Ganning, PhD

Abstract: A growing body of literature is showing important associations between several forms of fixed-guideway public transit systems and economic development. These include heavy- or fifth-rail, light rail, street car, and bus rapid transit systems. Yet, there exists no assessment of the economic development contributions of express bus service. Using the Longitudinal-Household Employment Database, we evaluate the change in jobs and share of jobs within 0.50 mile of the express bus stations comprising the South Miami-Dade Busway over the period 2002 through 2011. Our analytic method is shift-share analysis which compares change and share of change of jobs with respect to the central county of Miami-Dade. In addition, to control for the counter-factual—that is, that development (or lack thereof) would have occurred anyway—we devised an algorithm to identify 10 alternative locations having comparable attributes to each existing station at the beginning of our study period. We again used shift-share analysis to assess development outcomes before and after the recession with respect to these counter-factual locations and compared outcomes to Express Bus stations. We find important economic development outcomes with respect to the South Miami-Dade Busway. Planning and policy implications are offered.

Key Words: Bus Rapid Transit, Economic Development, Longitudinal-Household Employment Database, Employment Change, Transportation planning

Profiles in Bus Rapid Transit and Economic Development: Shift-Share Assessment of Pre-and Post-Recession Job Change with Planning and Policy Implications
Authors: Arthur C. Nelson, PhD, FAICP; Keuntae Kim, PhD Student; Dejan Eskic, MRED; Joanna P. Ganning, PhD

Abstract: Longitudinal Employment-Household Dynamics data are used to evaluate the change in jobs and share of jobs within 0.50 mile of BRT stations over the period 2002 through 2011. We use shift-share analysis to compare pre-recession (2002/2004-2007) and recovery (2008-2011) periods for the BRT station areas compared to the central county. In addition, to control for the counterfactual—that is, that development (or lack thereof) would have occurred anyway—we devised an algorithm to identify 10 alternative locations having comparable attributes to each existing station at the beginning of our study period (2002/2004). We again used shift-share analysis to assess development outcomes before and after the recession with respect to these counter-factual locations and compared outcomes to BRT stations. We offer a qualified assessment of whether the type of BRT system technology makes a difference in economic development outcomes. For the most part, we find modest economic development outcomes with respect to BRT before the recession but important outcomes during recovery. We further find circumstantial evidence suggesting that more technologically advanced BRT systems may contribute to positive economic development outcomes. Planning and policy implications are offered.

Key Words: Bus Rapid Transit, Economic Development, Longitudinal-Household Employment Database, Employment, Transportation Planning

Bus Rapid Transit and Wage-Related Job Change
Authors: Arthur C. Nelson, PhD, FAICP; Keuntae Kim, PhD Student; Dejan Eskic, MRED; Joanna P. Ganning, PhD

Abstract: Literature suggests that one promise of fixed-guideway transit systems is to attract more lower-wage jobs near transit stations. In this paper, we evaluate this proposition in the context bus rapid transit (BRT). We use shift-share analysis to assess the change in share of jobs by lower-, middle-and upper-wage categories for the 12 BRT systems operating in 2010. We use the Longitudinal Employment-Household Dynamics database at the block group level for our analysis. To help control for the counter-factual—that is, the shift in jobs by wage group would have occurred anyway—we devised an algorithm to identify 10 alternative locations having comparable attributes to each existing station at the beginning of our study period. We again used shift-share analysis to assess the shift in jobs based on wage categories before and after the Great Recession with respect to these counter-factual locations and compared outcomes to BRT station areas. We find that before the recession, the shift in jobs for all wage groups was about the same between BRT station areas and counter-factual locations. During recovery, however, BRT station areas saw larger shifts compared to counter-factual locations for lower-wage and upper-wage jobs. However, BRT station areas were associated with the largest positive shift in the share of upper-wage jobs during economic recovery while the share of lower-wage jobs in BRT station areas fell both compared to their central counties and counter-factual locations. Implications are offered.

Key Words: Bus Rapid Transit, Economic Development, Longitudinal-Household Employment Database, Employment, Transportation Planning