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Public transit investment and sustainable transportation: A review of studies of transit's impact on traffic congestion and air quality

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  • Beaudoin, Justin
  • Farzin, Y. Hossein
  • Lin Lawell, C.-Y. Cynthia

Abstract

In this paper we provide a framework for evaluating public transit investment, taking account of the effects of transit investment on traffic congestion and air quality. We discuss how to assess the sustainability of transit investment and the mechanisms through which public transit investment can affect equilibrium auto travel volumes and the associated congestion and air quality outcomes. Several related issues are addressed: the differences between short-run and long-run equilibria; the role of regional heterogeneity; regulatory and policy considerations; and the potential endogeneity of transit investment when conducting empirical analyses. As the transportation policy landscape evolves and technological advancements continue, a complete evaluation of the social benefits of transit investment is essential both for allocating investment funds and for designing policies that result in an efficient level of investment and travel in the long run. Does the existing evidence bolster public transit's ‘green’ reputation? Reviewing the recent empirical literature, it appears that transit can both reduce congestion and improve air quality, but the magnitudes of these benefits are uncertain and may be specific to each location.

Suggested Citation

  • Beaudoin, Justin & Farzin, Y. Hossein & Lin Lawell, C.-Y. Cynthia, 2015. "Public transit investment and sustainable transportation: A review of studies of transit's impact on traffic congestion and air quality," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 15-22.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:retrec:v:52:y:2015:i:c:p:15-22
    DOI: 10.1016/j.retrec.2015.10.004
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Jussila Hammes , Johanna & Pyddoke , Roger & Swärdh, Jan-Erik, 2016. "The influence of public transport supply on private car use in 17 mid-sized Swedish cities from 1997 to 2011," Working papers in Transport Economics 2016:25, CTS - Centre for Transport Studies Stockholm (KTH and VTI).
    2. repec:spr:envpol:v:20:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10018-017-0181-x is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:eee:jeeman:v:87:y:2018:i:c:p:72-93 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:eee:jeeman:v:88:y:2018:i:c:p:114-133 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Zhang, Wei & Lin Lawell, C.-Y. Cynthia & Umanskaya, Victoria I., 2017. "The effects of license plate-based driving restrictions on air quality: Theory and empirical evidence," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 181-220.
    6. repec:eee:jeeman:v:88:y:2018:i:c:p:447-467 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Morrison, Geoffrey M. & Lin Lawell, C.-Y. Cynthia, 2016. "Does employment growth increase travel time to work?: An empirical analysis using military troop movements," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 180-197.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Public transit investment; Congestion; Urban transportation policies; Pollution;

    JEL classification:

    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy
    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise
    • R42 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Government and Private Investment Analysis; Road Maintenance; Transportation Planning
    • R48 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Government Pricing and Policy

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