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L.A. Story: A Reality Check for Transit-Based Housing

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  • Boarnet, Marlon
  • Crane, Randall

Abstract

An increasingly influential planning strategy for leveraging rail transit is high-density residential development near rail stations, or 'Transit-Based Housing'. Proponents argue such projects will get more people onto trains, reduce developers' expenses, and lower commuting costs, housing prices, and air pollution in the bargain. While most of the literature has addressed the merit of such projects, this paper considers a separate question: Whatever virtues transit-based housing may have, what are its prospects? We find that transit-based housing faces a much steeper uphill battle than the conventional wisdom suggests. Cities' parochial fiscal and economic interests appear to conflict with transit-based housing in several fundamental respects, a view strongly supported by a behavioral analysis of zoning data for all 232 existing and proposed Southern California rail transit stations. Municipalities behave as if they prefer to use rail transit stations for economic rather than residential development, suggesting that transit oriented planning strategies would profit form more attention to their local fiscal and economic benefits.

Suggested Citation

  • Boarnet, Marlon & Crane, Randall, 1995. "L.A. Story: A Reality Check for Transit-Based Housing," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt28130050, University of California Transportation Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:uctcwp:qt28130050
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. J Landis & R Cervero & P Hall, 1991. "Transit joint development in the USA: an inventory and policy assessment," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 9(4), pages 431-452, August.
    2. Wachs, Martin, 1993. "Learning from Los Angeles: Transport, Urban Form, and Air Quality," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt2wv0h7rq, University of California Transportation Center.
    3. Cervero, Robert & Bernick, Michael & Gilbert, Jill, 1994. "Market Opportunities and Barriers to Transit-Based Development in California," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt2c01z5hw, University of California Transportation Center.
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    Cited by:

    1. Boarnet, Marlon G. & Compin, Nicholas S., 1996. "Transit-Oriented Development in San Diego County: Incrementally Implementing a Comprehensive Idea," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt52v7c5rr, University of California Transportation Center.
    2. Jianling Li & Martin Wachs, 2000. "A test of inter-modal performance measures for transit investment decisions," Transportation, Springer, vol. 27(3), pages 243-267, June.
    3. Guerra, Erick Strom, 2013. "The New Suburbs: Evolving travel behavior, the built environment, and subway investments in Mexico City," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt88t7k9p5, University of California Transportation Center.
    4. Guerra, Erick Strom, 2013. "The New Suburbs: Evolving travel behavior, the built environment, and subway investment in Mexico City," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt4hf3b46g, University of California Transportation Center.
    5. Crane, Randall, 1995. "On Form Versus Function: Will the "New Urbanism" Reduce Traffic or Increase It?," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt7bj9g6bg, University of California Transportation Center.

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    Keywords

    Social and Behavioral Sciences;

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