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Title: L.A. Story: A Reality Check for Transit-based Housing

Author(s): Boarnet, Marlon and Randall Crane

Published: 1997 by Journal of the American Planning Association 63, pp. 189-204, Spring

Online Access: http://www.uctc.net/papers/250.pdf

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 get more people onto trains, reduce developersÂ’ 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. CitiesÂ’ 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 from more attention to their local fiscal and economic benefits.

Category: Public Transit      Transportation and Physical Planning      Transportation History      Transportation, Land Use, and Urban Form     

See other articles by the author(s): Randall Crane Marlon Boarnet

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