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New streetcar lines are in the planning stages in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Proponents cite not only the lines’ ability to strengthen the transit system, but also their potential as catalysts for development. Estimating the impacts of streetcars is challenging, however, as most U.S. lines operate in downtown areas with many interrelated factors at play. A recent U of M research project examined the issue through the prism of one city’s experience: post-Katrina New Orleans.

The team—research fellow Andrew Guthrie and Assistant Professor Yingling Fan of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs—analyzed building permits near streetcar stops in the downtown business district and in several urban neighborhoods.

“Hurricane Katrina allowed—or required—more redevelopment to occur at a faster pace than 
normal, potentially allowing existing streetcar lines’ latent development impacts to appear,” Guthrie says. “This created an unfortunate yet rare opportunity for study.”

The researchers estimated how the frequency of commercial and residential permits changed with distance from streetcar stops, controlling for hurricane damage, proximity to existing commercial areas, and pre-Katrina demographics.

They found that throughout the system, building permits strongly reflect the distance to stops—and that commercial and residential permits move in opposite directions within the first 750 feet.

Commercial permits declined the further away the location was from a stop. In residential areas, commercial permits show variation depending on neighborhood characteristics. The number of neighborhood residential permits rose about 24 percent with every 100 feet from a stop.

Based on their results, Guthrie and Fan conclude that traditional streetcar lines can help increase commercial development not just in downtown business districts, but in other urban areas as well. The findings also indicate that streetcars shape development in urban neighborhoods in a fundamentally different fashion than light rail.

Read the full article in the January issue of Catalyst.

Spring research seminars begin February 6

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The spring series of CTS research seminars kicks off next Thursday, February 6. This year's topics will include bridge scour monitoring technology, roundabout signing and striping, and transit-oriented jobs-housing balance.

Seminars will be held from 3 to 4 p.m. each Thursday during February (except Feb. 20) on the U of M campus in Minneapolis. You can either attend in person or watch the live webcast of each seminar.

Additional information is available on the CTS website.

Seminar schedule:


development.jpgA new research study is recommending ways to make it easier for developers and employers to select sites that encourage living-wage jobs and mixed-income housing near transit.

A key finding of the study, which was based on interviews with developers and business leaders, revealed a pent-up demand for transit access in the Twin Cities metropolitan region.

A team led by University of Minnesota researchers Yingling Fan and Andrew Guthrie found that providing a great work location is critical for employers in recruiting highly skilled young professionals who are likely to desire--or demand--urban living and access to transit.

They also found that multifamily residential developers, redevelopment specialists, and large corporate office tenants have a strong interest in transit-accessible sites, but regulatory barriers, cost issues, and uncertainty surrounding future development of transit often discourage both developers and businesses from selecting such sites.

More details about the study and key recommendations

New issue of Journal of Transport and Land Use published

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Vol. 6, Issue 1 of the Journal of Transport and Land Use, is now available at https://www.jtlu.org/index.php/jtlu.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Journal of Transport and Land Use enters year six
David M. Levinson, University of Minnesota

Linking urban transport and land use in developing countries
Robert B. Cervero, University of California, Berkeley

Measuring the impacts of local land-use policies on vehicle miles of travel: The case of the first big-box store in Davis, California
Kristin Lovejoy, Gian-Claudia Sciara, Deborah Salon, Susan Handy, and
Patricia Mokhtarian, University of California, Davis

Microsimulation framework for urban price-taker markets
Bilal Farooq, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
Eric J. Miller, Franco Chingcuanco, and Martin Giroux-Cook, University of
Toronto

Why people use their cars while the built environment imposes cycling
Veronique Van Acker, Ben Derudder, and Frank Witlox, Ghent University

What is mixed use? Presenting an interaction method for measuring land use mix

Kevin Manaugh and Tyler Kreider, McGill University

An Agent-Based Model of Origin Destination Estimation (ABODE)

Nebiyou Tilahun, University of Illinois at Chicago
David M. Levinson, University of Minnesota

The impact of transport, land and fiscal policy on housing and economic geography in a small, open growth model
Wei-Bin Zhang, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Japan

Book Reviews
Montréal at the Crossroads, edited by Pierre Gauthier, Jochen Jaeger, and Jason Princer
Paul Anderson, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne


The Journal of Transport and Land Use is an open-access, peer-reviewed online journal publishing original interdisciplinary papers on the interaction of transport and land use.

Domains include: engineering, planning, modeling, behavior, economics, geography, regional science, sociology, architecture and design, network science, and complex systems.

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Center for Transportation Studies

University of Minnesota

200 Transportation & Safety Building

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E-mail: cts@umn.edu

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