The Effects of Transitways on Auto Ownership and Auto Use: Evidence from the Hiawatha LRT

Principal Investigator:

Jason Cao, Assistant Professor , Humphrey School of Public Affairs

Project Summary:

Metropolitan Council and local governments in the Twin Cities have been promoting transitway programs and corresponding transit-oriented developments (TODs) to accommodate the increase in travel and slow the growth in congestion. Although previous studies have produced empirical evidence on the transit ridership benefits of transitways, few have examined their impacts on auto ownership and auto use, which are directly related to congestion. This project fills the gap. Specifically, using the data collected from five corridors in the Twin Cities in May 2011, this research will apply a structural equations model to quantify the influences of the Hiawatha light rail transit (LRT) and neighborhood characteristics on auto ownership and auto use of station-area residents through both cross-sectional and quasi-longitudinal analyses. The project will answer the following questions: Does the Hiawatha LRT lead to reductions in auto ownership and auto use? To what extent is it associated with the reductions (or how large are the impacts)? Similarly, how about neighborhood characteristics? To the best of the researchers' knowledge, this project will provide the most robust evidence on the relationships among transitway development, auto ownership, and auto use in the field. The results are expected to offer critical local knowledge in evaluating the role of transitways and TOD in addressing transportation challenges in the Twin Cities.


Project Details:

  • Start date: 09/2014
  • Project Status: Completed
  • Research Area: Planning and Economy
  • Topics: Transit planning