New Report Reinforces Importance of Transit – Job Connection

by Mariia Zimmerman

Maximizing the Benefits of Transitway Investments

Maximizing the Benefits of Transitway Investments

Today, the Center for Transportation Studies at the University of Minnesota released a new research summary: “Maximizing the Benefits of Transitway Investment” written by MZ Strategies, LLC. The summary provides highlights and policy implications of new research by Humphrey Institute Professor Yingling Fan on the projected land use impacts to regional transit accessibility. The full report, "Enterprising Twin Cities Transitways: Regional Competitiveness and Social Equity in an Integrated Land Use and Transit Context," examines different scenarios for locating jobs and housing near the Twin Cities 14 future transit corridors.

Among the key research and policy findings: 

  • Locating new jobs near transitways produces larger increases in accessibility than locating new housing near transitways, with the greatest accessibility benefits realized by balancing both. This benefits employers by improving access to a wider set of worker abilities.
  • Regional economic competitiveness is increased with stronger coordination of transit service to key competitive industry clusters, particularly those with a preference for locating in more compact areas.
  • Not all development has the same impact on accessibility—placing new jobs near transitways creates greater accessibility gains than placing new housing near them.
  • Strategies to support minority-owned businesses, small-business entrepreneurship, job training, and location of support services (such as day care and schools) within the transitway corridors can also maximize economic development opportunities throughout the region.
  • Consider building regional transit faster. Accelerating the build-out of the system and prioritizing where it will do the most good matters to the region’s economic competitiveness in the global marketplace.
What regional leaders are saying about this new research: “Facilities and HR managers take note: Yingling Fan’s research has revealed a significant opportunity for business. By locating jobs on or near transitways, businesses gain a significant competitive advantage in accessing the largest practical labor pool possible – an advantage that will only grow sharply as competition for employees increases due to demographic shifts. These findings underscore the importance of targeted communications and polices directed at facility site selectors and close collaboration between transportation, housing, and business associations in order to realize the greatest economic and community benefits from transit investments.”   Jay Cowles, Co-Chair, The Itasca Project Transportation Initiative