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Top priority for transitway development should be employers and jobs

Date Published: 05/25/2012


You are a policymaker and you have a tough choice between two big development proposals for the same site on a key light rail line or transitway. All other things being equal, which do you choose: a major employer or a large housing complex?

If overall accessibility improvement and employer access to labor is the goal, take the employer, says new research presented this week at the 23rd Annual Transportation Research Conference in St. Paul this week.

The research report by University of Minnesota Humphrey School Assistant Professor Yingling Fan was complex and aimed at planning professionals. But the bottom-line key finding was straightforward: "Locating new jobs near transitways produces larger increases in accessibility than locating new housing near transitways.'' Getting these fundamentals right are important because by 2030 we likely will have an integrated network of 14 transitways up and running in the Twin Cities, ranging from light rail to commuter rail to express bus lines. Few public investments are more important for business growth than transporation infractructure.

Fan's research was sponsored by the McKnight Foundation, the Jay & Rose Phillips Family Foundation and the Surdna Foundation. Abstracts from the conference provide rich state-of-the-art thinking on a wide array of transportation investment issues.

Dane Smith 

St. Paul resident and son inspecting Central Corridor construction in downtown St. Paul (Metropolitan Council photo)


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