Does Fixed Transit Really Spur Economic Development?

April 1, 2011 6 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Does rail-based mass transit really stimulate growth in urban core neighborhoods outside of downtown? Metro Jacksonville takes a visual look at peer city 2010 urban core census results and lets you decide.


Outside of Downtown, the majority of Jacksonville's urban core declined in population during the last decade.  Metro Jacksonville believes one sure fire way to return growth to areas of town that were built to hold density is to reconnect them with fixed mass transit, turning isolated neighborhoods into one major walkable district.  The urban core maps of a few select peer cities are scaled at the same size as the Jacksonville image above.  In addition, these city's fixed transit lines have been overlayed on them to visually reveal if they've been a positive to the inner city neighborhoods adjacent to them.  The results are not suprising.

Austin Capital Metrorail (DMU commuter rail)

Charlotte LYNX Blue Line LRT

Houston Metrorail Red Line LRT

Kenosha Kenosha Streetcar

Little Rock River Rail Streetcar

Memphis Memphis Streetcar

Miami Metrorail (Green/Red), Metromover (Purple), Tri-Rail commuter rail (Green)

Norfolk The Wave LRT

Salt Lake City Utah TRAX LRT (Purple), Frontrunner commuter rail (Green)

Tacoma Tacoma Link LRT (Purple), Seattle Sounder commuter rail (Green)

Tampa TECO Line Streetcar

Looking at the scaled urban core maps of various peer cities with recent fixed transit investments, is it a coincidence that the majority of inner city neighborhoods along these lines increased in population over the last decade?

Source of maps:

Article by Ennis Davis