Light Rail Transit Investment and Industry Employment Redistribution

Authors: Maryam Khabazi*, University of North Carolina - Charlotte
Topics: Transportation Geography, Economic Geography
Keywords: rail transit, economic activity, industrial composition, difference-in-difference
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/14/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Evergreen, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

This research investigates the link between investments in light rail transit and changes in economic activities in adjacent neighborhoods. More specifically, are changes in the industrial composition of transit neighborhoods due to increasing activity in certain sectors in the city and/or just in the transit neighborhoods? Spatial distribution of employment within cities have long been a concern for local governments. Partly due to concerns over fiscal problems of central city (due to employment decentralization) but also spatial mismatch in the local labor market. Transportation infrastructure improvements are one of the policies that have been implemented to alter the spatial distribution of employment within cities (Bollinger and Ilhanfeldt 2003).
Using a difference-in-difference approach, we examine how light rail transit investments influence industrial composition (share of employment in different industry sectors) of adjacent neighborhoods. We specifically study employment in the following sectors: trade, transportation, and utilities; information; finance and real state; professional and business services; education and health services; leisure and hospitality; and public administration. Data on employment by sector comes from the LEHD Origin-Destination Employment Statistics (LODES) datasets which is available for 2002-2014. Study areas include cities that had a light rail line opened between 2006 and 2010 in the US in order to observe changes at least four years before and after a station opens. These cities are Phoenix AZ, Saint Louis MO, Charlotte, NC, and Seattle WA.

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