High-quality transit areas (HQTAs): Capitalization effects and infill potential in the Southern California region

Authors: Kevin Kane*, Southern California Association of Governments, Frank Wen, Southern California Association of Governments, Jung Seo, Southern California Association of Governments
Topics: Urban Geography, Urban and Regional Planning, Applied Geography
Keywords: Infill development, transit-oriented development, regional planning, urban land-use change
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


States, localities, and municipal planning organizations (MPOs) increasingly promote transit-oriented development as an effort to decrease greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and alleviate traffic congestion. Despite these broadly distributed goals, an increased flow of investment capital into high accessibility neighborhoods brings concerns of housing unaffordability and residential displacement, especially given trends toward “urban inversion” amongst millennials, retirees, and real estate developers. On the other hand, businesses and municipalities have increasingly looked to alternative forms of infill development which could mitigate these effects. The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), the largest MPO in the United States, defines High Quality Transit Areas (HQTAs) as those within walking distance to rail transit or high-frequency bus service. We take a longitudinal approach toward the home price capitalization effects as well as the infill development potential in HQTAs. First, using point-level property transaction data from 1993-2015 and a hedonic model, this research evaluates whether and how the HQTA capitalization effect has changed alongside evolving perspectives toward transit access. This augments recent research in the region which has suggested that VMT reduction is substantial but is skewed toward areas with longstanding transit service. Secondly, using parcel land use data, a methodology was developed to evaluate the potential of infill and so-called “refill” development in HQTAs in order to promote densification. This research advances the understanding of the longitudinal nature of transit access capitalization as well as providing a forward-looking perspective for geographers and planners seeking to mitigate potential adverse market effects of service improvement.

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