Literature suggests that rail transit improvements should be associated with more jobs and perhaps increasing share of jobs in a metropolitan area. Literature and some research also suggest that such improvements should increase the number of lower-wage jobs accessible to transit. In this paper, we assess both in the context of all 11 light rail transit systems built in metropolitan areas of fewer than eight million residents in the nation since 1981. Using census block-level job data over the period 2002 to 2011, we evaluate change in jobs and change in metropolitan area job share for all jobs, and lower- and upper-wage jobs for selected light rail transit (LRT) corridors and comparable corridors in each of these 11 metropolitan areas. Overall, we find little difference between the LRT and control corridors in both attracting new jobs and new lower-wage jobs, or in changing relative share of jobs compared to their metropolitan areas, though systems built since 2004 appear to have fared slightly better in both respects. We view these results as generally supportive of LRT employment-related objectives. Planning and policy implications are offered. (Author abstract)
But do lower-wage jobs follow? Comparing wage-based outcomes of light rail transit to control corridors
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