Base Your Transit Investment Arguments on Agglomeration

Forget reducing congestion and improving the environment; a new paper makes perhaps the strongest argument yet for investing in public transit based on its ability to agglomerate, or cluster people together, raising wages and productivity.
August 14, 2013, 2pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"In a new paper set for publication in Urban Studies, [Daniel] Chatman [of the University of California at Berkeley] and fellow planner Robert Noland of Rutgers University use concrete numbers to make the case that transit produces agglomeration," writes Eric Jaffe. "They report that this hidden economic value of transit could be worth anywhere from $1.5 million to $1.8 billion a year, depending on the size of the city. And the bigger the city, they find, the bigger the agglomeration benefit of expanding transit."

"Simply put, city officials now have a much stronger argument for using taxpayer money to improve their public transportation service," he adds. "If showing that system expansion leads to more riders and less congestion is good, and showing that it reduces pollution and improves public safety is great, then showing in big numbers how much economic growth will occur should be gold."

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Published on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 in The Atlantic Cities
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