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Study: Good Access to Transit Attracts Startups

Startups are increasingly abandoning the suburban office park to try their luck in denser urban cores. According to this study, good transit is one factor behind that trend. But it's not the only one.
August 8, 2019, 6am PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Joe Ravi

"High-tech startups have become increasingly urban in the past decade or so, gravitating to dense neighborhoods in downtown San Francisco and Lower Manhattan, which have supplanted Silicon Valley as the nation's leading centers for such startups," Richard Florida writes. Among new businesses of all types, access to transit is playing a part in that shift.

Florida discusses a study that uses spatial econometric techniques to analyze the relationship between transit and startups in five cities: San Jose, Austin, Philadelphia, Cleveland, and Boston. "The study documents a close relationship between startups and transit, even though the average block in the study has residents with a fairly high level of car ownership," Florida writes. The study finds a greater association between commuter trains and new startups, at about double the rate of light and heavy rail.

At the same time, the study demonstrates that transit is only one way for burgeoning urban cores to attract new businesses. After all, both San Jose and Austin are renowned for their startup culture and neither has particularly well-developed transit infrastructure. Boston is an example of a city that boasts both.

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Published on Thursday, July 18, 2019 in CityLab
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