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04/06/2007: "Rail Transit & Civic Wealth"
A posting on the American Public Transit Association's website lists a long series of articles exploring the inevitable rise in property values associated with being near a rail transit station.

These increases appear to be rigorously determined, since they generally evaluate properties that were in existence before the transit system was installed, though in some cases they explore the valuations of similar properties in a neighborhood and correlate them to their distances from the transit stop.

Western, eastern, and midwestern cities are examined, including San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Clara County (San Jose, where we saw the sleek trams operating when we visited the North American Handmade Bicycle Show last month), Chicago, Boston, DC, Dallas, and Atlanta,as well as several others.

In cities old and new, east and west, with rail transit either long-established or brand-new, the effect held: property values, both commercial and residential, were higher the closer the property in question was to a rail transit station.

As we know, proximity to a freeway interchange has an opposite effect.

So this seems to represent an indirect vote of the people for rail transit, since property values generally represent the attractiveness of an area to residents and business operators.

Higher property values generally mean higher property tax collections, resulting (ideally) in better schools, more libraries and parks, more diligent maintenance of public infrastructure, more comprehensive services such as police, fire, and health protection, and so forth.

Furthermore, since rail can move many people while using little surface space (none, if it's a subway), rail corridors do not remove as much land from use for living or working as do freeway corridors.

All in all, rail transit makes for a happier economy, no matter what sort of economy you have.


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