You are a policy-maker and you have a tough choice between two major development proposals for the same site on a major light-rail line or transitway. All things being equal, which do you choose: a major employer or a large housing complex?
If overall accessibility improvement and employer access to labor is the goal, take the employer, says new research presented this week at the 23rd Annual Transportation Research Conference in St. Paul this week.
The research by University of Minnesota Humphrey School Assistant Professor Yingling Fan was complex and aimed at planning professionals. But the bottom-line key finding was straightforward: “Locating new jobs near transitways produces larger increases in accessibility than locating new housing near transitways.” Getting these fundamentals right are important because by 2030 we likely will have an integrated network of 14 transitways up and running in the Twin Cities, ranging from light-rail to commuter rail to express bus lines. Few public investments are more important for business growth than transporation infractructure. Equally important is better access for a workforce that is increasingly comprised of low- and middle-income communities of color, and who need much better connectivity to jobs in the new economy.
Fan’s research was sponsored by the McKnight Foundation, the Jay & Rose Phillips Foundation and the Surdna Foundation. Abstracts from the conference provide rich state-of-the-art thinking on a wide array of transportation investment issues.