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Faster bus service improves home values, study says

Faster bus service improves home values, study says

Cleveland’s HealthLine helped increase the value of nearby apartment buildings. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

A new study shows that while few U.S. cities have quality bus rapid transit systems, those that do see benefits to nearby real estate value do.

The researchers examined the impact of bus rapid transit (or BRT) systems on real estate values ​​in the vicinity of 11 BRT systems in 10 US cities and found that previous research had found that traditional bus services generally had a minor negative impact Have an impact on nearby property values ​​and apartment rental prices.

While BRT had no adverse effects in most of the cities studied, it improved apartment building values ​​in some cities like Cleveland, which could be a model for some other cities to follow, said Blake Acton, who led the study and is a graduate student from the Ohio State University.

“What we’ve seen in Cleveland is something new and desirable, and people really want to live close to the BRT system there,” Acton said. “This demonstrates that it is possible to build premium BRT infrastructure and stimulate transit-oriented development in the United States.”

The study was published in Journal of Transport Geography.

“Our results show that locations close to BRT systems in congested, growing, high-traffic cities can see real estate value appreciation,” said study co-author Harvey Miller, professor of geography and director of the Center for Urban and Regional Analysis in the State of Ohio. “But high-quality BRT can have a positive impact in more cities.”

BRT differs from traditional bus transportation in that it seeks to provide faster and more efficient service through amenities such as dedicated bus lanes, greater service frequency, traffic light priority, off-vehicle fare collection, elevated platforms, and upgraded train stations.

However, most BRT systems in the United States lack key features – most notably dedicated bus lanes – and are often referred to as “BRT-lite”. In contrast, high quality full BRT systems include dedicated lanes.

BRT became popular around the world early in the century, but today there are only 438 of these systems in the US – about 8.2% of the world’s total system length.

“BRT exists all over the world and not just in densely populated megacities,” Acton said. “BRT can connect walkable areas in cities that have historically been very isolated.”

By comparing the before-and-after impact of BRT systems in 10 US cities on home price data from 1990 to 2016, the study found that, unlike traditional bus services, BRT routes with many amenities generally do not cause damage to property Values. In addition to Cleveland, the study examined BRT systems in Seattle, Eugene (Oregon), Oakland, Los Angeles, Kansas City, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Boston and Miami. In addition to proximity to jobs and green spaces, the study also considered neighborhood attributes that might change over time, such as race, income, education. The results showed that three of the 11 BRT systems saw property value increases near train stations, one system saw a decline and the remaining seven showed no significant changes.

According to the study, BRT can increase the value of apartment buildings in particular.

“We built separate models where we only looked at single-family homes and multi-family homes wherever there were enough of them in the city,” Acton said. “When we looked at Cleveland, we saw a tremendous difference between the two.”

Their results showed that single-family homes along the Cleveland Healthline system saw no change in value, but multi-family homes saw a 41.5% increase in their home values ​​compared to homes in similar, more distant neighborhoods.

Acton said such a result suggests that bus rapid transit systems can have an overall positive impact on their nearby communities.

The researchers said the Cleveland Healthline service’s success in increasing property values ​​can be attributed to the fact that it operates along a major thoroughfare, has dedicated bus lanes, and the corridor saw $7 billion in new investments, including extensive ones street renovations. This resulted in a 138% increase in ridership compared to the replaced bus service.

Apartment buildings could be the main beneficiaries of the rising property values ​​associated with BRTs, as these bus systems make car-less commuting easier, thus encouraging denser development.

The results also indicated that a car-centric BRT station design can be more of a nuisance than a benefit to the neighborhood, Miller said.

“The only time BRT affects property values ​​is when you have stations surrounded by parking lots. That means the BRT stations aren’t within walking distance and aren’t well-integrated into the city,” he said.

Overall, the study results suggest that when done properly, BRT can encourage more dense housing and improve some property values, Miller said.

“Public transport is the backbone of a sustainable urban transport system. I hope our study will encourage more communities to consider high-quality BRT as a viable option,” he said.


Surrounding properties show an appreciation in value when they are close to a transit station


More information:
Blake Acton et al., Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Impact on Home Values: A Comparative Analysis of 11 US BRT Systems, Journal of Transport Geography (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2022.103324

Provided by Ohio State University

citation: Bus Rapid Transit improves property values, says study (2022, April 4), accessed April 5, 2022

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https://phys.org/news/2022-04-bus-rapid-transit-property-values.html Faster bus service improves home values, study says

Russell Falcon

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