Effect of beltways on metropolitan economic activity

A. C. Nelson, Mitchell Moody

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


There is debate on the effect of beltways, also known as loop and perimeter highways, on metropolitan economic activity. This article contributes to that debate by evaluating the association between beltways and retail/service activity among 44 metropolitan areas in the United States. After controlling for other factors, statistical analysis indicates that metropolitan areas with one or more beltways fared less well in sales per capita than metropolitan areas with no beltways and metropolitan areas with one beltway fared better than those with two or more. The reason is that beltways deconcentrate metropolitan populations to levels that prevent the creation of trade areas sufficient to support retail and service firms at the margins. Policy implications are offered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-196
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Urban Planning and Development
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Urban Studies


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