Streetcars and Economic Development: Do Streetcars Stimulate Employment Growth?

Sarah Jack Hinners, Arthur C. Nelson, Martin Buchert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This study reports economic development outcomes—defined as change in employment—for areas within 0.25 mi of three streetcar stations along four lines in each of four cities: Portland OR; Salt Lake City UT; Seattle WA; and New Orleans LA. Employment 3 years prior to the start of the streetcar construction was compared with employment within the three streetcar station areas in 2013. Before–after comparisons were also applied to 10 bus stops within each urbanized area selected as “controls” because they were quantitatively comparable to each streetcar station area studied. Shift-share analysis is used to compare each streetcar and control station area’s employment trends with respect to central county economic performance. Portland’s system showed strong economic development consistency followed by New Orleans. The Salt Lake City and Seattle lines, however, did not perform as consistently. These results indicate that although streetcar investment may support economic development, it is not alone a driver of employment growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)339-350
Number of pages12
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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