Economic Impact of Light Rail - Dallas, Texas

Light rail, whenever mentioned as a potential transit scheme, is usually mentioned as a tool of economic revitalization and/or development; densification as well. Held up as one of the prime examples is Dallas' DART system, which has seen several Transit-oriented Development districts. The largest and most widely known of these is Mockingbird Station.

After contacting the American Public Transit Authority, I obtained several copies of various light rail studies, including one, The Initial Economic Impacts of the DART LRT System, which analyzes the economic impact of LRT, and is very helpful in identifying confounding factors in analysis of LRT system effects, including highways, decentralization, relocation costs, changing economic structure, and local public policies.

The study found, using property values data, that in 11 of the 15 areas surrounding DART LRT stations, property values increased between 1994 and 1998, and that the jump in total valuations around DART stations was 25% higher than in control neighborhoods in other parts of the DFW metroplex. Along with this, when looking at land values, average appreciation around DART station was twice non-DART neighborhoods.

Therefore, one can see, at least in one aspect of "quality of life", LRT has a quantitative positive impact on its surroundings.


  1. I think this post deserves some follow-up. As good as those numbers are, they ultimately fall short of being super useful because they are 10 years old. The more revealing numbers would be ones that measure values through 2006 or 2007. I suspect you will find an even greater disparity. At this point, there are people purchasing townhomes in high-density transit oriented developments in Dallas, and commuting OUT to their jobs which are still in the 'burbs.

    From what I've heard, the other place to look at exploding values is the light rail system in Salt Lake City, of all places.

  2. Good first link. The generally held belief in the field appears to be that frequent bus transit adjacent to a property actually lowers property value; it would be interesting to see if Dallas had studied such neighborhoods as well.

  3. Here's a few research studies for you...




    That should at least get you started...

  4. Mark, I've got a contact at TTI that I keep meaning to talk to, and I'll mention that to him. Denver's LRT system is a lot like SLC's I believe?

    I'm a rookie at this punditry stuff...

    Mike, thanks... I don't think that DART examined that though.

    Pantograph, I found that last resource quite useful, thank you much.


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