Real estate development in anticipation of the Green Line light rail transit in St. Paul

Jason Cao, Dean Porter-Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Although previous studies have extensively explored the impacts of rail transit on economic development after its opening, few have examined its impact on real estate development before its opening. Using the building permit data of the city of St. Paul, this study investigates the effects of key announcements of the Green Line light rail transit (LRT) by employing location quotient analysis and difference-in-difference models to compare building activity in the LRT corridor and control corridors. We found that the announcement of preliminary engineering had no positive impacts on the count and value of building permits whereas the announcement of Full Funding Grant Agreement tended to increase the number of building permit by about 24% and the value by 80%. We concluded that LRT investment, in conjunction with proactive land use planning policies, public subsidies and public funded projects, increases building activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-32
Number of pages9
JournalTransport Policy
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The research was funded by the Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota (Grant No. 2014049 ). We thank planners of Planning and Economic Development, St. Paul, and Transitway Impact Research Program for their help and advice. Many components of Section 4.3 came from meetings with planners in the City of St. Paul. The St. Paul building permit dataset was assembled and provided to us in February 2014. It should be noted that all interpretations of the data are our own, and do not reflect the views of the city of St. Paul.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd


  • Building permit
  • Economic development
  • Land use
  • Rail transit
  • Transit-oriented development


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