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The Effect of Rail Transit on Property Values: A Summary of Studies, Draft

A good transit system provides a hig h level of access to work and other activities for households and to customers and employees for businesses. The monetary value of this access will be reflected in the value of a home or a business, in addition to the value of other features such as the specific physical attributes of the building and neighborhood characteristics. This paper reviews recent studies on rail transit’s effect on property values. A matrix with the key findings of the major studies carried out over the last ten years can be found in the last section.

The impact of rail transit on property values has been studied from many perspectives, including analyses of different types of systems (e.g., rapid, commuter, light rail), of residential versus commercial impacts, and studies that have attempted to isolate both positive and negative effects. The varied approaches make it difficult to compare the results of one study to another. Further, some of the contradictory results over the years have often been due to differing methods of analysis, data quality, and regional differences. Nevertheless, it is clear that in most cases access to rail systems is valued by property owners and there is little support for the suggestion that proximity to rail actually decreases property values.