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Land Use Impacts of Bus Rapid Transit: Effects of BRT Station Proximity on Property Values along the Pittsburgh Martin Luther King, Jr. East Busway

The development of bus rapid transit (BRT) systems is relatively recent in the United States; however, several systems are operating and many more are being planned. A more comprehensive understanding of the relationship between land use and BRT is needed, particularly in comparison to other fixed-guideway modes. This report documents an effort to quantify the impacts of BRT stations on the values of surrounding single-family homes.

The hypothesis is that BRT stations have an impact on property value that is commensurate with rail transit projects considering the level and permanence of services and facilities. To test this hypothesis, a hedonic regression model was used to estimate the impact of distance to a BRT station on the fair market value of single-family homes. Because many BRT systems operating in the United States may be too new to find evidence of capitalization into property values, data from Pittsburgh’s East Busway, one of the oldest operating BRT systems in the country, was used. Decreasing marginal effects were found: moving from 101 to 100 feet from a station increases property value approximately $19.00, while moving from 1001 to 1000 feet increases property value approximately $2.75. Another way to interpret this result is to say that a property 1,000 feet away from a station is valued approximately $9,745 less than a property 100 feet away, all else constant (this figure is determined by summing the marginal effects for each foot of distance).

The results shown in this report are only valid for the data used in Pittsburgh’s case. As more BRT systems continue operating in the United States for more years, this method should be applied to other cities and other types of properties to gain a better understanding of the general property value and land use impacts of proximity to BRT.