Accessibility Productivity & Agglomeration

We examine the nexus between transportation infrastructure (current and past, urban subway and inter-urban high speed rail), land use configuration, auto ownership and travel choices, and productivity and agglomeration, via the metric of accessibility. We develop the method of capacity constrained accessibility (CCA) to quantify the degree to which capacity constraints influence the effective accessibility contribution by new infrastructure. We examine how high speed rail has reshaped inter-city accessibility patterns in China and enhanced agglomeration economies across regions with both generative and complex redistributive effects. We trace the historical urban rail in Boston and how it still exerts its influence on today’s residential and travel choices.     

Worse than Baumol's disease: The implications of labor productivity, contracting out, and unionization on transit operation costs, Javier Morales-Sarriera, Frederick Salvucci, and Jinhua Zhao , Transport Policy, 10/2017, Volume 61, p.10-16, (2017)

Unit costs measured as bus operating costs per vehicle mile have increased considerably above the inflation rate in recent decades in most transit agencies in the United States. This paper examines the impact of (lack of) productivity growth, union bargaining power, and contracting out on cost escalation. We draw from a 17-year (1997–2014) and a 415-bus transit agency panel with 5780 observations by type of operation (directly operated by the agency or contracted out). We have three main...

Capacity Constrained Accessibility of High-Speed Rail, Yu Shen, and Jinhua Zhao , Transportation, p.1–28, (2015)

This paper proposes an enhanced measure of accessibility that explicitly considers circumstances in which the capacity of the transport infrastructure is limited. Under these circumstances, passengers may suffer longer waiting times, resulting in the delay or cancellation of trips. Without considering capacity constraints, the standard measure overestimates the accessibility contribution of transport infrastructure. We estimate the expected waiting time and the probability of forgoing trips...

Hysteresis and Urban Rail: The Effects of Past Urban Rail on Current Residential and Travel Choices, David Block-Schachter, and Jinhua Zhao , European Journal of Transport and Infrastructure Research, Volume 15, Issue 1, p.78–91, (2015)

Cities are endowed with and accumulate natural and constructed assets based on their unique histories, which in turn define the choice set of the present. But, common practice is that current behaviour can be described without reference to past circumstances. This work departs from that practice by examining the effects of historical urban rail on current residential location and travel behaviour, from the era of horsecars (1865) and streetcars (1925) to the present in Boston. It uses tract...

Ghosts in the Machine: The Influence of Historical Rail on Current Auto Ownership, David Block-Schachter, Jinhua Zhao, and Yu Shen , Journal of Planning Education and Research, (Submitted)

This paper focuses on the impact of historical rail infrastructure—even after it no longer exists—on current auto ownership in the Boston area. We find that zones with shorter distances to historical rail infrastructure have lower levels of auto ownership. The results are robust to controls for current rail infrastructure, built environment, and demographic variation, as well as to instrumental variables that control for endogeneity. They imply that transportation infrastructure has lasting...

What Drives the Increasing Costs of Transit Operations? The Implications of Labor Productivity, Contracting Out, and Unionization, Javier Morales-Sarriera, Frederick Salvucci, and Jinhua Zhao , Transportation Research Board 96th Annual Meeting, (2017)

Unit costs measured as operating costs per vehicle mile in the public transit sector have increased significantly above the inflation rate in recent decades in the United States, regardless of mode and location. This paper examines the impact of (lack of) productivity growth, union bargaining power, and contracting out on cost escalation. We draw from a 17-year (1997-2014) and 438-agency panel of 8,276 observations by mode (bus vs. rail) and type of operations (directly operated by the...

From accessibility improvement to land development: a comparative study on the impacts of Madrid-Seville high-speed rail, Yu Shen, Jinhua Zhao, João de Abreu e Silva, and Luis Miguel Martínez , 16 Feb, 2017, (2017)

This paper studies the impacts of Madrid-Seville High-Speed Rail (HSR) on land-cover change in the five HSR connected cities – Madrid, Ciudad Real, Puertollano, Cordoba, and Seville. The analysis period ranges from 1991 to 2006. The study finds that, in the Madrid-Seville region, the land development process concentrates mostly toward the two largest cities, Madrid and Seville, while other smaller HSR served cities are also benefited. The process of land development in each city varies...

Mapping transit accessibility: Possibilities for public participation, Anson Stewart , Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 04/2017, (2017)

The value of accessibility concepts is well-established in transportation literature, but so is the low adoption of accessibility-based instruments by practitioners. Based on the premise that leveraging accessibility concepts to address public involvement challenges could promote their adoption in planning practice, this research investigates mechanisms to promote social learning among participants in public workshops. Potential mechanisms of learning include specific tool-based interactions...

Ghosts in the Machine: The Influence of Proximity to Past Rail on Current Auto Ownership, David Block-Schachter, and Jinhua Zhao , 95th Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., (2016)

The extent to which traveler preferences and built environment characteristics influence travel behavior are difficult to disentangle because they are so intricately tied to the residential location decision. This paper treats these two issues jointly by focusing on the spatial location of past rail infrastructure in different representative eras as an indicator that is currently omitted from auto ownership models. Past rail has influenced the current built environment, and is likely related...

Cross-City Comparison: Impacts of Madrid-Seville High-Speed Rail on Population Growth, Yu Shen, Jinhua Zhao, João de Abreu e Silva, and Luis Miguel Martínez , 95th Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting, 08/2015, Washington, D.C., (2016)

This paper studies and compares the impacts of Madrid-Seville High-Speed Rail (HSR) on population growth in the five cities served by this line—Madrid, Ciudad Real, Puertollano, Córdoba, and Seville. The analysis period ranges from 1990 to 2006. The comparative analysis finds that the impacts of HSR largely differ. The association between the opening of HSR and population growth in Ciudad Real is observable; but the relationship is not clear in other station inner buffer areas. To study the...

Agglomeration and Diversification: Bi-Level Analysis of 15-Years' Impacts of Madrid-Seville High-Speed Rail, Yu Shen, João de Abreu e Silva, Jinhua Zhao, and Luis Miguel Martínez , Transportation Research Board 94th Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., (2015)

This paper studies the impacts of Madrid-Seville High-Speed Rail (HSR) on population growth and land cover change in the five HSR connected cities - Madrid, Ciudad Real, Puertollano, Cordoba, and Seville - at both regional and local level. The analysis period ranges from 1991 to 2006. The study finds that, at regional level, the population growth and land development process concentrate mostly towards the two largest cities, Madrid and Seville, while other smaller HSR served cities are also...

Team Members

Javier Morales Sarriera's picture
MST
Yu Shen's picture
Postdoc Associate (SMART FM)
Anson Stewart's picture
PhD 2017