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.     

Mapping transit accessibility: Possibilities for public participation, Stewart, Anson , 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...

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

Dispersion of Agglomeration through High Speed Rail, Fang, Wanli, and Zhao Jinhua , Working paper, (Submitted)

Despite the eye-catching achievements of China’s high-speed rail (HSR) system in providing fast and convenient transport service, key policy inquires remain unaddressed: Will HSR bring wider economic impacts as expected? If yes, are such impacts generative or distributive, and regionally convergent or divergent? Is China’s transport infrastructure reaching saturation? Our research assesses how HSR has reshaped inter-city accessibility patterns, and how the change in accessibility influenced...

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

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...

Cross-City Comparison: Impacts of Madrid-Seville High-Speed Rail on Population Growth, Shen, Yu, Zhao Jinhua, de Abreu e Silva João, and Martínez Luis Miguel , 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...

Ghosts in the Machine: The Influence of Proximity to Past Rail on Current Auto Ownership, Block-Schachter, David, and Zhao Jinhua , 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...

Hysteresis and Urban Rail: The Effects of Past Urban Rail on Current Residential and Travel Choices, Block-Schachter, David, and Zhao Jinhua , 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...

Capacity Constrained Accessibility of High-Speed Rail, Shen, Yu, and Zhao Jinhua , 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...

Team Members

Anson Stewart's picture
PhD Candidate
Yu Shen's picture
Postdoc Associate (SMART FM)
Javier Morales Sarriera's picture
Mst Student
Jinhua Zhao's picture
Edward H. and Joyce Linde Assistant Professor