Does Rail Transit Induce Displacement? A Longitudinal Study of 24 US Metro Areas From 2000-2017
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After decades of decline, large US cities have begun reinvesting in urban neighborhoods including the construction of rail transit. Concerns over rail transit’s role in driving displacement has become hotly debated. Community groups voice their distress over displacement while much of the current research fails to find significant evidence. This study uses recently published US Census data (2000-2017) to answer questions, including whether the introduction of rail transit is associated with changes in indicators of displacement in the receiving census tracts, such as log mean rent, educational attainment, age, and changes in the racial makeup. Utilizing a difference-in-difference regression model and a propensity score matching system, I select census tracts that received rail transit and test the relationship between the construction of rail transit and changes in these indicators of displacement. Specifically, my research sheds significant light on how rail transit affects low income communities and people of color, who are more likely to be affected by displacement. My results indicate that displacement is occurring in census tracts near new rail stations across the country. Even with the introduction of control variables, communities of color and census tracts with low educational attainment are seeing the most change. Public officials and urban planners must craft policy so that large public investments do not place undue hard on communities that already struggle with disenfranchisement.
- Urban planning