Many rapid transit projects are justified by a desire to achieve intangible city image and branding goals such as promoting messages of modernity, economic growth, global competitiveness, and world city status. The relationship between rapid transit and city image is poorly understood in the planning literature. In response, this article presents a theoretical framework of rapid transit in image-led planning. The framework and examples of rapid transit in image-led planning in practice reveal that while important, rapid transit alone is not a sufficient condition for wholesale image change, and image-led planning must be mindful of a host of important practical considerations.
Identifying and measuring the land value uplift (LVU) impacts of rapid transit are important for a number of reasons. However, despite the general notion that rapid transit does confer positive LVU benefits, our comprehensive and critical review of more than 130 analyses across 60 studies completed in North America over the past 40 years finds significant heterogeneity in research outcomes, leaving many significant questions unanswered. Beyond high-level differences in study inputs, we argue that a fundamental source of variability is a lack of empirical specificity from the use of proximity as the dominant way in which LVU benefits are captured.
Transit oriented development (TOD), which is generally understood as the provision of higher-density, mixed- use, amenity-rich, and walkable development around rapid transit stations, has been championed as one of the most effective solutions for maximizing the potential return on investment for existing and future rapid tran- sit infrastructure projects. But it is clear that not all implementations of TOD are the same in every station catch- ment area across a transit network. This heterogeneity in station area contexts presents significant complexity for planners and policymakers interested in understanding existing TOD conditions, an area’s TOD potential, and the relevant policy and planning interventions required to achieve planning goals. It also creates complications for researchers interested in associating station contexts with various TOD outcomes.
Planners and policymakers often cite the tangible objective of land use change as a primary motivation and justification for an investment in light rail transit (LRT). But how has light rail performed with respect to achieving this goal? This paper reviews and synthesizes the previous literature on LRT and other rail rapid transit systems in North America, demonstrating that rail transit alone is not a primary driver of land use change and that six beneficial factors affect the ability of these systems to have a measurable impact on reshaping and revitalizing cities.