In May, the Global Transit Innovations (GTI) program coordinated a study-abroad course that took 16 University of Minnesota students to China. The intensive two-week course focused on high-density urban and regional development and included visits to five cities in the Yangtze and Pearl River Delta regions.
In this guest post, student Joseph Ward offers highlights from Hong Kong, the final stop on the course’s itinerary. Ward’s reflections focus on pedestrian infrastructure, density, the economy, and the environment.
The U’s Transportation Policy and Economic Competitiveness (TPEC) Program was formed in 2013 to provide a better understanding of the impacts of transportation policies and innovations on Minnesota’s economy. A new report outlining TPEC’s progress to date is available on the TPEC website.
Housed in the State and Local Policy Program of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, TPEC creates objective knowledge to inform decision making. Researchers focus on three overarching topics: transportation finance, industry clusters and freight infrastructure, and technology.
Performance of the freight system in Minnesota profoundly affects economic competitiveness. But perspectives vary on what constitutes and contributes to an attractive, competitive freight environment. Differences among various interests—carriers, retailers, consumers, and government—give rise to a certain competitive tension underlying critical decision making and investment involving freight.
To make sense of it all, the Minnesota Freight Advisory Committee (MFAC) in June published Components of an Attractive Minnesota Freight Market (PDF). The white paper, which identifies key aspects of an attractive freight market in Minnesota, is the first in a planned MFAC series about freight transportation issues important to Minnesota’s economy.
Light-rail transit (LRT) is commonly thought to stimulate economic development and boost property values. However, knowledge gaps have made it difficult to gauge exactly how much property values increase and when the increase happens.
In a new study, U of M researchers Jason Cao and Shengnan Lou help fill those gaps. Using tax parcel data and modeling techniques, they assessed the impacts of the Green Line LRT on sale prices of single-family houses near station areas in Saint Paul. They also examined when the value uplift occurred, focusing on two key time points—before and after the Federal Transit Administration’s announcement of the full funding grant agreement (FFGA) in April 2011, and before and after the start of Green Line operation in June 2014.
Researchers at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs have found a definite link between the construction of the Green Line and economic development activity along its route.
In a CTS-funded study, CTS Scholar Jason Cao and researcher Dean Porter-Nelson looked at real estate development plans along the Green Line in the years before it began operating.
They found that as soon as final funding plans came together in 2011, applications for building permits along the Green line increased significantly, compared to permit applications for new construction and remodeling along existing transit routes.
University of Minnesota researchers at the Minnesota Traffic Observatory will work to improve the mobility of people and goods across the nation as part of the new Freight Mobility Research Institute, a Tier 1 University Transportation Center funded in 2016.
Led by Florida Atlantic University (FAU), the Institute will receive $1.4 million per year from the United States Department of Transportation for five years. A combined match from state and private-sector sources will bring the award to more than $10 million in total. In addition to FAU and the U of M, Institute members include the University of Florida, Portland State University, Hampton University, the University of Memphis, and Texas A&M University (College Station).
The bicycling industry in Minnesota—including manufacturing, wholesaling, retail sales, and non-profits and advocacy groups—produced an estimated total of $780 million of economic activity in 2014. This includes 5,519 jobs and $209 million in annual labor income (wages, salaries, and benefits) paid to Minnesota workers.
These findings are an important component of a multifaceted report from U of M researchers. Their research, funded by MnDOT, provides a comprehensive understanding of the economic impact and health effects of bicycling in Minnesota.