Growth management and sustainable transport: Do growth management policies promote transit use?

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

ridership - growth, policy - sustainable, organisation - management


Advocates of sustainable development typically consider mass transit to be more sustainable than their automobile-dependent alternatives and desire policies that can achieve higher use of urban mass transit. In this paper, we hypothesize that state-level growth management policies should increase transit use in two ways: first, by limiting core abandonment while accommodating potential increases in population, reducing development elsewhere; and second, by directing new development where transit systems are already well established. We tested this by analyzing 95 metropolitan areas across the United States, 16 with growth-management policies and 79 without. We found that the first set showed a statistically significant improvement in the percentage transit users. The empirical analysis on causality, however, suggests that the improvement is more likely due to an increase in occupancy rates within core areas, by limiting abandonment, rather than in shifting the location of new development to transit areas.


Permission to publish abstract given by Journal of Public Transportation