The influence of light rail transit on transit use: An exploration of station area residents along the Hiawatha line in Minneapolis

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - tram/light rail, place - north america, ridership - behaviour, ridership - growth


Propensity score matching, Self-selection, Transit-oriented development, Travel behavior, Urban form


Rail transit is often implemented in the corridors already with high transit demand. When evaluating their ridership benefits, previous studies often choose the city/county/region as control groups, rather than comparable corridors without rail, and hence overstate their impacts. In this study, we employ propensity score matching to explore the impact of Hiawatha light rail transit (LRT) on transit use. We find that compared to residents in similar urban corridors, the Hiawatha LRT promotes transit use of residents who have lived in the corridor before its opening, and that residents who moved to the corridor after its opening use transit as often as new residents in the comparable urban corridors without LRT. We conclude that besides LRT, land use and transportation policies are necessary for ridership growth.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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