Evaluation of wider economic impacts of light rail investment on cities

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe, place - urban, mode - tram/light rail, mode - subway/metro, economics - value capture, land use - planning, land use - impacts


Accessibility, Economic impacts, Inward investment, Light rail, Land and property value increase, Value capture, Widened labour markets


Transport plays a critical role in facilitating competitiveness in post-industrial economies. High quality transport services and infrastructure enhance internal and external connectivity. This research examines published and unpublished evidence of economic impacts of modern light rail (tram and light metro) systems in the United Kingdom and globally. Evidence is considered relating outcomes of investment in light rail systems to: unlocking previously hard to reach sites for development; triggering fresh growth through elimination of significant transport constraints; stimulation of inward investment; extension of labour market catchment areas; reorganisation or rationalisation of production, distribution and land use; and land and property value increase and capture. Urban light rail investment can help regenerate Central Business Districts and boost employment and property prices. Similar rail investments in different locations may not however have the same economic impacts — geography matters. Other conditions in addition to transport investment are required for positive externalities.


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


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