The rail transit system and land use change in the Denver metro region

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - tram/light rail, mode - rail, place - north america, land use - impacts


Light rail, Rail transit system, Denver metro region, Land use


One of the goals of constructing and operating an extensive rail transit system in the Denver metro region since 1994 has been growth and development of land use along the rail transit system. This paper analyzes the trend of land use growth and development around the rail transit system mostly from 2000 to 2010. Primarily land parcel data collected from the assessor's office of several counties in the metro region have been used to determine change in the amount of different types of land use namely commercial, mixed, industrial, multi-family residential and single-family residential near and far from the rail transit system. Change has been analyzed in terms of total square footage of the building areas as well as land use density. Statistical significance tests (Wilcoxon/Kruskal–Wallis test) have been conducted to understand if the amount of change taking place near the rail transit system is greater than away from the system. The growth of commercial land use was significantly higher near the rail transit system. More growth in multi-family residential land use has also occurred near the rail transit system, but was not significantly greater than areas away from the system. Single-family residential land use has noticeably increased in places away from the rail transit system. The other types of land use have not shown any consistent pattern in their growth either near or away from the system. Overall, a noticeable amount of land use change, especially commercial land use, has taken place around the rail transit system from 2000 to 2010. However, this change in land use cannot necessarily be attributed to the construction and operation of the rail transit system. Other factors may have influenced the growth of land use around the rail transit system more than the presence of the rail transit system itself.


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


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