Examining the effect of the Hiawatha LRT on auto use in the Twin Cities

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

land use - impacts, mode - car, mode - tram/light rail, place - north america, place - urban, ridership - attitudes, ridership - behaviour, ridership - mode choice


Built environment, Residential self-selection, Transit-oriented development, Travel behavior, Driving reduction


Many studies have investigated the impact of rail transit on transit use. However, few have focused on auto use. This study explores the effect of the Hiawatha LRT in Minneapolis on vehicle miles driven (VMD). Negative binomial models show that Hiawatha residents drive shorter distance than those in urban and suburban control corridors, after demographics and neighborhood characteristics are controlled for. The LRT can reduce an urban resident's VMD by about 20%, all else equal. Once attitudes are included in the model, however, the differences become insignificant. Demographics and attitudes altogether are more important in influencing auto use than the built environment. Overall, the LRT reduces driving because it enables new housing development and allows those valuing transit to better match their attitudes.


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


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