Transit effects on poverty, employment, and rent in Cuyahoga County, Ohio

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, place - urban, mode - bus, mode - rail, mode - bus rapid transit, operations - frequency, planning - route design, planning - surveys, policy - equity


Local transit service, Employment, Poverty, Rental values


Local mass transportation systems are significant public infrastructure investments that constitute an essential policy and planning tool for urban areas. Previous research suggests a heterogeneous effect by city, but when the expansion of public transit systems results in increased housing costs, it potentially leads to a displacement of low-income groups. While there is an expanding literature on the effects of public transit on low-income populations, surprisingly, the research mainly focuses on the effects of rail stations and bus rapid transit, while ignoring the effects of buses, despite their higher prevalence and use by low-income households. This paper fills this gap with an accessibility measure that exploits the annual variation in transit (bus and rail) service frequency and analyzes its effect longitudinally on poverty, employment, and rental values in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, using data from the General Transit Feed Specification, American Community Survey, and Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics. The study finds that transit service provides job accessibility without increasing rental values, thus reducing the probability of displacement for low-income groups. The findings support a policy of increasing bus frequency and route density as a low-cost way to help low-income households gain employment and increase wages without affecting rents and values in the short-term.


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


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