Building more housing near transit: A spatial analysis of residential densification dynamics

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, place - urban, land use - impacts, land use - planning, land use - transit oriented development, land use - urban density, policy - sustainable


Residential densification, Zoning, Housing, Transit


Although building more housing near transit has gained increasing popularity as a strategy for addressing housing unaffordability while promoting sustainability, the effectiveness of this strategy has remained unclear, particularly in auto-oriented metropolises where land use planning authority largely rests with local governments. This article provides an analysis of how parcel-level residential land use intensification takes place under the influence of public transit expansion, with explicit attention to the interactions between current and planned land use changes, in a five-county Southern California region. The analysis using a generalized structural equation modeling approach shows that residential properties are more likely to be densified in transit-rich areas. This tendency is detected not only in the existing high-quality transit areas but also in locations where transit services will be available in the future. It is also found that relaxing zoning restrictions increases the probability of parcel-level densification, and the resultant density increase can induce further zoning or plan changes in nearby areas.


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


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