Title

Essays in urban transportation economics

Date of Completion

January 2001

Keywords

Economics, General|Transportation|Urban and Regional Planning

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

Transportation is arguably the single most important factor in explaining the formation, spatial orientation, and growth of the urban metropolis in the United States. Both the spatial pattern and tenure of the regional network of U.S. cities exists as a direct result of the mode of transportation available to ship goods and transport individuals. In addition, the existing urban landscape has been significantly effected by the growth and change in transportation systems over time, from the horse-drawn railway of the early to mid-19 th century, to the steam-powered, elevated railroads, and cable cars of the late-19th century, to the electric streetcar and trolley system of the late-19th and early-20th centuries, to the buses, automobiles, and electric rail lines of today. As a result, transportation is at the core of a number of problems (roadway congestion and urban sprawl, for example) that urban policy-makers face. ^ This dissertation is composed of three separate studies in urban transportation economics, two empirical and one theoretical. In each study, an unique research question is investigated; the common theme that links the three studies is an emphasis on the transportation network. In general, I examine how changes in the urban transportation network affect household behavioral choices, property values, and urban land-use patterns. Specifically, I have investigated the following research questions: (1) How responsive are riders of the Washington, D.C. Metro rail system to fare increases by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority? And, what affect does the construction (specification) of the fare variable have on elasticity estimates? (2) How is access to a highway or mass transit transportation system capitalized into property values? And, how have structural changes in the transportation network (that impact access) in Fairfax County, Virginia affected house prices? (3) How do the design and characteristics of an urban transportation network affect spatial land-use patterns and urban composition? ^