There are multiple short-term and long-term plans for larger and smaller-scale transit investments for the urban areas in North Carolina. However, there has not been a study on how the proposed transit projects are going to impact the urban areas of North Carolina economically. The objectives of this research are to (i) assist NCDOT with understanding the transformations expected to occur in urban areas because of upcoming transit investments; (ii) quantify the expected magnitude and spatial distribution of the economic impacts of transit investments in North Carolina as well as the anticipation effects of the proposed projects; (iii) estimate the magnitude and space-time dynamics of the expected socioeconomic changes in the regions close to the proposed projects and methods to prevent and mitigate negative externalities; (iv) identify the data that NCDOT should be collecting as part of the Atlas database before and after project implementation and associated automated tools of data analysis, for being able to evaluate the impacts of public transportation projects; and (v) provide a list of recommendations that are feasible for the state of North Carolina based on previous research and the experiences of other states for station-area policies, land-use development, last-mile solutions, public-private partnerships, and multimodal facilities that will lead to higher transit ridership in North Carolina.
The proposed research will provide a clear quantitative understanding of the extent of economic benefits and social externalities incurred by various transit projects throughout North Carolina. This understanding will allow NCDOT to assess the value of the funded projects to businesses, individuals, and communities in North Carolina.
Professors Bardaka and Thill are currently conducting research and have published journal articles on the social and economic impacts of transit projects.