Edited by Robin Hickman, Moshe Givoni, David Bonilla and David Banister
Chapter 19: Spatial implications of public transport investments in metropolitan areas: some empirical evidence regarding light rail and bus rapid transit
Public transport investments and particularly the development of street cars and light rail have historically been seen as major factors in determining the spatial patterns of development in American and European metropolitan areas (Vance, 1991; Muller, 1995). However, the era in which they were most influential was a century ago, before cars became ubiquitous. In the past 50 years, the car has been the major transport mode that affects the metropolitan structure (Muller, 1995), leading Colin Clark (1958) to make his famous observation of transport as ‘the maker and breaker of cities’. Yet, surface public transit systems, particularly light rail, have had something of a comeback in the past 20 years. Hence the question arises – to what extent do such systems exert an effect on the car-dominated metropolitan structure? This chapter reviews the emerging evidence regarding the effects of transit, mainly light rail (LRT), on spatial development patterns in developed countries in the current car-dominated era. However, as the literature does not always differentiate between light rail, metro and suburban rail, and as these systems are often interlinked, we extend our discussions to the effects of these forms of rail in some points. In addition, as bus rapid transit (BRT) systems have increasingly proffered in the past few years (Hensher and Reyes, 2000; Deng and Nelson, 2011), we extend the discussion to this emerging mode, although the empirical evidence on the effects of BRT systems is still sparse.
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