Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



Street-railroads -- Oregon -- Portland Metropolitan Area, Local transit -- Oregon -- Portland Region, Transit-oriented development


This paper examines how the first decade of light rail transit (LRT) in the Portland region has affected auto ownership, mode share, density, and property values. The empirical analysis provides evidence that light rail has had some positive effect of rail on single-family property values, transit use, and slower growth of two-plus car households in the outer part of the LRT corridor as compared to an outer part of a parallel bus corridor. These effects may be the result of households self-selecting to make housing location decisions where LRT is located, rather than current households changing mode.

This assessment of the evidence indicates the extent to which consumer preferences have responded to LRT investments. This kind of assessment is needed to provide the basis for estimating travel mode shares and market shares for dispersed and concentrated development forms. Examination of data suggests that it may be advisable for planners to entertain more modest expectations of LRT.


Catalog Number DP98-9.

Paper presented to the Transportation Research Board 78th Annual Meeting January 10-14, 1999 Washington, D.C.

A production of the Center for Urban Studies, College of Urban and Public Affairs, Portland State University.

Persistent Identifier