First Advisor

Liming Wang

Term of Graduation

Winter 2021

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Urban Studies


Urban Studies and Planning




Street-railroads -- United States, Local transit -- Ridership -- United States, Traffic congestion -- United States



Physical Description

1 online resource (ix, 86 pages)


This dissertation quantitatively examines the effect of new Light Rail Transit (LRT) services on transit ridership and traffic congestion over time at two different geographical levels: at the corridor level, this study conducts case studies of two LRT lines in the Portland, Oregon region; at the regional level, this study uses a synthetic control method to construct a "synthetic" control Urbanized Area (UA) that closely approximates the counterfactual transit ridership and traffic congestion scenario in the absence of light rail project in three UAs across America. The results of the corridor-level study suggest that both LRT lines increased transit ridership in the short- and long-term and relieved traffic congestion in the short-term, while having no statistically significant effect on traffic congestion in the long-term, likely due to induced traffic demand. Results of the regional-level study suggest that, while new LRT services contributed to transit ridership in most UAs, they did relieve traffic congestion in a limited number of UAs, and that the effect changed over time and varied across UAs. The comprehensively temporal and geographical analysis will provide a better understanding of the impacts of new LRT services on transit ridership and traffic congestion, and hence provides policy makers insightful suggestions for building LRT projects to be more sustainable and to more effectively attract riders from former auto drivers.


© 2021 Huajie Yang

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