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AN ANALYSIS OF TRANSPORTATION AND CENTRAL CITY ECONOMIC ACTIVITY IN SMALL AND MEDIUM URBAN AREAS

SUBRAMANIAN N SHARMA, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Abstract

The forces which led to widespread suburbanization resulted in the migration of job opportunities, especially in retailing and in industry. This migration in part led to public transit service decline since a substantial share of transit trips in urban areas consisted of work trips, particularly to the CBD.^ Most planning agencies in small and medium urban areas include transportation improvements as an integral part of their efforts to stimulate economic development in the central city. The extent to which transportation improvements impact the central city in such areas is an important issue for urban planners, transportation engineers, and other professionals involved in attempts to enhance the local economy. While it is extremely difficult to attribute changes in demographic and economic activity to specific transportation improvements, it is posited in this research that general conclusions regarding such changes can be drawn and related to transportation improvements if consistent patterns of changes can be observed in demographic and economic activities among a large number of cities. The objective of this research is twofold: (1) to examine the relationship between transportation, central city and CBD development, and (2) to develop an econometric model that will depict such relationships.^ This research depicts selected relationships between employment, population, economic activity and transportation using a system of equations in a recursive model. The models are based on a sample of 112 small and medium sized cities with a 1980 population between 50,000 to 500,000, located in 36 different states. The models were tested using data from 11 cities with a 1980 population of 500,000 to 1,000,000 from 10 different states. The consistent results suggest that growth in the basic manufacturing sector is an important factor for central city growth. Increases in manufacturing employment attract more people to the cities, which in turn changes the retail sector. Also transit service improvements help to improve the downtown economy, since a relatively large share of peak trips are by transit and most of these transit trips are work trips, particularly to the CBD. Increased work trips to the CBD will have a positive (although small) impact on CBD sales. (Abstract shortened with permission of author.) ^

Subject Area

Civil engineering|Transportation

Recommended Citation

SHARMA, SUBRAMANIAN N, "AN ANALYSIS OF TRANSPORTATION AND CENTRAL CITY ECONOMIC ACTIVITY IN SMALL AND MEDIUM URBAN AREAS" (1987). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI8727107.
http://scholarworks.umass.edu/dissertations/AAI8727107

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