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Research Projects

STATUS: Complete YEAR: 2016 TOPIC AREA: Public transit, land use, and urban mobility Transportation planning, policy, and finance CENTER: NCST

The Economic Benefits of Placemaking: Transportation Implications

Project Summary

Project number: NCST-16-30

Funding source: Caltrans

Contract number: 65A0527 TO 030

Funding amount: $31,920

Performance period: 8/31/2016 to 7/31/2017


Link to final report:

Link to policy brief:


Project description

This white paper analyzes evidence on the economic benefits of placemaking efforts that prioritize pedestrian and non-motorized access and that, at times, reduce vehicle miles traveled. Previous literature on the economic impacts of transportation has focused on theorizing and gathering evidence on ways that transportation infrastructure generates economic benefits at large geographic scales - often of states or nations. That literature overlooks many of today's transportation projects which are at the scale of a neighborhood and which typically include non-motorized transportation.

The researchers summarize evidence on how locally oriented placemaking efforts are associated with benefits that help boost local economies. There is a high degree of evidence that there are economic benefits, on commercial property values, residential property values, business sentiment, and productivity, from density that are summarized as they relate to neighborhood oriented placemaking transportation policies. The researchers conclude by suggesting a systems view of metropolitan transportation that has a hierarchy of networks, from high-throughput metropolitan arteries to local, multi-modal, neighborhood planning with connections between the different levels of the system.


Marlon Boarnet
Senior Associate Dean, Academic Affairs; Professor & Director of Graduate Programs in Urban Planning, Sol Price School of Public Policy
650 Childs Way
Ralph and Goldy Lewis Hall (RGL) 301CLos Angeles, CA 90089-0626
United States
[email protected]