Transit-Induced Gentrification: Who Will Stay, and Who Will Go?

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Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) has been promoted by planners and policy advocates as a solution to a variety of urban problems, including automobile traffic congestion, air pollution, and urban poverty. This paper addresses the question: How do TOD-based affordable housing policies influence the intra-urban location of low income households over time? This paper examined historical descriptive evidence along with land use forecasts generated by the Simple Integrated Land-Use Orchestrator (SILO) land use model to examine the impact of housing policies on patterns of sorting by income within the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The historical evidence suggests that in most decades when Metro stations were opened, census tracts near transit stations saw higher increases in median household income than other census tracts. We also find evidence that income growth around stations constructed in the 1970s and 1980s persisted over time, while income growth around stations constructed during the 1990s was largest in the following decade. Consistent with other studies (Kahn 2007), we interpret these findings as evidence that some degree of transit-induced gentrification has been occurring in the Washington, D.C. region.