Capturing value for transit improvements

A new transportation enhancement fund assessment on real estate developers in Cambridge, Massachusetts’ Kendall Square will help fund transit improvements in that area, including possible enhancements to the Red Line Kendall/MIT station. This type of strategy, known broadly as value capture, is not new, and has been used in other cities such as San Francisco, Portland, and Washington, DC. However, the proposals in Cambridge have potential to serve as a model, developing into a value capture policy and process that can aid the T with further improvements going forward.

Alphabet soup? An update on transit finance

Across modes, the funding paradigm for transportation projects is shifting. As Congress exhibits a lack of appetite for addressing the impending crisis in the gas tax funding model, states and local governments are developing new ways to assemble financing packages for needed infrastructure projects. New strategies often combine previously underutilized local and state sources while tapping the private sector and federal grants to assemble full funding packages.

Financing Transit Systems Through Value Capture: An Annotated Bibliography (Victoria Transportation Policy Institute, 2012)

This paper summarizes the findings of more than 100 studies concerning the impacts transit service has on nearby property values, and the feasibility of capturing a portion of the incremental value to finance transit improvements. The results indicate that proximity to transit often increases property values enough to offset some or all of transit system capital costs.

New generation of transit hubs redefining train stations’ place in communities

Whereas the grand train stations of yesteryear were monuments to transportation with their soaring cathedral-like ceilings, huge open spaces, and rows of wooden benches – today’s transit hubs have both a new aesthetic and role in their communities. They often link multiple modes – heavy rail, light rail, buses, bikes, etc. – and act as central gathering spaces for their communities, with shops, restaurants, parks, space for performances, and public art. The changing role for transit stations was outlined in several recent articles.

Strategies for using value capture to fund transit

Recent work documents the results from communities utilizing value capture mechanisms shows the increased popularity of value capture strategies for funding the nation’s growing transit systems. Seventy-five percent of transit funding comes from state and local sources, pointing to a clear need to develop diverse revenue sources to support transit service. As vehicle miles traveled (VMT) continue to decline while transit use increases, the need for new revenues grows in importance