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  • Thumbnail for Determinants of vehicle-miles of travel in metropolitan areas : the effects of light rail transit and ridership
    Determinants of vehicle-miles of travel in metropolitan areas : the effects of light rail transit and ridership by Pratt-Otto, Samuel Hawkinson

    As VMT rises in many urban areas, the need for public transportation increases, whether it is to mitigate traffic congestion and emissions, or to provide the ease and affordability of public transportation. The construction of public rail lines in the United States was one response to these increases, and dates back to the end of the 19th century. Although it has been commonly assumed that adding or expanding public transportation is a driving variable contributing to changes in VMT, this study will address the effects of multiple variables on VMT including: population density, personal income, lane miles of road, fuel costs, employment density, and the availability of LRT (and other public transit systems). We examine under which circumstances public transportation and Light Rail Transit (LRT) is most attractive. A fixed effects regression model will be used to determine which of these variables have significant effects on VMT, and whether or not LRT implementation does indeed affect an urban area’s VMT. Having performed this analysis, it is our conclusion that LRT ridership does not significantly affect VMT. However, population density, personal income, and lane-miles of road are shown to have significant impacts on VMT.