Kuby and Golub lead ASU sustainable transit initiatives

As part of its series discussing what makes cities sustainable, ASU’s Office of Knowledge and Enterprise Development released a report on several transit initiatives at ASU.  All the research efforts are helping build an understanding of how to design our cities to promote transit options that are good for the environment, the economy, and our health.

Two School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning faculty members, Michael Kuby and Aaron Golub, appear prominently in the report.  Here are excerpts, describing their efforts:

  • In 2003, five years before Phoenix’s Valley METRO light rail opened, Kuby developed a model for predicting light ridership on the future system.  The model used data from other cities with existing light rail systems, taking into account variables such as housing and jobs within walking distance of each station, number of bus lines and park-and-ride stations, and size of the total metro area.  With Phoenix summer temperatures in mind, the model also included a variable for climate – something not present in previous transit forecasting models.
  • After the light rail opened, Kuby and a former graduate student, Chris Upchurch, compared their predictions to actual ridership and to predictions from the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) metropolitan transportation model.  “Our model did a better job in predicting some of the stations and MAG’s model did a better job of other stations,” Kuby explained, adding that actual ridership exceeded projections from either model. “It’s an ongoing process to be able to explain and predict these things better over time.”
  • Golub recently conducted a study to assess the impact of light rail on real estate markets, requested by the Maricopa Association of Governments.   In the report, Golub explains that “We found that proximity to light rail is rewarded in real estate markets by positive price differentials. And the closer you get, the more that price bonus grows,” he said. “As soon as the light rail was announced there was a change in market value. As the light rail was further along we saw value increase over time.”
  • In 2012, Golub began co-leading a project called “Reinvent Phoenix,” a partnership between ASU, the City of Phoenix, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and St. Luke’s Health Initiatives.  The project examined affordability, health, recreation and climate in lower-income areas along the light rail.  In addition, it helped develop steering committees from each neighborhood – that can remain informed and active long after the grant has ended.

See the full ASU Knowledge Enterprise Development report here:  “ Transit-oriented development helps cities ease off the gas,” by Diane Boudreau, November 24th, 2014