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Transit Accessibility and Residential Segregation

Akbar, Prottoy Aman (2021) Transit Accessibility and Residential Segregation. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Residential segregation by income and race is a salient feature of most US cities. An important determinant of residential location choice is access to desirable urban amenities via affordable travel modes. The first chapter of the dissertation studies residential and travel mode choices of commuters in US cities to estimate the heteregenous demand for access to neighborhoods offering faster commutes and to characterize what that means for how the gains from mass transit improvements are distributed among rich and poor commuters. I show that cities where transit improvements would be most effective at generating new transit ridership and overall welfare gains are ones where the gains accrue more to higher income commuters.

Within cities, who gentrify transit-accessible neighborhoods and ride mass transit depends on the type (e.g. bus versus rail) and location of the transit improvements. The second chapter of this dissertation models household choices of where to live and how to travel in a stylized city with a competitive housing market. I characterize when and where marginal improvements in transit access reduce residential segregation by income instead of exacerbating it, and I show that an urban planners trying to maximize transit ridership is often incentivized to expand the transit network where it increases income segregation.

Residential segregation has important implications for inequality. The third chapter of the dissertation studies how racially segregated housing markets have historically exacerbated racial inequality in US cities. The Great Migration of black families from the rural South to northern cities in the 1930s saw a growing number of segregated city blocks transition racially. Over a single decade, while rental prices soared on city blocks that transitioned from all white to majority black and pioneering black families paid large premiums to buy homes on majority white blocks, such homes quickly lost value on blocks that transitioned from majority white to majority black. These findings suggest that segregated housing markets eroded much of the gains for black families moving out of ghettos.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Akbar, Prottoy Amanprottoyamanakbar@pitt.edupaa36
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairWalsh, Randall P.walshr@pitt.eduwalshr
Committee MemberDuranton,
Committee MemberShertzer, Allisonshertzer@pitt.edushertzer
Committee Membervan Weelden, Richardrmv22@pitt.edurmv22
Date: 3 May 2021
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 26 March 2021
Approval Date: 3 May 2021
Submission Date: 31 March 2021
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 197
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Economics
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Travel Mode Choice, Residential Location Choice, Mass Transit, Public Transportation, Income Sorting, Segregation
Date Deposited: 03 May 2021 14:55
Last Modified: 03 May 2021 14:55


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