Houston Is on the Right Side of the Tracks
Houston, Texas has long been plagued by urban and suburban sprawl. Political leadership in Houston has worked hard to improve the economy using several levers available to them. One area the city attempts to improve is that of public transit. The city has developed a large fixed rail transit system in separate stages since 2004 when the first 7.5 mile stretch of the Harris County Metropolitan Authority fixed light rail, the METRORail, opened. The system has since grown, mostly Eastward, to 22.7 miles and 34 stations, with further expansion planned. I use data on real estate values and property characteristics provided by Harris County Appraisal District and Geographical Information Systems data to determine whether the rail system has had an impact on housing values or urban density. Evidence in the data supports that the latest generation of transit stations has contributed to increased housing values in the areas surrounding the transit stations as compared to the rest of Houston. There is also evidence in housing data that identifies a broad increase for demand across Houston with a more pronounced increase in demand for density around the transit stations.
Ryle, Andrew Davis, "Houston Is on the Right Side of the Tracks" (2021). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI28649546.