Complementary pricing and land use policies: Does it lead to higher transit use?

Bumsoo Lee, Yongsung Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Problem, research strategy, and findings: A shift toward more sustainable transportation requires both adequate pricing of externalities from driving and supportive land use policies. However, proponents of each approach often under-estimate the complementarity and potential synergy between them. This study investigates the interaction effects between gasoline prices and land use (policy) variables using a panel dataset of transit ridership in 67 urbanized areas between 2002 and 2010. We found that while doubling the average gasoline price would increase transit ridership by 8.4% in an urbanized area with mean density and no regional containment policy, in areas with slightly higher density and a regional containment policy, the impact of higher gasoline prices would rise to 21%. In communities that had adopted a package of smart growth land use options, the impact of higher gasoline prices on transit use is even greater.Takeaway for practice: Pricing schemes will be more effective where alternatives to automobility and supportive land use policies exist. The impacts of urban form on travel behavior are also strengthened when driving externalities are correctly priced. Planners and policymakers should take advantage of the complementarity between pricing and land use planning approaches by implementing policies in combined and well-coordinated ways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)314-328
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of the American Planning Association
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2 2013


  • complement
  • elasticity
  • land use planning
  • pricing
  • transit ridership

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Urban Studies


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