This white paper analyzes evidence on the economic benefits of placemaking efforts that prioritize pedestrian and non-motorized access and that, at times, reduce vehicle miles traveled. Previous literature on the economic impacts of transportation has focused on theorizing and gathering evidence on ways that transportation infrastructure generates economic benefits at large geographic scales – often of states or nations. That literature overlooks many of today’s transportation projects which are at the scale of a neighborhood and which typically include non-motorized transportation.
The researchers summarize evidence on how locally oriented placemaking efforts are associated with benefits that help boost local economies. There is a high degree of evidence that there are economic benefits, on commercial property values, residential property values, business sentiment, and productivity, from density that are summarized as they relate to neighborhood oriented placemaking transportation policies. The researchers conclude by suggesting a systems view of metropolitan transportation that has a hierarchy of networks, from high-throughput metropolitan arteries to local, multi-modal, neighborhood planning with connections between the different levels of the system.