Economic and Demographic Impacts of Passenger Rail Systems: The Impact of Intercity Passenger Rails on Population and Employment Change in the United States, 2000–2010

This research examines the impact of intercity passenger rails on change in population and employment at the county level in the continental United States from 2000 to 2010. This research adopts an integrated spatial regression approach that incorporates both spatial lag and spatial error dependence. The data come from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the National Land Developability Index, and the National Atlas of the United States. Population and employment change are regressed on intercity passenger rails, controlling for 14 socioeconomic variables. Intercity passenger rails are measured by the number of intercity passenger rail terminals in each county. The results suggest that the impacts of intercity passenger rails on population and employment change are both direct and indirect. Intercity passenger rails have a negative and direct effect on population and employment change from 2000 to 2010. Intercity passenger rails facilitate moving residents and workers out of the county. The economic recession during this period may have compelled people to move out of their home county in search of jobs. Having intercity passenger rails helped this process. The results also indicate that intercity passenger rails have a positive and indirect effect on population and employment change. Population and employment change in one county influences those in the adjacent counties. This indirect effect does not come from within the county; rather, it is a spread effect from its neighbors. This research suggests that intercity passenger rails play an important role in facilitating the spread of change and the integration of local communities into a larger regional economy.

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  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This document was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation, University Transportation Centers Program.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Pennsylvania State University, University Park

    Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education
    University Park, PA  United States 

    South Dakota State University, Brookings

    Department of Sociology and Rural Studies
    Brookings, SD  United States 

    National Center for Intermodal Transportation for Economic Competitiveness

    Mississippi State University
    479-2 Hardy Road 260 McCain Hall
    Mississippi State, MS  United States  39762

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Chi, Guangqing
    • Kasu, Bishal
  • Publication Date: 2015-12


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; Maps; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 40p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01593927
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: NCITEC Project No. 13-008
  • Created Date: Mar 8 2016 10:49AM