Developing a New Methodology for Analyzing Potential Displacement

Published: 2017 | Karen Chapple, Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, Paul Waddell, Daniel Chatman, Paul Ong | The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine


In 2008, California passed Senate Bill 375, requiring metropolitan planning organizations to develop Sustainable Communities Strategies as part of their regional transportation planning process. While the implementation of these strategies has the potential for environmental and economic benefits, there are also potential negative social equity impacts, as rising land costs in infill development areas may result in the displacement of low-income residents. This report examines the relationship between fixed-rail transit neighborhoods and displacement in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, modeling patterns of neighborhood change in relation to transit proximity. Overall, we find that transit proximity has a significant impact on the stability of the surrounding neighborhood, leading to increases in housing costs that change the composition of the area, including the loss of low-income households. We found that gentrification and displacement in rail station areas would only be likely to cause an increase in auto usage and regional vehicle miles traveled (VMT) when accompanied by a significant loss of population near transit. The report also examines the effectiveness of antidisplacement strategies. The results can be adapted into existing regional models (PECAS and UrbanSim) to analyze different investment scenarios. The project includes an off-model tool that will help practitioners identify the potential risk of displacement.