Do Investments in Urban Public Transit Improve Employment Outcomes for Residents? Evidence from Bogota, Columbia

Transit advocates argue that good transit systems promote urban economic development by improving job matching between employers and workers who do not commute by car. As urban economies enter an era of high fuel prices, high traffic congestion, and increasing concern about our global climate, increasing numbers of commuters will be looking to alternatives to the private car, including transit. We aim to test the strength of the relationship between transit expansion and employment outcomes using the case of Bogotá, Colombia - a city that recently made an enormous investment in transit with economic development as an explicit goal. We focus on Bogotá because it presents a rare "natural experiment" in transit investment. We plan to employ a variety of empirical strategies using existing geocoded data from a labor market survey conducted each quarter from 2000-2005, along with information about the exact timing and location of the transit expansion over this same time period. The proposed research will provide the first empirical test of whether a real-world major investment in urban transit infrastructure actually improved employment outcomes across a city, and if so, for whom.