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Travel and Transportation Impacts of Urban Gentrification: Chicago, Illinois Case Study

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Gentrification - the process in which higher income (and often younger) households displace lower income residents of a city neighborhood - has been occurring in many urban neighborhoods over the last few decades. This process changes the demographics, and often the essential character, of the neighborhood. As a result, we can expect it to change neighborhood travel characteristics and transportation requirements. This work uses multiyear Census (aggregate) data and (disaggregate) travel survey information to examine gentrification in a sample of Chicago, Illinois neighborhoods to find out how mode choice, vehicle ownership, and travel are affected by gentrification. The aggregate results show that geography of gentrification changed over the twenty years from 1980 to 2000: the gentrified census tracts between 1990 and 2000 were closer to the center of the city compared to non-gentrified census tracts, while gentrified and nongentrified tracts were about the same distance from the center between 1980 and 1990. The gentrified group used public transit to work more even though they had about the same number of cars as the non-gentrified group. Households showing signs of gentrification that have lived at their current location between 1 and 2 years have lower vehicle miles of travel (VMT) than the non-gentrified households that have been at their current location for the same amount of time, while gentrifying households that have been in their current location more than 2 years consume about the same VMT as the non-gentrified households. This analysis suggests that the gentrification process, and its participants, have changed over the last twenty years. There is at least a modest trend toward less auto dependence for more recent gentrifiers, and so the opportunity to reduce auto dependence may have become a more important force in this process. However, longer tenure at central locations seems to be associated with increasing auto dependence. This may suggest that transportation benefits of gentrification are not stable over time as a consequence of many other factors occurring in and outside of the household

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  • 08/14/2017
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