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Portland area MAX stops attract new businesses

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New businesses may be TriMet’s biggest fans.

New firms tend to gather around light rail stations in Portland, according to a recently published study, “Transit Access and the Agglomeration of New Firms: A Case Study of Portland and Dallas.”

The study, led by Rutgers University professor Robert Noland, compared new- firm births in Portland and Dallas, Texas, between 1991 and 2008. Both cities were chosen because of their relatively new light rail systems. However, while Portland light rail stations act as a magnet to firm agglomeration, Dallas’s firm growth and transit aren’t nearly as highly correlated.

The differences may be explained by each city’s unique zoning and planning regulations.

"Portland has adopted more stringent policies than Dallas-Ft. Worth in focusing development near rail stations and within the central business district (CBD)," Noland says. "These include restrictions on off-street parking for new development and an urban growth boundary that restricts development on the metropolitan fringe.”

The peer-reviewed study was published by Mineta National Transit Research Consortium. To read the report: transweb.sjsu.edu/project/1145.html.