National Center for Sustainable Transportation

White Paper - The Economic Benefits of Placemaking: Transportation Implications

Project Number


Project Summary

The white paper will not only summarize available literature but, more importantly, lay the groundwork for future policy activity and research in this area by focusing on three characteristics that are essential in understanding how transportation is linked to local economic development and the economic benefits of placemaking. 1. The review of the available literature will be carefully tied to existing theory and evidence. 2. The lack of sufficiently fine-grained data means that the white paper cannot simply summarize evidence. The white paper will necessarily need to be more theoretical than most white papers. This will be partly to frame ideas that might inform policy, even in the absence of a full set of evidence, and partly to give policy makers the nuance that is necessary in this area. 3. The white paper will illuminate new research directions in addition to summarizing research. Emerging data resources, including innovations in social media or big data, create the possibility that in the future new data might address the economic benefits of transportation-oriented placemaking in ways that are not currently possible. The overall goal will be to deliver a product that can guide Caltrans both in the present, as the agency works to understand and evaluate how transportation influences local (even neighborhood) economies, and in the future as new research becomes possible. The white paper will both summarize evidence and provide an overview of theoretical perspectives that can be used to guide the evaluation of new evidence and policy approaches.

Funding source: Caltrans

Funding amount: $44,000

Start and end dates: 08/01/2016 to 07/31/2017

Link to paper: 


Project Status




Topic Area

Urban Mobility

P.I. Name & Address

Senior Associate Dean, Academic Affairs; Professor & Director of Graduate Programs in Urban Planning, Sol Price School of Public Policy
University of Southern California
650 Childs Way
Ralph and Goldy Lewis Hall (RGL) 301C
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0626
United States