Long-term impacts of transport infrastructure networks on land-use change: an international review of empirical studies

Dena Kasraian (Corresponding author), Kees Maat, Dominic Stead, Bert van Wee

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Improvements in geographical information systems, the wider availability of high-resolution digital data and more sophisticated econometric techniques have all contributed to increasing academic interest and activity in long-term impacts of transport infrastructure networks (TINs) on land use (LU). This paper provides a systematic review of recent empirical evidence from the USA, Europe and East Asia, classified regarding the type of transport infrastructure (road or rail), LU indicator (land cover, population or employment density, development type) and outcome (significance, relationship’s direction) as well as influential exogenous factors. Proximity to the rail network is generally associated with population growth (particularly soon after the development of railway infrastructure), conversion to residential uses and the development of higher residential densities. Meanwhile, proximity to the road network is frequently associated with increases in employment densities as well as the conversion of land to a variety of urban uses including commercial and industrial development. Compared with road infrastructure, the impact of rail infrastructure is often less significant for land cover or population and employment density change. The extent of TINs’ impact on LU over time can be explained by the saturation in TIN-related accessibility and LU development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)772-792
Number of pages21
JournalTransport Reviews
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • land-use change
  • long-term impacts
  • rail
  • road
  • Transport infrastructure networks


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