Estimation Of Unit Values Of Land Occupied By Transportation Infrastructure In Canada

By Clarence Woudsma (University of Waterloo), Todd Litman (Victoria Transport Policy Institute) and Glen Weisbrod (Economic Development Research Group) for Transport Canada, 2006

b1The relationship between transportation and land values has two different elements. One is the effect that changes in transportation access and facilities have on the values of nearby land. The other is the value of land taken up by transportation facilities, which then preclude other uses of that land. The latter issue is particularly important when considering the "full cost" of transportation investments.

Transport Canada launched a major effort to assess the full costs of transportation investment across all modes, and as part of that effort, they contracted with the University of Waterloo, together with VTPI and EDR Group, to assemble information on the value of transportation-occupied land across Canada. The project had three objectives:

  • Objective 1: Critical Evaluation: Provide an up to date understanding of how land valuation has and should be applied for full cost accounting of transportation systems.
  • Objective 2: Land Valuation Methodology: Develop a comprehensive and flexible land valuation tool that can be applied across modes and at various spatial scales.
  • Objective 3: Value Estimates: Develop specific, defensible recommended unit estimates of the value of land occupied by transportation infrastructure for use in the Full Cost Investigation project.

The resulting project developed estimated of the value of transportation land occupied by the different types of transportation infrastructure in various differing types of urban and rural jurisdictions and locations across Canada, with a particular focus on differences in mix and value of residential, commercial, industrial, and open space among areas in urban core, suburban rings, exurban fringe and rural areas.

The conclusions showed how better land valuation can improve transportation policy and planning by giving decision-makers more detailed and comprehensive information on the effects of options, including impacts that are often overlooked or undervalued because they are more difficult to quantify.

Report: Full Cost Investigation of Transportation (PDF)