Chatman and Noland solve a mystery in benefit-cost analysis for transit

There is a nice write-up over at Atlantic Cities of what appears to be a very important contribute to the literature on transit benefits: Public Transit is Worth More Than You Think.  The idea is that transit’s contribution to agglomeration adds value to commerce and land–totally believable. It could help us get to a point where we can help make more sense of transit benefits to cities. For years we have struggled with findings that the DC Metro doesn’t pass cost-benefit analysis, and the intuition has been we are undercounting benefits. Perhaps we are. (That said, costs are high, and they get higher with agglomeration.)  The research comes from Dan Chatman at Berkeley and Robert Noland at Rutgers, and it will appear in Urban Studies in a forthcoming issue.

I haven’t read the original paper, which is here, but I will. Dan Chatman is one of the smartest people I have ever met, and he is also a very careful scholar. He doesn’t let ideas go without testing them thoroughly, so I doubt I’ll find much to quibble over. I don’t know Dr. Noland personally, but what I’ve read of his work is very good.  Go read!