A 19-km light rail transit (LRT) line connecting Fairview Park Mall and Conestoga Mall is under construction in Kitchener-Waterloo. The system is set to begin service in early 2018. This grand transportation investment is expected not only to improve public transit options and reduce congestion, but also to help shape land development, with the goal of increasing the density of development in core areas, increasing mixed-use development, and curbing sprawl. However, whether people prefer to take transit and live near the transit corridor in Kitchener-Waterloo is still unexplored. As a researcher, I am interested in how the new LRT will influence housing choices and development patterns.

To support this goal, I am conducting a comprehensive home buyer/seller survey under the supervision of Dr. Parker and Dr. Casello to help understand the relationships between land markets, land-use change and transportation in Kitchener-Waterloo. With empirical survey data, we will be able to build models of how residential market happens (land market models) and how people move around the city once they decide where to live (transportation models). To our knowledge, this study will be the first to use buyer and seller survey data to parameterize an empirical agent-based land-market model.

The study “Exploring Household Behaviour in Residential Location Choice in Kitchener-Waterloo (K-W)” is part of two SSHRC-funded projects:

“Urban Intensification vs. Suburban Flight: An Integrated Residential Land-use and Transportation Model to Evaluate Residential Land Market Form and Function” (WAterloo Regional Model, WARM)

The project objective is to understand and project the co-evolution of regional housing markets, the transportation system, and associated environmental behaviour through novel complex systems models, with a case study application to Waterloo Region. This sub-system model will form a building block for a larger, next-stage model of the regional economy.

Light Rail Transit and Core-Area Intensification: Unpacking Causal Relationships

The project will respond to a natural experiment to explore the causal dynamics between the pending development of light rail transit (LRT), core-area intensification and socioeconomic change in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario. We will gather and analyze qualitative and quantitative information from the pre-build stage through implementation of LRT to investigate these questions.


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