Bus rapid transit impacts on land uses and development over time in Bogotá and Quito





BRT;, urban development, land use, Latin America


Despite the worldwide popularity of bus rapid transit (BRT), empirical evidence of its effects on land uses and development remains limited. This paper examines BRT’s impacts on land use and development in Bogotá and Quito, by using a parcel-level difference-in-differences research design. We estimate a propensity score-weighted regression model of parcel development characteristics in treatment and control areas. In Bogotá, although parcels in close proximity to the BRT are subject to fewer changes in terms of development intensity (changes in built-up area) in relation to parcels in the control area, they are more likely to change uses, shifting toward commercial activities. In Quito, the results are mixed; parcels in one BRT corridor are more likely to be subject to redevelopment, but the parcels in a more recent BRT corridor are less likely to be subject to development activity in relation to parcels in the control corridor. Taken together, our results suggest that changes in land use are important but frequently overlooked impacts produced by BRT implementation. Attempts to capture value from mass transit investments should also consider the ancillary planning decisions required to allow changes in land use.

Author Biographies

C. Erik Vergel-Tovar, Universidad de los Andes

C. Erik Vergel-Tovar is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Architecture at Universidad de los Andes. Professor Vergel-Tovar received his PhD in City and Regional Planning at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the United States. He studied Architecture at the National University of Colombia in Bogota (Colombia) and received a Master’s on Urban Management and Development with Distinction at the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies IHS at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam, The Netherlands. He participated in the Land Readjustment International Training Course offered by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency JICA in Tokyo, Japan.

Daniel A. Rodriguez, University of California at Berkeley

Daniel A. Rodríguez is Chancellor’s Professor of City and Regional Planning and Associate Director of the Institute for Transportation Studies. His research focuses on the relationship between transportation, land development, and the health and environmental consequences that follow.


Alonso, W. (1964). Location and land use: Toward a general theory of land rent. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Ardila, A. (2004). Transit planning in Curitiba and Bogota. Roles in interaction, risk and change (Ph.D. dissertation). Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIT, Cambridge, MA.

Berke, P., Kaiser, E. J. K., Godschalk, D. R., & Rodríguez, D. A. (2006). Urban land-use planning. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press.

Bertrand, M., Duflo, E., & Mullainathan, S. (2001). How much should we trust difference-in-differences estimates? Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Bocarejo, J. P., Portilla, I., & Pérez, M. A. (2012). Impact of Transmilenio on density, land use, and land value in Bogotá. Research in Transportation Economics. https://doi.10.1016/j.retrec.2012.06.030

BRTDATA.ORG (2021). Global BRT data. WRI & BRT Across Latitudes and Cultures. http://www.brtdata.org/

Cain, A., Darido, G., Baltes, M. R., Rodriguez, P., & Barrios, J. C. (2007). Applicability of Transmilenio bus rapid transit system of Bogotá, Colombia to the United States. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 2034, 45–54.

Cervero, R. (1998). The transit metropolis: A global inquiry. Washington, DC: Island Press.

Cervero, R. & Dai, D. (2014). BRT TOD: Leveraging transit oriented development with bus rapid transit investments. Transport Policy, 36, 127–138. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tranpol.2014.08.001

Cervero, R. & Landis, J. (1997a). Twenty years of the Bay Area rapid transit system: Land use and development impacts. Transportation Research Part a-Policy and Practice, 31(4), 309–333. https://doi.10.1016/s0965-8564(96)00027-4

Cervero, R. & Landis, J. (1997b). Twenty years of the Bay Area rapid transit system: Land use and development impacts. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 31(4), 309–333. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0965-8564(96)00027-4

Cervero, R., Ferrell, C., & Murphy, S. (2002). Transit-oriented development and joint development in the United States: A literature review. Retrieved from http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/tcrp/tcrp_rrd_52.pdf

Cervero, R., Guerra, E., & Al, S. (2017). Beyond mobility: Planning cities for people and places. Washington, DC: Island Press.

Cervero, R., & Kang, C. (2011). Bus rapid transit impacts on land uses and land values in Seoul, Korea. Transport Policy, 18(1), 102–116. https://doi.10.1016/j.tranpol.2010.06.005

Cervero, R., Murphy, S., Ferrel, C., Goguts, N., & Tsai, Y., Arrington, G. B…. & McKay, S. (2004). Transit-oriented development in the United States: Experiences, challenges, and prospects. Washington, DC: Transportation Research Board. Retrieved from https://www.worldtransitresearch.info/research/3066/

CTOD. (2013). Downtowns, greenfields, and places in between: Promoting development near transit. Center for Transit Oriented Development. Retrieved from https://ctod.org/pdfs/20130528_DntnsGreenfieldsEtc.FINAL.pdf

Curtis, C., Renne, J. L., & Bertolini, L. (2016). Transit oriented development: making it happen. Oxfordshire, England: Routledge.

D'Agostino, R. B. (1998). Propensity score methods for bias reduction in the comparison of a treatment to a non‐randomized control group. Statistics in Medicine, 17(19), 2265–2281.

DANE. (2018). Censo poblacion. Bogota: El Departamento Administrativo Nacional de Estadística.

Deng, T., & Nelson, J. D. (2011). Recent developments in bus rapid transit: A review of the literature. Transport Reviews, 31(1), 69–96. https://doi.10.1080/01441647.2010.492455

Dueker, K., & Bianco, M. (1999). Light-rail-transit impacts in Portland: The first ten years. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 1685, 171–180.

Ecuador. (2021). Datos abiertos Ecuador. Retrieved from https://datosabiertos.planificacion.gob.ec/

Flores Dewey, O. (2012). The value of a promise: Housing price impacts of plans to build mass transit in Ecatepec, Mexico. Retrieved from http://www.brt.cl/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/FYP-Working-draft-June1.pdf

Fogarty, N., & Austin, M. (2011). Rails to real estate: Development patterns along three new transit lines. Retrieved from https://www.worldtransitresearch.info/research/3870/

Guzman, L. A., Enríquez, H. D., & Hessel, P. (2021). BRT system in Bogotá and urban effects: More residential land premiums? Research in Transportation Economics, 90, 101039. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.retrec.2021.101039

Hirano, K., Imbens, G., & Ridder, G. (2000). Estimation of average treatment effects using the estimated propensity score (Technical working paper).

Holmes, W. (2014). Using propensity scores in quasi-experimental designs. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Hurst, N. B., & West, S. E. (2014). Public transit and urban redevelopment: The effect of light rail transit on land use in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Regional Science and Urban Economics, 46, 57–72. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.regsciurbeco.2014.02.002

IDECA. (2021). Infraestructura de Datos Espaciales para el Distrito Capital. Retrieved from https://www.ideca.gov.co/

INEC. (2017). Censo poblacion. Quito, Ecuador: E. Instituto Nacional de Estadistica y Censos INEC.

Lee, R. J., & Sener, I. N. (2017). The effect of light rail transit on land use in a city without zoning. Journal of Transport and Land Use, 10(1), 541–556.

Lindau, L. A., Hidalgo, D., & Facchini, D. (2010). Bus rapid transit in Curitiba, Brazil: A look at the outcome after 35 years of bus-oriented development. Transportation Research Record, 2193(1), 17–27.

Lopez, R. (2003). El Corredor de Trolebuses de Quito, 99-115. Carreteras, Revista Técnica de la Asociación Española de Carreteras,133, 99–115.

Macedo, J. (2013). Planning a sustainable city: The making of Curitiba, Brazil. Journal of Planning History, 12(4), 334–353.

McCaffrey, D. F., Griffin, B. A., Almirall, D., Slaughter, M. E., Ramchand, R., & Burgette, L. F. (2013). A tutorial on propensity score estimation for multiple treatments using generalized boosted models. Statistics in Medicine, 32(19), 3388–3414. https://doi.10.1002/sim.5753

Mejía-Dugand, S., Hjelm, O., Baas, L., & Ríos, R. A. (2013). Lessons from the spread of bus rapid transit in Latin America. Journal of Cleaner Production, 50, 82–90. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2012.11.028

Muth, R. F. (1969). Cities and housing: The spatial pattern of urban residential land use. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Nelson, A. C., & Ganning, J. (2015). National Study of BRT development outcomes. Portland, OR: National Institute for Transportation and Communities. Retrieved from http://transportationforamerica.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/NATIONAL-STUDY-OF-BRT-DEVELOPMENT-OUTCOMES-11-30-15.pdf

Oakes, J. M., & Johnson, P. J. (2006). Propensity score matching for social epidemiology. In F. Kaplan-Brauer, J. S. Kaufman, & J. M. Oakes (Eds.), Methods in social epidemiology. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Pan, W., & Bai, H. (2015). Propensity score analysis: Fundamentals and developments. New York: Guilford Press.

Quito. (2012). Plan Metropolitano de Ordenamiento Territorial 2012 - 2022. Retrieved from https://www.patronato.quito.gob.ec/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/PMDOT-Plan-Metropolitano-de-Desarrollo-y-Ordenamiento-Territorial-2015-2025-Vigente.pdf

Ratner, K. A., & Goetz, A. R. (2013). The reshaping of land use and urban form in Denver through transit-oriented development. Cities, 30, 31–46. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cities.2012.08.007

Rodriguez, D., & Mojica, C. (2009). Capitalization of BRT network expansions effects into prices of non-expansion areas. Transportation Research Part A-Policy and Practice, 43(5), 560–571. https://doi.10.1016/j.tra.2009.02.003

Rodriguez, D., & Targa, F. (2004). Value of accessibility to Bogota's bus rapid transit system. Transport Reviews, 24(5), 587–610. https://doi.10.1080/0144164042000196000

Rodriguez, D., & Vergel-Tovar, C. (2013). Bus rapid transit and urban development in Latin America. Cambridge, MA: Lincoln Institute of Land Policies, Land Lines. Retrieved from http://www.lincolninst.edu/pubs/2188_Bus-Rapid-Transit-and-Urban-Development-in-Latin-America

Rodriguez, D., Vergel-Tovar, C., & Camargo, W. (2016). Land development impacts of BRT in a sample of stops in Quito and Bogotá. Transport Policy, 51, 4–14.

Rodriguez, D., Vergel-Tovar, C., & Gakenheimer, R. (2018). Desarrollo urbano orientado hacia buses rapidos: Lecciones y perspectivas de planificacion con base en tres ciudades colombianas. Temas de movilidad sostenible: Transporte y Desarrollo en América Latina, 1. Caracas: CAF-Banco de Desarrollo de América Latina

Rosenbaum, P. R., & Rubin, D. B. (1983). The central role of the propensity score in observational studies for causal effects. Biometrika, 70(1), 41–55.

Shadish, W. R., Campbell, D. T., & Cook, T. D. (2002). Experimental and quasi-experimental designs for generalized causal inference. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Smith, H., & Raemaekers, J. (1998). Land-use pattern and transport in Curitiba. Land Use Policy, 15(3), 233–251. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0264-8377(98)00016-7

Stokenberga, A. (2014). Does bus rapid transit influence urban land development and property values: A review of the literature. Transport Reviews, 34(3), 276–296.

Suzuki, H., Cervero, R., & Luchi, K. (2013). Transforming cities with transit: Transit and land-use integration for sustainable urban development. Washington DC: World Bank.

Thomson, I. (2007, noviembre-diciembre). Una respuesta latinoamericana a la pesadilla del tránsito: Los buses sobre vías segregadas. Nueva Sociedad(212), 112–119.

Velandia Narjano, D. J. (2013). The impact of bus rapid transit system on land prices in Mexico City. Retrieved from https://www.lincolninst.edu/publications/working-papers/impact-bus-rapid-transit-system-land-prices-mexico-city

Vergel-Tovar, C. E., & Camargo, W. (2019). Urban development impacts of bus rapid transit in Colombia: Challenges and opportunities. In Developing bus rapid transit: The value of BRT in urban spaces. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Vergel Tovar, C. E. (2021). Sustainable transit and land use in Latin America and the Caribbean: A review of recent developments and research findings. In J. Cao, J. Yang, & C. Ding (Eds.), Advances in land-use planning from the perspective of the implications for accessibility and travel behavior (Vol. 9). Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Zhang, M., & Yen, B. T. H. (2020). The impact of bus rapid transit (BRT) on land and property values: A meta-analysis. Land Use Policy, 96, 104684. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2020.104684




How to Cite

Vergel-Tovar, C. E., & Rodriguez, D. A. (2022). Bus rapid transit impacts on land uses and development over time in Bogotá and Quito. Journal of Transport and Land Use, 15(1), 425–462. https://doi.org/10.5198/jtlu.2022.1888