RVARC & RVTPO Roanoke Trolley Economic Impact Study

RVARC & RVTPO Roanoke Trolley Economic Impact Study

Roanok e Trolle y Econom ic Im pact Study
R oanok e Valle y Are a Me tropolitan Planning O rganization i
Ack nowle dge m e nts
Roanok e Valle y Are a
Me tropolitan Planning O rganization
Policy Board
D on D avis, Ch airm an
H ow ard Pack e t, Vice Ch airm an
D ale W h e e le r
R on Sm ith
W indy W ingo
R ich ard C. Flora
Joe McNam ara
Be ve rly T. Fitzpatrick , Jr.
D avid Trink le
Me linda Payne
Tom R ote nbe rry
J. Le e E. O sbourne
Jacque line Sh uck
R ich ard Cayw ood
W illiam E. H oldre n, Jr.
Unw anna Be llinge r D abne y
Pat K am ph
Me tropolitan Planning O rganization
Transportation Te ch nical Com m itte e
Mich ae l Gray, Ch airm an
Tim Be ard, Vice Ch airm an
Ge orge Ne stor
Je ffre y Busby
Te re sa Be ch e r
Mark Jam ison
Ian Sh aw
Mik e Ke nne dy
Be njim an Tripp
Curtis Andre w s
W illiam E. H oldre n, Jr.
Jacque line Sh uck
Je ff A. Ech ols
Liz Be lch e r
Jack Apostolide s
Unw anna Be llinge r D abne y
Pat K am ph
Clifford Burne tte , Jr.
Me tropolitan Planning O rganization
Exe cutive D ire ctor
W ayne G. Strick land
Proje ct Te am
Jak e Gilm e r
Joh n H ull
Roanok e Trolle y Econom ic Im pact Study
R oanok e Valle y Are a Me tropolitan Planning O rganization ii
Table of Conte nts
Exe cutive Sum m ary…………………………………………………………………………………………… 1
R oanok e Stre e tcar H istory………………………………………………………………………………. 2
Propose d Trolle y Line and Conce ptual Analysis………………………………………………. 3
Case R e vie w s of Trolle y Econom ic Im pact………………………………………………………. 5
Portland, O R
Ke nosh a, W I
Little R ock , AR
Tam pa, FL
Econom ic Im pact of R oanok e Trolle y……………………………………………………………….. 7
IMPLAN Mode l
Im pact of Trolle y Construction
Im pact of Trolle y O pe rations
Im pact of Trolle y on R e al Estate Value s
Conclusions……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 10
Glossary……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 11
R e fe re nce s………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 12
Th is re port w as pre pare d by th e R oanok e Valle y Are a Me tropolitan Planning O rganization
(RVAMPO ) in coope ration w ith th e U.S. D e partm e nt of Transportation (USD O T), th e Fe de ral
H igh w ay Adm inistration (FH W A), and th e Virginia D e partm e nt of Transportation (VD O T). Th e
conte nts of th is re port re fle ct th e vie w s of th e staff of th e R oanok e Valle y Me tropolitan Planning
O rganization (MPO ). Th e MPO staff is re sponsible for th e facts and accuracy of th e data
pre se nte d h e re in. Th e conte nts do not ne ce ssarily re fle ct th e official vie w s or policie s of th e
FH W A, VD O T, or RVARC. Th is re port doe s not constitute a standard, spe cification, or re gulation.
FH W A or VD O T acce ptance of th is re port as e vide nce of fulfillm e nt of th e obje ctive s of th is
planning study doe s not constitute e ndorse m e nt/approval of th e ne e d for any re com m e nde d
im prove m e nts nor doe s it constitute approval of th e ir location and de sign or a com m itm e nt to
fund any such im prove m e nts. Additional proje ct le ve l e nvironm e ntal im pact asse ssm e nts and/or
studie s of alte rnative s m ay be ne ce ssary.
Roanok e Trolle y Econom ic Im pact Study
R oanok e Valle y Are a Me tropolitan Planning O rganization 1
Th e City of R oanok e is e xploring th e fe asibility of
constructing and ope rating a vintage trolle y line on
Je ffe rson Stre e t in dow ntow n R oanok e , VA, be tw e e n
th e City Mark e t and th e South Je ffe rson
R e de ve lopm e nt Are a. Th e trolle y w ould be de signe d
to se rve dow ntow n e m ploye e s and stude nts, are a
re side nts, and tourists. It w ould also act as a catalyst
for re de ve lopm e nt and ne w construction along th e
Je ffe rson Stre e t corridor and in th e South Je ffe rson
R e de ve lopm e nt Are a.
Th is study w as unde rtak e n to e valuate th e e conom ic
im pact th at th e propose d vintage trolle y could h ave
on dow ntow n R oanok e , th e City of R oanok e , and th e
large r m e tropolitan re gion. It re vie w s th e h istory of
stre e tcars in R oanok e , de scribe s th e ch aracte ristics of
th e propose d trolle y syste m , and e valuate s th e
de ve lopm e nt pote ntial of prope rtie s adjace nt to th e
propose d line on Je ffe rson Stre e t. Th e study also
provide s brie f case re vie w s of th e e conom ic im pact of
stre e tcar syste m s in four diffe re nt U.S. citie s. Finally,
th e e conom ic im pact of th e construction and
ope rating cost of th e propose d R oanok e trolle y line
are e stim ate d using a com pute r m ode l and pote ntial
re al e state de ve lopm e nt e ffe cts are e xplore d base d
on h ypoth e tical build-out sce narios. Cursory
cost/be ne fit analysis is also provide d, w ith furth e r
analysis anticipate d in a future , m ore de taile d
alte rnative s study, com ple te d in com pliance w ith
fe de ral guide line s.
In 2004, W ilbur Sm ith Associate s com ple te d th e
R oanok e Vintage Trolle y Conce ptual Analysis th at
e xam ine d th e te ch nical and financial fe asibility of a
dow ntow n R oanok e trolle y line on th e Je ffe rson
Stre e t corridor. Th is study e stim ate d th at th e capital
cost of th e trolle y syste m (including trolle y cars, rail
line s, and a m ainte nance facility) w ould be
$16,9 75,750 and th e annual ope rating costs w ould be
$274,560. Base d on th e se e stim ate s, th e construction
of th e R oanok e trolle y line is e stim ate d to h ave a
$16,9 80,302 one -tim e im pact on th e e conom y of th e
R oanok e Me tropolitan Statistical Are a (MSA) and
produce approxim ate ly 180 jobs during th e
construction pe riod. Th e ongoing ope rations of th e
trolle y line are proje cte d to h ave a $441,116 annual
im pact on th e MSA (including th e annual ope rating
cost) and cre ate 7.4 pe rm ane nt jobs.
If, as in oth e r citie s th at h ave starte d stre e tcar
syste m s, th e R oanok e trolle y line catalyze s ne w land
de ve lopm e nt, th e re could be be tw e e n $31.5 m illion
to $78.7 m illion of ne w construction along Je ffe rson
Stre e t, and $336,9 45 to $842,363 in annual re al e state
tax re ve nue to th e City. If th e City of R oanok e w e re
to finance $8 m illion of th e capital costs, base d on th e
e stim ate s and assum ptions in our study, it could
re coup its initial inve stm e nt th rough additional tax
re ve nue in 9 to 23 ye ars, de pe nding upon th e rate and
inte nsity of re de ve lopm e nt or ne w construction along
th e trolle y line . Furth e rm ore , if th e im pacts on re al
e state value s and de ve lopm e nt m ate rialize as
e stim ate d, th e City could se e a 4.3% to 10.6% re turn
on its inve stm e nt w ith in a sim ilar tim e pe riod.
Th is study assum e s th at th e trolle y proje ct w ill be
initiate d as a com pone nt of oth e r significant
e conom ic de ve lopm e nt e fforts in th e corridor. It is
cle ar from th e case re vie w s th at trolle y and stre e tcar
syste m s can be an inte gral com pone nt in th e
re de ve lopm e nt of an are a or corridor. H ow e ve r, due
to diffe ring de ve lopm e nt and de m ograph ic conditions,
it cannot be assure d th at th e e conom ic im pact of a
trolle y line in one city w ill be th e sam e in anoth e r.
Exe cutive Sum m ary
Conce pual Trolle y on Je ffe rson St. – Source : City Mark e t D istrict Plan
Roanok e Trolle y Econom ic Im pact Study
R oanok e Valle y Are a Me tropolitan Planning O rganization 2
Th e h istory of th e City of R oanok e is inte rtw ine d
w ith th at of th e Am e rican rail industry. As th e Tow n
of Big Lick w as be ing re nam e d to R oanok e in 1882,
th e re ce ntly m e rge d Norfolk W e ste rn (NW ) and
Sh e nandoah Valle y (SV) R ailroad Com panie s locate d
th e ir rail junction and ne w h e adquarte rs in R oanok e .
D uring th e e nsuing de cade s, NW w as inte gral in th e
ope ning of th e Pocah ontas coalfie lds in w e ste rn
Virginia and W e st Virginia, w h ich fue le d h alf th e
w orld’s navie s and today stok e s ste e l m ills and pow e r
plants all ove r th e globe . NW also ope ne d th e
R oanok e Sh ops, w h e re th e fam e d classe s A, J, and Y6
locom otive s w ould be de signe d, built and m aintaine d.
Th e se succe sse s brough t e xtraordinary e m ploym e nt
and population grow th in th e R oanok e Valle y during
th e e arly part of th e 20th Ce ntury (Norfolk South e rn
Corportation, 2007).
To accom m odate th e e m ploym e nt ne e ds of NW and
th e grow ing population of R oanok e , m any ne w h om e s
w e re built in close proxim ity to dow ntow n R oanok e
and ne ar th e NW office s and sh ops. As th e distance
be tw e e n h om e s and dow ntow n incre ase d, w ork e rs
ne e de d a faste r w ay to trave l to w ork th an w alk ing.
In 1887, th e R oanok e Stre e t R ailw ay Com pany w as
incorporate d to provide h orse -draw n railw ay se rvice
be tw e e n R oanok e and th e pre se nt day City of Sale m
and Tow n of Vinton. Th is line provide d th e se rvice
ne e de d to transport w ork e rs to th e NW sh ops and
allow e d R oanok e Valle y citize ns th e opportunity to
live in th e first ring of suburban are as. Afte r th e
de ve lopm e nt of th e w orld’s first e le ctric stre e tcar
syste m in R ich m ond, VA, R oanok e starte d its ow n
e le ctric stre e tcar in 189 2. D uring th e nine te e n
h undre ds th e stre e tcar syste m e xpande d rapidly and
by 19 25 th e com pany w as ope rating about 50 cars
ove r 30 m ile s of track s. Th e ble ak ye ar of 19 29 and
th e w ide spre ad ow ne rsh ip of autom obile s m ark e d
th e be ginning of th e e nd of stre e tcars in R oanok e
w h e n tw o line s w e re abandone d. Autom obile
ow ne rsh ip rate s quick ly incre ase d, and by 19 40 six
m ore line s h ad ce ase d ope ration, le aving only 2 m ajor
line s. In July 19 48, th e tw o re m aining line s w e re
abandone d and th e e igh te e n re m aining passe nge r cars
w e re sold for scrap (D alm as, 2006).
Since th at tim e m any R oanok e re side nts h ave be e n
nostalgic about th e once ubiquitous trolle y syste m
and th e re h ave be e n m any e fforts ove r th e ye ars to
safe guard th e City’s trolle y h istory, such as th e
donation of an original R oanok e stre e tcar to th e
Virginia Muse um of Transportation and th e
pre se rvation of th e old stre e tcar m ainte nance barn.
In 2006, Jam e s E. D alm as, a R oanok e native and
form e r Pre side nt of th e Baltim ore Stre e tcar Muse um ,
w rote Th e Stre e t R ailw ays of R oanok e , Virginia 1887-
19 48, w h ich contains th e m ost com ple te h istory and
colle ction of ph otos of th e R oanok e stre e tcar syste m .
Roanok e Stre e tcar H istory
Form e r Lynch burg 19 29 Brill Maste r Unit. R oanok e car 54
Source : D avid Ste inburg Colle ction
Roanok e Trolle y Econom ic Im pact Study
R oanok e Valle y Are a Me tropolitan Planning O rganization 3
Th e de ve lopm e nt of th e D alm as book occurre d
during th e sam e tim e as a re naissance in inte re st in
stre e tcars in R oanok e and th rough out th e Unite d
State s. In 2004 th e R oanok e Valle y-Alle gh any R e gional
Com m ission and th e Gre ate r R oanok e Transit
Com pany h ire d W ilbur Sm ith Associate s and th e
Lom arado Group to conduct a pre lim inary
e xam ination of th e te ch nical and financial fe asibility of
a dow ntow n R oanok e vintage trolle y line on th e
Je ffe rson Stre e t corridor. Vintage trolle y syste m s are
transportation line s th at ope rate on fixe d rails and
use ve h icle s th at w e re built be fore 19 60 or are
re plica transit ve h icle s. Such syste m s are ope rating
in approxim ate ly 26 citie s across th e Unite d State s
and are unde r conside ration in m any oth e r locations.
Th e R oanok e Vintage Trolle y Conce ptual Analysis w as
unde rtak e n in re sponse to City le ade rs w h o w e re
inte re ste d in innovative w ays to se rve sh ort trips
w ith in th e dow ntow n, e xpand tourism opportunitie s,
and support future e conom ic de ve lopm e nt. As
de scribe d in th e Conce ptual Analysis, th e goals of th e
propose d trolle y line are to:
• “Link various ve nue s in th e dow ntow n are a w ith
an e fficie nt and “fun” transit line .
• Provide an attractive alte rnate to th e autom obile
for sh ort trips, and one th at w ould attract use
from tourists, visitors, and re side nts alik e .
• Ce le brate th e h istoric role of th e stre e tcar in th e
de ve lopm e nt and urbanization of th e gre ate r
dow ntow n are a.
• Se rve as a transportation link to support
e conom ic de ve lopm e nt as th e are a se rve d
unde rgoe s e conom ic re de ve lopm e nt as a m ixe duse
urban ne igh borh ood.”
Th e trolle y line is propose d to conne ct th e R oanok e
ce ntral busine ss district and th e South Je ffe rson
R e de ve lopm e nt D istrict, via th e Je ffe rson Stre e t
corridor. Th e line is re com m e nde d to run 1.26 m ile s
on Je ffe rson Stre e t, be tw e e n Norfolk and Sale m
Ave nue s to R e se rve Ave nue , w ith pote ntial, future
south and north e xte nsions. Th e re com m e nde d fle e t
consists of th re e double -truck , e le ctrically prope lle d
re plica stre e tcars, approxim ate ly 46 fe e t in le ngth ,
se ating 46 passe nge rs and h aving Am e rican W ith
Propose d Trolle y Line and Conce ptual Analysis
Figure 1: Map of propose d R oanok e Vintage Trolle y line along Je ffe rson Stre e t. Line re pre se nte d by re d rail track s.
Roanok e Trolle y Econom ic Im pact Study
R oanok e Valle y Are a Me tropolitan Planning O rganization 4
D isabilitie s Act (AD A) com pliant w h e e lch air lifts.
Th e re w ould be passe nge r stops locate d
approxim ate ly e ve ry 4 block s and th e trolle y track s
w ill be locate d in Je ffe rson Stre e t and pave d flush w ith
rail tops, so th at autom obile s can drive ove r top of
th e m . Th e trolle y w ill be controlle d by th e e xisting
traffic signals on Je ffe rson Stre e t and pow e re d by
ove rh e ad contact line s.
Th e City of R oanok e ce ntral busine ss district is
th riving and e xpe rie ncing an incre ase in dow ntow n
re side ntial dw e llings. Th e je w e l of th e dow ntow n is
th e H istoric R oanok e City Mark e t, w h ich is th e olde st
continuously ope rating ope n-air m ark e t in Virginia.
Th e City re ce ntly com ple te d a City Mark e t D istrict
Plan th at contains proposals to e nsure th e continue d
succe ss of th is are a and spur ne w infill de ve lopm e nt.
Th e dow ntow n also boasts th e h istoric H ote l
R oanok e and Confe re nce Ce nte r, Ce nte r in th e
Square , and th e Art Muse um of W e ste rn Muse um .
Th e South Je ffe rson R e de ve lopm e nt D istrict is a 110-
acre are a locate d south of dow ntow n R oanok e and is
de signate d by th e State of Virginia as a
“R e de ve lopm e nt Are a” due to its de ficie nt
infrastructure and de pre sse d e conom ic activity. Th e
are a is now starting to e xpe rie nce ne w de ve lopm e nt
w ith th e construction of th e R ive rside D e ve lopm e nt
Ce nte r, w h ich w ill contain th e Carilion Biom e dical
Institute , a m e dical sch ool, office s, a h ote l, and
re staurants. Adjace nt to th e R e de ve lopm e nt Are a is
th e Carilion R oanok e Me m orial H ospital and th e
R ive rs Edge Park . Th e City of R oanok e re ce ntly
com ple te d a conce ptual plan for th e re de ve lopm e nt
of th e Park th at include s proposals for an
am ph ith e ate r, a m ulti-use plaza, w h ite w ate r park , and
a gondola to Mill Mountain.
City le ade rs be lie ve th at th e e xiste nce of th e vintage
trolle y line w ill stre ngth e n th e de ve lopm e nt e fforts at
both e nds of th e line , as w e ll as along th e line on th e
Je ffe rson Stre e t corridor. Je ffe rson Stre e t h as a
tre m e ndous h istory as one of th e olde st stre e ts in
th e City of R oanok e . For th e past couple of de cade s
th e Je ffe rson Stre e t corridor h as e xpe rie nce d gradual
im prove m e nts, but unfortunate ly still h as m ultiple
vacant store fronts, as w e ll as num e rous unde rutilize d
buildings and land.
Conce ptual trolle y on Mark e t Stre e t in R oanok e City Mark e t are a. Source :
Vintage Trolle y Conce ptual Analysis
Carillion Biom e dical Institure unde r construction.
Source : Carillion Biom e dical Institute
Roanok e Trolle y Econom ic Im pact Study
R oanok e Valle y Are a Me tropolitan Planning O rganization 5
Case Re vie w s of Trolle y Econom ic Im pact
H e ritage stre e tcar syste m s are be ing ope rate d in
approxim ate ly 26 citie s of all size s in th e Unite d
State s and about 46 are in th e proce ss of studying or
de ve loping h e ritage stre e tcar syste m s. Four trolle y
syste m s in cite s of diffe re nt populations are e xam ine d
in th is se ction, w ith particular focus on th e e conom ic
im pact th at th e ir stre e tcar or trolle y syste m s are
h aving on re al e state de ve lopm e nt. Th e re vie w s are
for illustrative purpose s only, since it cannot be
assum e d th at th e e conom ic im pact of a trolle y line in
one city w ill be th e sam e in anoth e r.
Portland, O R
Th e City of Portland h as a population of 542,034,
w ith a m e tropolitan are a population of 2,566,263.
Th e Me tropolitan Are a and th e City h ave ligh t-rail,
m ode rn stre e tcar, and vintage trolle y syste m s. In
19 86, ligh t rail se rvice , nam e d th e Me tropolitan Are a
Expre ss (MAX), ope ne d on a 15-m ile alignm e nt
be tw e e n th e suburb of Gre sh am and dow ntow n
Portland. Soon th e re afte r th e City cre ate d a local
im prove m e nt district to finance th e local sh are of a
propose d Vintage Trolle y Syste m . Th e Trolle y se rvice
be gan in 19 87 and ran be tw e e n Lloyd Ce nte r and
dow ntow n Portland’s e xisting MAX track s. In 19 9 7,
Portland also starte d plans for a m ode rn stre e tcar
circulator and in 2001 th e syste m ope ne d and
be cam e th e first m ode rn stre e tcar syste m in North
Am e rica (APTA, 2007).
A 2005 study by E.D . H ove e and Associate s found
th at prope rtie s locate d adjace nt to Portland’s m ode rn
stre e tcar line now h ave th e gre ate st pe rce ntage of
de ve lopm e nt in th e Ce ntral Busine ss D istrict
(Portland Stre e tcar, Inc., 2006). Prior to th e 19 9 7
de signation of th e location of th e first stre e tcar line ,
land locate d w ith in one block of th e line capture d
only 19 % of all Ce ntral Busine ss D istrict (CBD )
de ve lopm e nt, and de ve lopm e nt proje cts w e re built to
le ss th an h alf of th e allow able de nsity. Since th at tim e ,
ne w de ve lopm e nt w ith in one block of th e stre e tcar
line m ak e s up 55% of all CBD de ve lopm e nt and h as
ach ie ve d an ave rage of 9 0% (Figure 1) of th e allow able
de nsity (as m e asure d by floor are a ratio, or FAR ).
Afte r th e construction of th e stre e tcar syste m th e re
w as ove r $2.28 billion inve ste d and 4.6 m illion square
fe e t of office , institutional, re tail, and h ote l structure s
constructe d w ith in tw o block s of th e stre e tcar
alignm e nt (Portland Stre e tcar, Inc., 2006).
Ke nosh a, W I
Th e City of Ke nosh a h as a population of 9 5,039 , w ith
a m e tropolitan are a population of 158,255. Th e City
h as a 1.7-m ile , vintage stre e tcar loop th at w as
conce ive d as a circulator syste m to conne ct th e
h istoric dow ntow n and th e Me tra com m ute r rail
station w ith th e H arbor Park re de ve lopm e nt proje ct,
locate d on a form e r brow nfie ld site (GEM, 2004). Th e
stre e tcar w as conside re d inte gral to th e succe ss of
H arbor Park since it w ould conne ct th e Park w ith
dow ntow n and th e com m ute r rail station.
Ke nosh a, W I stre e tcar along Lak e Mich igan.
Source : R ailw ay Pre se rvation R e source s, Joh n Sm atlak .
Figure 1: Pe rce ntage of Pe rm ite d FAR Re alize d
Base d on D istance from Portland Stre e tcar.
Source : Portland Stre e tcar, Inc.
Roanok e Trolle y Econom ic Im pact Study
R oanok e Valle y Are a Me tropolitan Planning O rganization 6
Th e stre e tcar trave ls on a grassy roadbe d along an
attractive boule vard into th e dow ntow n are a. It runs
in th e stre e t for h alf of th e route and along th e side
of th e stre e t on th e oth e r h alf. Th e City plans to
build a 4-m ile e xte nsion of th e stre e tcar to anoth e r
30-acre brow nfie ld site . Since th e ope ning of th e
H arbor Park stre e tcar line in 2000 th e re h as be e n
close to $150 m illion of de ve lopm e nt adjace nt to it,
including a public m use um , 400 h ousing units, a
w ate rfront park , and a prom e nade (O h land and
Potich a, 2006). H arbor Park is now a re gional tourist
de stination w ith th ousands of visitors and stre e tcar
ride rs pe r ye ar.
Little Rock , AR
Th e City of Little R ock h as a population of 184,564,
w ith a m e tropolitan are a population of 652,834. Th e
City h as a 2.5-m ile , vintage stre e tcar syste m th at w as
initiate d as a com pone nt of a dow ntow n re vitalization
plan to link th e dow ntow n R ive r Mark e t D istrict w ith
ne igh borh oods, sh opping, and park s on th e oth e r side
of th e Ark ansas R ive r. Th e route now conne cts m any
de stinations, such as th e conve ntion ce nte r, h ote ls,
tw o City H alls, th e h istoric Arge nta ne igh borh ood,
tw o m use um s, an am ph ith e ate r, and doze ns of office
buildings. Since th e be ginning of th e stre e tcar se rvice
in 2004 th e re h as be e n about $200 m illion in
de ve lopm e nt e ith e r constructe d or unde r
de ve lopm e nt along th e line (O h land and Potich a,
2006). Construction of a 1-m ile e xte nsion of th e
stre e tcar line be gan in 2006 in orde r to conne ct w ith
th e W illiam Je ffe rson Clinton Pre side ntial Library.
Tam pa, FL
Th e City of Tam pa h as a population of 322,539 , w ith a
m e tropolitan are a population of 2,566,263. Th e City
h as a 2.4-m ile vintage stre e tcar syste m th at w as
de ve lope d in orde r to conne ct and prom ote ne w
de ve lopm e nt in Ybor City, th e Ch anne lside and
Garrison Se aport D istricts, and th e Conve ntion
Ce nte r. Th e stre e tcar righ t-of-w ay is se parate from
th e surface stre e ts, so th e stre e tcar doe s not ope rate
w ith autom obile traffic. Since th e ince ption of th e
syste m in 2002, it is cre dite d w ith catalyzing $1 billion
in de ve lopm e nt w ith in th re e block s of th e line
(O h land and Potich a, 2006).
Little R ock , AR R ive r R ail Stre e tcar. Source : R oanok e Valle y Alle gh any R e gional Com m ission.
Roanok e Trolle y Econom ic Im pact Study
R oanok e Valle y Are a Me tropolitan Planning O rganization 7
Econom ic Im pact of Roanok e Trolle y
Th is se ction contains e stim ate s of th e e conom ic
im pact of th e construction and ope rating cost of th e
propose d R oanok e trolle y line and its pote ntial
im pact on re al e state de ve lopm e nt e ffe cts in th e
Je ffe rson Stre e t corridor. In 2004, W ilbur Sm ith
Associate s com ple te d th e R oanok e Vintage Trolle y
Conce ptual Analysis th at e xam ine d th e te ch nical and
financial fe asibility of a dow ntow n R oanok e trolle y
line on th e Je ffe rson Stre e t corridor. Th is study
e stim ate d th at th e capital cost of th e trolle y syste m
(including trolle y cars, rail line s, and a m ainte nance
facility) w ould be $16,9 75,750 and th e annual
ope rating costs w ould be $274,560.
IMPLAN Mode l
Th e e conom ic im pact of th e construction and
ope rating costs of th e propose d trolle y se rvice on
th e e conom y of th e R oanok e Me tropolitan Statistical
Are a (MSA) w as calculate d using IMPLAN, an
e conom ic im pact softw are pack age . To pe rform th is
analysis, a m ode l w as built using 2003 e conom ic and
e m ploym e nt data for th e Countie s of Bote tourt,
Craig, Frank lin and R oanok e and th e Citie s of
R oanok e and Sale m .
IMPLAN builds a m ode l of a re gion’s e conom y base d
on a varie ty of publicly available e conom ic data
source s. Inform ation re garding a pote ntial proje ct is
e nte re d into th e syste m and run th rough th e m ode l
to sim ulate th e “rounds of purch asing” th at occur
w h e n an e conom ic stim ulus is introduce d. IMPLAN
capture s e conom ic activity th at occurs dire ctly as a
re sult of th e proje ct, indire ctly as a re sult of th e
com pany purch asing goods and se rvice s from oth e r
com panie s w ith in th e study are a, and induce d
e conom ic activity, or spe nding of e m ploye e s on
typical h ouse h old goods and se rvice s.
All inputs w e re tak e n from th e R oanok e Vintage
Trolle y Conce ptual Analysis. Th e total capital budge t
for th e proje ct w as e stim ate d at $16,9 75,750 and w as
brok e n dow n into se ve ral subcate gorie s, w h ile th e
ope rating costs w e re e stim ate d to be $274,560
annually. A cursory e xam ination of th e budge t in th e
original fe asibility analysis sugge sts th at th e re are
se ve ral ite m s on th e budge t th at w ill lik e ly be
purch ase d outside of th e proje ct are a. Th e actual
trolle y ve h icle s and ce rtain tools and e quipm e nt w ill
lik e ly be m anufacture d e lse w h e re and re pre se nt an
obvious le ak age . Th e m ode l’s re gional purch ase
coe fficie nts w e re also use d on all se ctors to e stim ate
th e proportion of activity w ith in e ach spe cific
industry se ctor of dire ct im pact th at w ill occur
outside of th e proje ct are a. Th e se le ak age s, both
assum e d and e stim ate d by th e m ode l, are th e re asons
for th e discre pancy in th e total capital budge t and th e
dire ct im pact in th e table s.
Im pact of Trolle y Construction
Table 1 contains th e e stim ate d construction im pacts
upon th e R oanok e MSA’s e conom y. Th is is an im pact
e stim ate for th e e ntire construction proje ct from
start to finish and include s im pacts on sale s (output),
e m ploym e nt, labor incom e , and indire ct busine ss
taxe s (se e Glossary for de finitions of e ach cate gory).
Th e dire ct e m ploym e nt m ay appe ar de ce ptive ly large
for th e construction ph ase , h ow e ve r th e se jobs are
not ne ce ssarily full-tim e e quivale nts or pe rm ane nt,
and th e proje ct w ill support th e m at diffe re nt points
along th e construction tim e line .
Table I: Estim ate d Im pact of th e Construction of
th e Trolle y on Econom y of th e Roanok e MSA
Roanok e Trolle y Econom ic Im pact Study
R oanok e Valle y Are a Me tropolitan Planning O rganization 8
Table II: Estim ate d Im pact of th e O pe rations of
th e Trolle y on Econom y of th e Roanok e MSA
Im pact of Trolle y O pe rations
O nce ope rations com m e nce , it is calculate d th at
base d on th e e stim ate d $274,560 ope rating e xpe nse s
th e ne w trolle y proje ct w ill h ave an annual im pact of
$441,116 on th e e conom y of th e R oanok e MSA.
Table 2 bre ak s out e stim ate d im pacts on sale s
(output), e m ploym e nt, labor incom e , and indire ct
busine ss taxe s. Note th at th e im pact e stim ate s in
Table 2 are e stim ate d on an annual basis and th e jobs
supporte d in th e indire ct and induce d cate gorie s are
not ne ce ssarily ne w jobs and could re pre se nt e ith e r
full or part-tim e positions. Th e re fore , th e trolle y is
e stim ate d to h ave a $441,116 im pact on th e e conom y
e ach ye ar and support 7.4 jobs, including
approxim ate ly 6 e m ploye d dire ctly in support of th e
trolle y. In oth e r w ords, th e m ode l sim ply e stim ate s
th at sufficie nt additional de m and w ill be ge ne rate d by
th e trolle y to support ne arly 2 jobs e lse w h e re in th e
large r re gion’s e conom y. Indire ct busine ss taxe s
re pre se nt taxe s paid to th e fe de ral, state and local
le ve ls of gove rnm e nt by busine sse s e ngage d in various
‘rounds of spe nding.’ Th is include s fe de ral and state
incom e taxe s, m otor ve h icle lice nse s and pe rsonal
prope rty taxe s, prope rty tax, state and local sale s
taxe s, and oth e r fe e s/taxe s.
Im pact of Trolle y on Re al Estate Value s
As sh ow n in th e case re vie w se ction, w h e n stre e tcar
line s are coordinate d w ith oth e r e conom ic
de ve lopm e nt proje cts th e re can be a substantial
im pact on adjace nt prope rty value s and de ve lopm e nt.
Citie s w ith stre e tcar syste m s are also e xpe rie ncing
h igh e r de nsity de ve lopm e nt on prope rtie s in close
proxim ity to th e line . Along th e north e rn portion of
th e propose d Je ffe rson Stre e t Trolle y line , from Sale m
Ave nue dow n to Elm Ave nue , th e adjace nt prope rtie s
are large ly built-out, w ith le ss pote ntial for additional
de nsity. H ow e ve r, m any of th e se structure s are
unde rutilize d, w ith vacant store fronts and uppe r
storie s. South of Elm Ave nue , th e de ve lopm e nt
de nsity is m uch low e r and th e re are opportunitie s for
infill de ve lopm e nt or grayfie ld re de ve lopm e nt.
Since th e re is not a w e ll-e stablish e d m e th od to
e stim ate th e pote ntial im pact of a ne w trolle y line
re al e state , th is study e valuate s build-out sce narios
assum ing diffe re nt inte nsitie s of ne w de ve lopm e nt on
th e vacant prope rtie s dire ctly adjace nt to Je ffe rson
Stre e t. Th e sce narios assum e de ve lopm e nt at 10%,
25%, 75%, and 100% of th e prope rty’s pe rm itte d
de nsity, base d upon its curre nt zoning. Most of th e
prope rtie s are in th e D ow ntow n Z oning D istrict,
w h ich pe rm its a m axim um floor are a ratio (FAR ) of
15:1. Buildings in th is district can h ave a floor are a
th at is 15 tim e s large r th an th e are a of th e prope rty
on w h ich it is built. For e xam ple , if a building is
cove rs 100% of its lot, it can be a m axim um of 15
storie s tall base d on th e floor are a ratio standard.
Prope rtie s de ve lope d at 10% of th e FAR could be 1.5
story buildings cove ring all of th e prope rty or 3 story
buildings w ith a footprint h alf th e size of th e lot. At
25% FAR , th e buildings could be 3.75 storie s or 7
storie s, using th e sam e assum ptions. Pre se ntly,
th e ave rage FAR for all prope rtie s adjace nt to
Je ffe rson Stre e t is 2.42, or 16% of th e pe rm itte d FAR
of 15:1. Se e Table III for th e build-out analysis.
Roanok e Trolle y Econom ic Im pact Study
R oanok e Valle y Are a Me tropolitan Planning O rganization 9
Th e plans adopte d by th e City of R oanok e re lative to
th e Je ffe rson Stre e t Corridor and th e South Je ffe rson
R e de ve lopm e nt Are a all re com m e nd de ve lopm e nt of
urban ch aracte r and scale th at e xte nds th e
dow ntow n se rvice are a. Base d on th e se plans and
th e scale of de ve lopm e nt occurring in th e R ive rside
D e ve lopm e nt ce nte r, it is re asonable to proje ct th at
future infill de ve lopm e nt in th e corridor w ill be m ore
de nse th an th e curre nt m e an of 16% FAR , possibly as
h igh as 25% of th e pe rm itte d FAR . It is h ow e ve r
unlik e ly th at th e ave rage of th is de ve lopm e nt w ill
com e close to 50%-100% of th e FAR . Th e re fore , if
th e construction of th e trolle y line spurs ne w
de ve lopm e nt as it h as in oth e r U.S. citie s and is part
of oth e r com pre h e nsive im prove m e nt and
re de ve lopm e nt e fforts, th e re could be be tw e e n $31.5
m illion to $78.7 m illion of ne w construction along
Je ffe rson Stre e t, and $336,9 45 to $842,363 in annual
re al e state tax re ve nue to th e City.
Table III: Estim ate d Im pact of th e Trolle y on
Vacant Prope rtie s Along Je ffe rson Stre e t
Roanok e Trolle y Econom ic Im pact Study
R oanok e Valle y Are a Me tropolitan Planning O rganization 10
Conclusions
In th e R oanok e Vintage Trolle y Conce ptual Analysis,
th e capital and start-up cost of th e vintage trolle y line
w e re e stim ate d to be $16,9 75,750, w h ile th e annual
ope rating costs w e re e stim ate d to be $274,560. Th e
actual construction of th e R oanok e trolle y line is
e stim ate d to h ave a $16,9 80,302 one -tim e im pact on
th e R oanok e Me tropolitan Statistical Are a (MSA) and
produce approxim ate ly 180 jobs during th e
construction pe riod. Th e ongoing ope rations of th e
trolle y line are proje cte d to h ave a $441,116 annual
im pact on th e MSA (including th e annual ope rating
cost) and cre ate 7.4 pe rm ane nt jobs.
If, as in oth e r citie s th at h ave starte d stre e tcar
syste m s, th e R oanok e trolle y line catalyze s ne w land
de ve lopm e nt, th e re could be be tw e e n$31.5 m illion to
$78.7 m illion of ne w construction along Je ffe rson
Stre e t, and $336,9 45 to $842,363 in annual re al e state
tax re ve nue to th e City. Th is assum e s th at th e trolle y
proje ct is initiate d as a com pone nt of oth e r significant
e conom ic de ve lopm e nt e fforts in th e corridor.
Many trolle y proje cts in th e Unite d State s h ave be e n
funde d th rough a com bination of fe de ral, state , and
local gove rnm e nt funds and private partne rsh ips. If
th e City of R oanok e w e re to finance $8 m illion of th e
capital costs, base d on th e e stim ate s and assum ptions
in our study, it could re coup its initial inve stm e nt
th rough additional tax re ve nue in 9 to 23 ye ars,
de pe nding upon th e rate and inte nsity w ith w h ich
re de ve lopm e nt and ne w construction occur along th e
trolle y line . Furth e rm ore , if th e im pacts on re al
e state value s and de ve lopm e nt m ate rialize , as
e stim ate d in th is study, th e City could se e a 4.3% to
10.6% re turn on its inve stm e nt w ith in a sim ilar tim e
pe riod.
Th is study assum e s th at th e trolle y proje ct w ill be
initiate d as a com pone nt of oth e r significant
e conom ic de ve lopm e nt e fforts in th e corridor. It is
cle ar from th e case re vie w s th at trolle y and stre e tcar
syste m s can be an inte gral com pone nt in th e
re de ve lopm e nt of an are a or corridor. H ow e ve r due
to diffe ring de ve lopm e nt and de m ograph ic conditions,
it is it cannot be assure d th at th e e conom ic im pact of
a trolle y line in one city w ill be th e sam e in anoth e r.
Ne ve rth e le ss, th e conditions unde r w h ich a trolle y
syste m is lik e ly to succe ssfully initiate de ve lopm e nt or
re de ve lopm e nt is w ide ly re cognize d, such as:
• A m ix of attractors and produce rs of pe de strians
and a dive rse m ix of land use s.
• W alk able are as in close proxim ity to th e trolle y
line .
• O pportunitie s for re de ve lopm e nt, joint
de ve lopm e nt, and public/private partne rsh ips.
• Com ple m e nts e xisting or propose d e conom ic
de ve lopm e nt e fforts and is inte grate d into
de ve lopm e nt plans.
• R oute h as h igh visibility and runs th rough planne d
de ve lope d are as, not on th e pe riph e ry.
• Conne cts to oth e r transportation m ode s (bus,
rail, air, gre e nw ays, park -n-ride , e tc.).
• Planning for a com pact, h igh -de nsity, pe de strianfrie
ndly e nvironm e nt along th e route , such as
m ulti-fam ily de ve lopm e nts, m ixe d-use are as, re tail,
spe cial activity ce nte rs, and oth e r public use s.
Roanok e Trolle y Econom ic Im pact Study
R oanok e Valle y Are a Me tropolitan Planning O rganization 11
Glossary
D ire ct im pacts consist of pe rm ane nt jobs, w age s
and output of com pany ope rations, construction or
oth e r e conom ic activity be ing studie d.
Floor Are a Ratio is th e gross floor are a in square
fe e t of all buildings on a lot divide d by th e are a of
such lot in square fe e t.
Indire ct im pacts are th e jobs, w age s and output
cre ate d by busine sse s, w h ich provide goods and
se rvice s e sse ntial to th e construction of th e proje ct
or to th e com pany. Th e y are also re fe rre d to as
“supplie r” im pacts. Th e se busine sse s range from
m anufacture rs (w h o m ak e goods re late d to th e
proje ct activity) to w h ole sale rs (w h o de live r goods
re late d to th e proje ct) to janitorial firm s w h o cle an
th e buildings.
Induce d im pacts are th e re sult of spe nding of th e
w age s and salarie s from th e dire ct and indire ct
e m ploye e s on ite m s such as food, h ousing,
transportation and m e dical se rvice s. Th is spe nding
cre ate s induce d e m ploym e nt in ne arly all se ctors of
th e e conom y. Induce d im pacts are also com m only
re fe rre d to as “consum e r” im pacts.
Labor incom e or e arnings and w age s, re fe rs to th e
total w age and salary paym e nts as w e ll as be ne fits
including h e alth and life insurance , re tire m e nt
paym e nts and any oth e r such non-cash com pe nsation.
O utput, also re fe rre d to as sale s, re late s to th e gross
re ce ipts for goods and se rvice s ge ne rate d by th e
com pany’s ope rations. For re tail ope rations, sale s are
m argine d to account for le ak age since th e good sold
in m ost case s is not m anufacture d in th e sam e
com m unity. O nly re tail m argins are conside re d.
Total im pacts are th e sum of th e dire ct, indire ct and
induce d im pacts.
Roanok e Trolle y Econom ic Im pact Study
R oanok e Valle y Are a Me tropolitan Planning O rganization 12
Re fe re nce s
Am e rican Public Transit Association (APTA).
APTA Stre e tcar and H e ritage Trolle y Site .
R e trie ve d May 9 , 2007 from
h ttp://w w w .h e ritage trolle y.org/.
D alm as, Jam e s E (2006). Th e Stre e t R ailw ays of
R oanok e , Virginia 1887-19 48. R oanok e :
H istorical Socie ty of W e ste rn Virginia.
D uany Plate r-Z ybe rk & Com pany (2006). City
Mark e t D istrict Plan. R e trie ve d June 4, 2007
from h ttp://w w w .roanok e va.gov.
GEM Public Se ctor Se rvice s (2004). D ayton
Aviation H e ritage Stre e t Car Syste m
Econom ic Im pact Study. R e trie ve d
April 13, 2007 from
h ttp://docs.m vrpc.org/dah c/Econom ic_ Im pa
ct_ Analysis.pdf.
Norfolk South e rn Corporation. Norfolk South e rn
H istory. R e trie ve d April 25, 2007 from
h ttp://w w w .nscorp.com /nscportal/nscorp/Co
m m unity/NS%20H istory/.
O h land, Gloria, and Sh e lle y Potich a, e ds. Stre e t
Sm art: Stre e tcars and Citie s in th e Tw e nty-
First Ce ntury. O ak land: R e conne cting
Am e rica, 2006.
Portland Stre e tcar, Inc (2006). Portland Stre e tcar
D e ve lopm e nt O rie nte d Transit. R e trie ve d
May 3, 2007 from
h ttp://w w w .portlandstre e tcar.org/pdf/de ve lo
pm e nt.pdf.
R oanok e R e de ve lopm e nt and H ousing Auth ority
(2001). R e de ve lopm e nt Plan: South
Je ffe rson R e de ve lopm e nt Are a. R e trie ve d
June 4, 2007 from
h ttp://w w w .iam rrh a.org/re de ve lopm e nt/doc
um e nts/south je ffe rsonre de ve lplan.pdf.
W ilbur Sm ith Associate s and Lom arado Group
(2004). R oanok e Vintage Trolle y Conce ptual
Analysis. R e trie ve d April 25, 2007 from
h ttp://w w w .rvarc.org/w ork /trolle yanalysis.pdf.

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