Raised Medians and Economic Impact on Adjacent Businesses

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Abstract:

The use of raised medians in urban areas has increased in recent years. Raised medians restrict access to businesses along a corridor by limiting turning movements to select mid-block locations. Therefore, a very common remark at public hearings related to the construction of raised medians is that there will be detrimental economic impacts on adjacent businesses. However, the restricted access allows more efficient signalization and traffic flow along the corridor, potentially providing more customers for the businesses. Although many studies on the effect on traffic operations exist, little research is available on the economic impact from raised medians on adjacent businesses and properties. The authors of this paper have completed three years of work on this project by developing and testing methodologies to collect and analyze data related to the economic impact of raised medians on adjacent businesses for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). This paper summarizes the findings of key economic indicators, as well as perceptions of business owners and managers. The research has found that installation of a raised median does not equate to economic losses by adjacent businesses. In fact, only two types of businesses (auto repair shops and gas stations) were found to generally experience losses in gross revenues. In almost all cases, employment increased in businesses surveyed. This research is anticipated to be valuable for transportation professionals in both the public and private sectors who must provide estimates and expectations of the economic impacts of raised medians. 

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