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Public Transit Is Worth Way More to a City Than You Might Think

A new report finds a hidden economic value of anywhere from $1.5 million to $1.8 billion a year.
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Planning scholar Daniel Chatman of the University of California at Berkeley has been thinking a lot lately about "agglomeration." Don't let the technical word throw you. All it really means is more people in the same place. As more people collect in a city center, more jobs cluster there too, boosting both wages and economic productivity over time. And the key to it all, he believes, may be public transportation.

"To me it's fascinating," says Chatman. "It's all about how people interact with each other. This is what could be happening by virtue of this densification near transit stops, which could happen from investments that draw people to use transit."