Transit Value Capture Coordination: Case Studies, Best Practices, and Recommendations

ValueCapture_Final-390x244This study is based on the hypothesis that coordination between transit capital planners, municipal taxation authorities, and private developers and stakeholders can be a benefit to transit capital projects that choose to use value capture as a funding mechanism. Value capture is the means by which the increase in property or other values is tied to investments in infrastructure and other amenities and, through taxation or other agreements beneficiaries of the increase in property value help fund the improvements.

The research team engaged in case studies of projects in Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Washington D.C. to observe how coordination between the relevant parties is conducted and, from the information gathered, a series of conclusions, best practices and recommendations were compiled. It is the conclusion of this study that in order for coordination of value capture mechanisms to be effective there must be a focus on both ingrained staff knowledge in the public sector as well as unique organizational attributes in the municipal and transit organizations that interface with private developers.

Principal Investigator(s):

Stephen E. Schlickman


Stephen E. Schlickman
Jordan Snow (corresponding author)
Janet Smith
Yittayih Zelalem
Tom Bothen




The project focuses on the largest and oldest rail systems in the nation, which also have the greatest national share of the backlog of unfunded transit capital needs. These systems have been encouraged by the Federal Transit Administration to utilize value capture financing to address those  needs. Through a process of preliminary interviews with staff at many old rail transit agencies the list of suitable cities with experience in coordinating value capture was narrowed down to San Francisco,  Washington DC, and New York City. In addition to these three cities, Chicago was chosen to be a comparative example of where there is great potential for value capture to be used more extensively.


The hypothesis of this study is that transit authorities who have a significant degree of success with value  capture funding (funding mechanisms by which the increase in land value associated with infrastructure and other improvements are harnessed to generate revenue for said improvements) also have a good working relationship with their local municipal taxing authorities and the private development  community. To establish this theory, a case study approach is utilized to analyze good examples of transit  value capture.

Expected Results or Products:

Each following case study section will briefly outline the current makeup and condition of the city’s transit system including any direct and indirect connections between the transit agency and the local taxing authorities. From that point a single exemplary project is described covering its history, relation to the rest of the transit system, and sources of funding. Then an account is provided of how transit capital planners, taxing authorities, and private developers coordinated to secure funding outside of typical sources. Further, any ongoing commitments to coordination as evidenced by public releases, reporting documents, as well as this research group’s conversations with stakeholders will be described and assessed.

The research team is working on a second phase of value capture research that will focus on a broader survey of transit projects.

Watch a video featuring principal investigator Steve Schlickman during a presentation hosted by the US DOT Office of the Secretary for Research and Technology.


Download the report


Stephen E. Schlickman
Urban Transportation Center
University of Illinois at Chicago
412 South Peoria Street, Suite 340
Chicago, IL 60607
Voice: (312) 355-3656
Fax: (312) 413-0006


Center for Urban Transportation Research, University of South Florida

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