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Retail Change and Light Rail: an Exploration of Business Location Changes Accompanying Commuter Rail Development in Denton County, Texas

Description: Within the past few decades, commuter rail routes in several major metropolitan areas have been implemented to provide an alternative to automobile transportation. Urban planners in these cities are looking to commuter rail to mitigate congestion and pollution. However, research on the impacts of commuter rail development on the surrounding retail landscape is still needed. In metropolitan Dallas-Fort Worth, the Denton County Transportation Authority recently opened its new A-Train light rail service linking suburban Denton and downtown Dallas. This thesis examines urban changes that occurred in the years before and after the A-Train line's 2011 opening, with a focus on restaurant and retail development in the vicinity of the A-Train stations in Denton County. This analysis evaluates changes in retail density and type, the population surrounding stations, and municipal initiatives that shape the retail landscape of station vicinities. This was done by gathering field data, retailer listings, population data, and conducting interviews with local businesses and city planners. The findings suggest that A-train stations have had a differential impact on the surrounding landscape, depending on the existing retail landscape, the types of retailers present, and the current state of municipal infrastructure that promotes accessibility. Overall, results suggest that urban planners play a vital role in harnessing the potential of commuter rail to promote nearby retail growth.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Yarbrough, Trevor S.
Partner: UNT Libraries
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