SEPTA Drives the Economy of Pennsylvania

In 2018, ESI completed an Economic Impact Study for Pennsylvania’s largest transit authority, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA). Our report is timely as the agency faces significant budget pressures, with looming changes of the contribution of Pennsylvania Turnpike revenues to state transit funding, along with increasing demands on capacity due to aging infrastructure and regional growth.

As a large-scale employer, SEPTA is also a major economic driver through its operating and capital expenditures, generating an annual economic impact in excess of $3 billion. More importantly, SEPTA’s transit service enables the efficient functioning of the regional economy and shapes development patterns.

One way in which this value manifests is in the housing value premium enjoyed by suburban residents living near rail stations, which estimated through hedonic regression modeling, totals $14.5 billion. ESI developed interactive mapping to demonstrate the positive effects that SEPTA’s regional rail stations have on home values throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania.

The report reveals the significance of the agency to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the southeast region of the state. Using economic, demographic, and fiscal data, ESI quantified the outsized contribution of the southeast region to the Commonwealth’s economy and tax base. Then, using economic and spatial analysis techniques, ESI demonstrated how SEPTA’s service is a key driver of regional economic activity, growth, and development.

SEPTA Drives the Economy Cover
Access to SEPTA service contributes a premium of $33 billion in housing value, representing 11% of total housing value in Southeastern PA.
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