A long disputed issue in transportation planning and policy is whether fixed rail transportation has an impact on land use. Specifically, the issue is whether proximity to fixed rail stations has an appreciable impact on the value of the land and structures surrounding it. Land values are typically an important determinate of land use. When values rise, vacant land becomes ripe for development. When land values further increase, the number of land sales and intensity of development tends to increase. Land values not only influence how land is used but also how desirable particular area is, crime rates, poverty, quality of education and ultimately quality of life. In aggregate, each of these factors alters the movement of people and business which induces changes in location decisions. Land value is such an important factor that is has the power to shape the entire urban structure.
Many factors influence changes in land values, some of which are obvious and well studied; others are more abstract and difficult to measure. The goal of this study is to determine the amount of value added to land values by proximity to MARTA rail stations in the Atlanta Region. To determine the level of influence MARTA rail service has on the value of land and the overall impact on urban structure in the Atlanta region a mixture of qualitative and quantitative analysis will be used based on historical data.