Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


In an effort to increase sustainability, reduce vehicular congestion, revitalize neighborhoods, and lower pollution from automobiles, Phoenix, Arizona launched the Valley Metro Light Rail system in December of 2008. The purpose of this investigation was to assess the environmental, social, and economic impacts as related to sustainability of the Valley Metro Light Rail system. In this qualitative case study of Phoenix sustainability and light rail policy subsystem, the researchers conducted semi-structured expert interviews with government officials and other policy-makers, non-government organizations, neighborhood and citizen associations, and other advisory bodies to understand and analyze the communities served by the light rail system. Key findings from interviews and research indicate that the light rail system has made significant positive impacts on environmental quality, economic prosperity, and the livability in areas which it serves. Plans for expansion of the system currently include areas along Central Avenue through the community known collectively as, “South Phoenix.” Conflicting views of the proposed extension, and potential far-reaching, unintended consequences of its approved configuration, were examined and incorporated into the research.