During the industrial revolution, trains enabled expansion into the western regions of the continent. Wherever a train station appeared, economic expansion flourished. Local businesses (saloons, hotels, general stores) blossomed to support the increased flow of people and goods. Populations grew with the availability of food and work provided by the rail. Factories arose with a fresh supply of labor and an ability to easily receive raw materials and ship finished goods. Siting a rail station alone created economic activity, but supported new business growth many times the impact of the rail operation alone (Corrick, J., 1998, “The Industrial Revolution”).
Fast forward to more current times, light rail operations are facilitating similar economic growth. When a passenger station is positioned, far more than the economic activity associated with the design and construction of the rail station transit hub is realized. Local businesses flourish such as coffee shops, newsstands, housing developments and all the services associated with an increased residential presence. Given the economic advantages, tax incentives and other considerations are typically promoted to attract these hubs recognizing that villages appear and prosper growing the respective tax base (Gertler, P., 2009, “Trains and the City”, Forbes Magazine).
Today, industrial-age railway stops are replaced by information-age digital hubs where information is the cargo loaded/unloaded from the transportation system (Nelson, D., 2013, ebay). Increased economic activity in locations where information hubs (data centers) are commissioned is similarly witnessed. Spending promoted by the design and construction of data centers alone is substantial, but more impressive is an associated increase in business velocity supporting those data centers. Massive Internet companies are attracted to the region to better serve a local population hungry for the amenities afforded by the largest public network in history (the transportation system for information). Trades arise supporting the electrical, mechanical and information technology assets housed within data centers. Businesses requiring low network latency associated with a proximity to Internet exchanges position themselves close to data centers as do telecommunication carriers. As is the case for light rail transit hubs, governmental tax incentives and other considerations are considered to encourage the placement of data centers in their respective economic zones to bolster the existing tax base and drive prosperity for everyone. History has proven it only makes sense.