Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Gallaher, Courtney M.

Second Advisor

Lenczewski, Melissa

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment


The Maya Train Project (MTP) is a new national megaproject in Mexico, meant to connect the perimeter of the Yucatan Peninsula, and facilitate easier transportation for tourism, industry, and agriculture. Given the region’s dependence on tourism, the train will accelerate the growth, as well as the social and environmental impacts of tourism in the region. Globally, the tourism industry has resulted in inequitable social and environmental impacts for the local communities and there is concern that this new Maya Train Project will serve to accelerate uneven development in the region. This project focused on the coastal tourist city of Puerto Morelos, which is a small town in the state of Quintana Roo, about half an hour south of highly urbanized Cancún city. This project used surveys, qualitative interviews with residents and key informants to understand the potential impact of the MTP on Puerto Morelos. Results demonstrate that residents in Puerto Morelos have a higher risk perception for ecological risks than other environmental risks. Residents do not have a higher risk perception for a specific social impact. Current infrastructure and services seemed to be limited, and residents have a history of mistrusting the local government to make decisions that are not in the interest of residents. These individuals perceived that the Maya Train may exacerbate these existing issues. Findings from this project demonstrate the need to consider diverse impacts on local communities to sustainably plan major infrastructure projects.


90 pages




Northern Illinois University

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