The traditional measure of housing affordability used by planners and lenders states that a household should spend no more than 30 percent of its income on housing. In contrast, the new Housing and Transportation Affordability Index takes into account not just the cost of housing, but housing and the transportation costs associated with its location. A collaborative project between Brookings Urban Markets Initiative and the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT), this interactive web tool allows individuals, urban planners, transportation and housing advocates to calculate the cost of housing and transportation by neighborhood in 52 metropolitan areas across the United States.
The Center for Neighborhood Technology’s research shows that the cost of transportation can vary from 14 percent of the average household’s budget in compact transit-rich communities, to 28 percent or more in less dense areas far from employment and other amenities. Working families have a greater burden – for some, transportation costs may approach 50 percent of their household income. With better information on the combined costs of housing and transportation, families can have a better understanding of how transportation costs will affect their budget even if their housing seems more affordable.
At this event Dr. Peter Haas, PhD, of CNT provided a demonstration of the new website followed by a panel discussion on the policy challenges to transit-oriented development.