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Transit-oriented development, or TOD, could be the “poster child” for sustainable urban development. It concentrates land uses, including commercial and multi-family housing, near transit stations so as to reduce car dependency and increase ridership. The benefits are manifold; increased community health, positive economic impacts, less harm to the environment and potentially greater social equity.

But what about affordability? In exchange for all these benefits, do TOD residents spend more money on transportation?

A new NITC study compared TOD with transit-adjacent development, also known as TAD; another form of urban grown that is sometimes almost-affectionately referred to as TOD’s evil twin.

Researchers Brenda Scheer, Reid Ewing, Keunhyun Park and Shabnam Sifat Ara Khan of the University of Utah sought to answer three research questions. First of all, they wanted to establish clear criteria for how to tell TOD and TAD...

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New transit service often spurs new development. As transit makes an area more accessible, it becomes a more attractive place for investors to build.

This new investment, however, can create serious housing problems for the very residents who depend most on transit: lower-income households and people of color.

The latest report from the NITC program, from a research effort led by Lisa Bates and Aaron Golub of Portland State University, studies the intended and unintended costs and benefits of a new transit investment on the diverse communities of East Portland, Oregon; many already under stress from existing development and gentrification pressures.

The report, Planning Ahead for Livable Communities Along the Powell-Division BRT: Neighborhood Conditions and Change, offers an analysis of the planning of a new transit infrastructure project in Portland, crossing several neighborhoods in different stages of gentrification along the Powell-Division corridor. Public transit use for commuting is higher in the study corridor than in surrounding areas, and car ownership in the...

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Event Date:
Mar 04, 2016
Content Type: Professional Development Event

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Transportation costs are typically a household’s second largest expense after housing. Low income households are especially burdened by transportation costs, with low income households spending up to two times as much of their income on transportation than higher income households (Litman, 2013).

Thus, access to location efficient housing is especially important to low income households, including those who use a housing voucher to help pay for housing costs.

This seminar presents the results of a two-year project supported by the Portland region's four public housing authorities to design and test tools to help people with housing vouchers find location efficient housing. We examine the challenges that residents faced and discuss policy implications.

...

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Event Date:
May 21, 2015
Content Type: Professional Development Event

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This webinar reports findings from a NITC study which assessed the affordability of HUD rental assistance properties from the standpoint of transportation costs. HUD housing is, by definition, affordable from the standpoint of housing costs; there are limits on the amounts renters can be required to pay. However, there are no such limitations on transportation costs, and common sense suggests that renters in remote locations may be forced to pay more than 15 percent of income, a nominal affordability standard, for transportation costs.

Using household travel models estimated with data from 15 diverse regions around the U.S., researchers estimated and summed automobile capital costs, automobile operating costs, and transit fare costs for households at more than 18,000 HUD rental assistance properties. The mean percentage of income expended on transportation is 15 percent for households at the high end of the eligible income scale. However, in highly sprawling metropolitan areas, and in suburban areas of more compact metropolitan areas, much higher percentages of households exceed the 15 percent threshold....

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A daylong conference Thursday in Salem focused on the ties between transportation and affordable housing. While not sponsored by OTREC, the conference dovetails with an OTREC theme, the intersection of land use and transportation.

Called "The Road Home: The Intersection of Transportation and Affordable Housing," the conference was sponsored by Housing Land Advocates, AARP and the Willamette University College of Law. Speakers tackled topics including transit-oriented development, land-use and transportation policies that spur the development of affordable housing, transportation agencies' civil rights obligations and climate change.

Although much of the discussion revolved around metro areas, one panel also addressed rural concerns. Sometimes simple solutions for small-town problems get overlooked, said panelist Travis Brouwer, senior federal affairs advisor with the Oregon Department of Transportation. Improving a local trail system can allow town residents to run errands without needing a personal vehicle, Brouwer said. Adding at least occasional bus service to the nearest large town can help residents go car-free, said Mary Kyle McCurdy, staff attorney for advocacy group 1000 Friends of Oregon.

The conference follows the...

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