Center for Neighborhood Technology to Provide Its Innovative Transportation Cost Data to Walk Score

CHICAGO (August 16, 2010)—The Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) announced today that it is providing its ground-breaking transportation cost information to the popular website WalkScore.com.

Walk Score, which allows users to obtain a “walkability” rating for a specific location based on the number of nearby amenities, is using data from CNT’s Housing + Transportation Affordability Index (H+TSM Index) to give its users a sense of transportation costs and environmental impact for a neighborhood . CNT’s H+T Index is the nation’s most comprehensive assessment of household transportation costs by location.

“The time and money spent commuting is lost forever,” said Josh Herst, CEO of Walk Score. “By incorporating CNT’s Housing + Transportation Index into our commute reports, we are increasing the transparency of transportation costs and empowering people to make more informed decisions about where they live and work.”

The H+T Index presents housing and transportation cost data for neighborhoods in 337 metro areas, enabling users to compare the relative costs of communities within a region. The H+T Index is a robust transportation model that quantifies household transportation costs using census data, residential density, transit access, employment proximity, and block size. Importantly, the H+T Index illustrates how choosing to live in walkable, transit-connected neighborhood can lower household expenses and one’s impact on the environment.

“When choosing where to live, the housing costs of a neighborhood are readily available, but the costs of getting around are hidden,” said Scott Bernstein, president of CNT. “Our data reveals a neighborhood’s hidden transportation costs and gives people a much better sense of a community’s affordability.”

CNT is making its transportation cost data available through an application programming interface (API), which allows partner sites, such as Walk Score, to integrate average transportation costs and carbon impact with their own content.

“We’re pleased to have Walk Score as our first API partner,” said Linda Young, CNT’s research director. “People need a complete picture of affordability when making important decisions about where to live, and CNT is excited to work with other groups to disseminate this information as far and wide as possible.”

The API provides a link to CNT’s new consumer-oriented website Abogo (Abogo.cnt.org). A combination of the words “abode” and “go,” Abogo allows users to type in an address and find the average transportation costs for a typical household living at that location. Transportation costs include car ownership, gas and transit expenses.

CNT’s H+T research on housing affordability has implications for the nation. Based on a traditional definition of housing affordability — households spend 30 percent or less of their income on housing — seven out of 10 U.S. communities are considered “affordable” for the typical household. But when the definition is expanded to include housing and transportation costs — households spend 45 percent or less of their income on the two expenses — only four in 10 communities are affordable to households earning the area median income. CNT’s data allows users to locate communities that fit their housing and transportation budget.

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About CNT: Founded in 1978, CNT is a Chicago-based think-and do tank that works nationally to advance urban sustainability by researching, inventing and testing strategies that use resources more efficiently and equitably. Its programs focus on climate, energy, natural resources, transportation, and community development. CNT is one of eight nonprofits selected from around the world to be recognized by a 2009 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Visit www.cnt.org for more information

About Walk Score: Walk Score is the flagship product of Front Seat, a civic software company based in Seattle, WA. Walk Score rates any address based on its proximity to nearby amenities (grocery stores, restaurants, schools, public transit, etc.) and promotes walkable neighborhoods for their economic, environmental and health benefits. Walk Score delivers 3 million scores per day across a network of over 4,000 Websites. According to independent research conducted by CEOs for Cities, one point of Walk Score is worth as much as $3,000 in home value. Visit www.walkscore.com for more information.