2014 was a big year for CNT. We brought our groundbreaking tools and research to cities across the country, from San Francisco to Memphis to Baton Rouge. We also launched a campaign to expand transit in Cook County, Illinois and an innovative new program to help communities stay dry in the face of urban flooding.
Here are a few highlights from 2014:
1. GHG analysis: Conducted analysis for California affordable housing advocacy groups that found building affordable housing near transit significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, the state approved an initial $65 million for development of affordable homes near transit, and a full 10% of cap-and-trade revenue, expected to reach $5 billion a year, will be allocated to help struggling California families affordably live closer to transit, jobs, and other amenities.
2. Eliminating poverty: Designed economic development strategies for Memphis Mayor A C Wharton’s Blueprint for Prosperity, which aims to reduce poverty in Memphis by 10% in ten years.
3. Parking calculator: Constructed the Green TRIP Parking Database for the Bay Area, which found that parking exceeded need by roughly 30% in areas well served by transit. The construction of all of these unused spaces cost $139,352,200.
4. Location affordability: Capped off a three-year project to develop the Location Affordability Index and related website tools for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), providing a new measure of affordability for use by federal agencies HUD and DOT that combines housing and transportation costs.
5. Transit expansion: Launched the Transit Future campaign, a bold plan to expand and improve public transit in Cook County. Both Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle spoke in support of Transit Future at the campaign launch event.
6. Transit Deserts: Released a research report on Transit Deserts in Cook County, which found that 10% of Cook County residents face restricted mobility and limited access to the region’s jobs and amenities. The report was featured in a full-page feature story in the Chicago Tribune.
7. Affordable housing: Released Quality of Life, (e)Quality of Place, a guidebook co-written with Open Communities on creating mixed-income transit-oriented developments in Chicago’s northern suburbs.
8. Freight research: Began work on a multi-year initiative to identify urban freight investment opportunities, develop them, and promote them in select regions to capture long-term value. Through research on freight trends in Memphis, TN; Columbus, OH; and New Orleans-Baton Rouge, LA, CNT identified key metrics to track trends and promoted adoption of new methods and technologies that will guide public planning and investment in cargo-oriented development.
9. Transit task force: Governor Pat Quinn appointed CNT’s CEO Kathryn Tholin to the Northeastern Illinois Public Transit Task Force in 2013, and in 2014 Kathy chaired the Task Force’s Performance Committee, which developed recommendations for creating a 21st century transit system.
10. Housing and transportation: We applied H+T Affordability Index analysis to initiatives throughout the country, including a transit study in Madison, WI; a compilation of development scenarios in Knoxville, TN; a foreclosure analysis in the Twin Cities; and an examination of household cost of living in Memphis.
11. RainReady: Launched the RainReadySM initiative, a comprehensive program promoting urban flooding awareness and offering solutions for homeowners and communities.
12. Fighting flooding: Established partnerships with government agencies to provide expertise to the RainReady pilot communities. Partners include the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Weather Service, and U.S. Geological Survey.
13. Stormwater policy: Led the effort to advocate for the Illinois Urban Flooding Awareness Act (SB 2966), which was passed unanimously by the Illinois General Assembly in May 2014. The federal version of the Urban Flooding Awareness Act (HR 5521) was introduced to Congress in September by Representatives Mike Quigley (D-IL) and Peter King (R-NY).
14. Water loss: Released a series of case studies on water loss management best practices from around the country and worked with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to lead water loss auditing trainings and webinars.
15. Thought leadership: Had our work and ideas featured in CNN Money, Wall Street Journal, NPR, Washington Post, MSN Money, Chicago Tribune, Crain’s Chicago Business, and other local, regional, and national publications.