Monday, August 23rd, 2010
A new report by the Grand Rapids Area Coalition to End Homelessness uses CNT’s Housing + Transportation Affordability Index (H+TSM Index) data to illustrate the dearth of affordable housing in the region. The report, part of the coalition’s decade-long plan to end homelessness, aims to re-shape how leaders in and around Grand Rapids, Michigan, think about and address homelessness.
Highlighting the impact of transportation costs on affordability, the report incorporates CNT’s first ever rural analysis of housing and transportation costs for Grand Rapids and eight nearby counties, including Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Kent, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, and Ottawa. Read more »
Monday, August 16th, 2010
The popular website that gives you a score based on the walkability of your neighborhood will now include CNT’s ground-breaking transportation cost information to its suite of consumer-oriented tools.
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 to provide a better sense of the transportation costs and environmental impact for a neighborhood. Adding the H+T Index to Walkscore will further illustrate how choosing to live in walkable, transit-connected neighborhood can lower household expenses and one’s impact on the environment. Read more »
Monday, August 16th, 2010
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.
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.
Wednesday, August 11th, 2010
Money Magazine's "best places to live" cover story fails to take into account the cost of transportation.
Money magazine’s “100 Best Places to Live in America” is the most recent, high-profile example of how we need to re-think our definition of affordability when it comes to where we live. A quick scan of the communities that topped Money’s list suggests the magazine didn’t consider the cost of transportation in making their selections. Many of the places — suburban Minneapolis, suburban Baltimore, suburban Dallas, — are low-density, outer-ring suburbs that lack transit options and require households to drive most places and own several cars.
Like the Money article, many of us fall into the trap of thinking affordability boils down to the cost of our mortgage or rent payments. That encourages a “drive ‘til you qualify” mentality, where home-hunters pass over city neighborhoods or inner-ring suburbs and choose to live in outer-ring communities where housing is cheaper. However, these people soon learn that their new community is not as affordable as they thought, finding themselves stuck behind the wheel to get to work, school and the grocery store. Read more »
Wednesday, August 11th, 2010
Now that Congress has failed to pass strong climate legislation this year, the Obama Administration has the opportunity to demonstrate its leadership and re-tool its role in supporting state and local governments in creating better solutions to address climate change.
To respond to this missed opportunity at enacting a comprehensive climate policy, the Presidential Climate Action Project (PCAP) has drafted a fresh list of recommendations that President Obama can implement in the near term. As PCAP Executive Director William Becker, put it, “Congress has passed the ball back to President Obama. He should run with it.” Read more »
Thursday, August 5th, 2010
A partnership between HUD, DOT, EPA. Secretaries Shaun Donovan, Ray LaHood, Lisa Jackson, respectively. Photo: EPA
The U.S. Senate Banking Committee, chaired by Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), approved the Livable Communities Act on August 3. The legislation would create an Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities to encourage comprehensive regional planning and sustainable development by breaking down federal agency and department barriers.
The Livable Communities Act would strengthen communities and increase housing affordability for families by encouraging sustainable development. Grant money made available through the legislation, for instance, would fund projects that prioritize vibrant downtown business districts within walking distance of homes and transit stops, brownfield redevelopment in struggling industrial areas, and public transit options to reduce household transportation costs—the second highest expense for Americans after housing. Read more »