Tuesday, August 30th, 2011
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) just announced that it has awarded a two-year contract to Manhattan Strategies Group (MSG) and subcontractor CNT to create a national housing and transportation affordability index.
“Affordability is much more than just paying the mortgage, it involves other costs like transportation, gas, and utilities,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan in a press release. “The availability of a national affordability index will provide consumers better information about the true costs of a home by accounting for that housing’s proximity to jobs, schools and other services. Our goal with the creation of this housing and transportation index is to provide American families with a tool that can help them save money and have a better understanding of their expenses and household budget.”
As a subcontractor, CNT will use its years of experience in creating the Housing + Transportation (H+T®) Affordability Index (and Abogo®) to assist MSG and HUD in exploring how the agency can incorporate this sort of metric into its work.
Click here to read the HUD press release in full.
Monday, August 29th, 2011
For a limited time, Cook County employers are still eligible to receive up to $1,700 for enrolling employees in a pre-tax transit benefit program. The transit benefits program allows employees to buy transit fare (Metra, Pace, CTA) before their paycheck is taxed, reducing their taxable income and saving up to $400 a year without costing their employers a dime.
But what can $1,700 really do for a company? Not much, right? Actually, $1,700 gets you:
The incentive program is ending soon, so companies are encouraged to act quickly to take advantage of the program. To sign up, visit http://lesstaxingcommute.com or email James Drew at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Monday, August 22nd, 2011
Maybe you’ve heard of I-GO Car Sharing. Did you know I-GO® is an affiliate of CNT? Read all about Chicago’s non-profit car-sharing organization in this profile of I-GO CEO Sharon Feigon in today’s Chicago Tribune. I-GO is a perfect example of what CNT is all about: identifying ideas that can cut costs and environmental impact, testing those ideas in the real world, and bringing them to scale. Read more »
Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011
The District of Columbia’s Office of Planning and CNT have released a new study that customizes CNT’s H+T Index with localized data to examine how neighborhood characteristics across the region affect household transportation costs. The CNT study found that average household transportation costs in the DC region ranged from $8,500 to as much as $25,000 per year for a typical household. Actual costs can be even lower when the neighborhood enables the residents to live without owning a car. Read more »
Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011
WASHINGTON, DC (Aug. 3, 2011)–The DC Office of Planning (OP) in cooperation with the Chicago-based Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) released H+T in DC: Housing + Transportation Affordability in Washington, DC, a report that investigates how neighborhood characteristics such as proximity to jobs and access to transit vary across the region and affect household transportation costs.
The study found that average household transportation costs across the region ranged from $8,500 to as much as $25,000 per year for a typical household. Actual costs can be even lower when the neighborhood enables the residents to live without owning a car.
“Everyone knows that the cost of housing varies across neighborhoods throughout the region,” says Harriet Tregoning, Director of the Office of Planning. “But fewer people recognize the extent to which transportation costs vary by location and affect real affordability.”
The DC study is based on CNT’s Housing + Transportation (H+T®) Affordability Index, which uses US Census data to examine how neighborhood and household characteristics affect transportation costs such as car ownership and transit use. Since 2006, CNT has applied the H+T Index model to 337 U.S. metro regions. CNT will update the Index later this year using the most recent American Community Survey data from the Census Bureau.
For the DC study, OP worked with CNT to update regional data to reflect changes in housing costs and gas prices and improve the regional transit data and land use information. The Index holds household variables such as income and number of commuters constant to show how the built environment influences transportation costs. In doing so, the study highlights how land use planning decisions such as creating mixed-use developments and adding transit stops or streetcar lines would affect household transportation costs for a neighborhood.
The study fits into the goals of the Region Forward report by the Greater Washington 2050 Coalition of public, private and civic leaders. Region Forward sets a goal that average household housing and transportation cost in major job centers will not exceed 45 percent of the area median income.
“Our years of research show that transportation costs are a significant part of a household budget—sometimes exceeding housing expenses—and those costs vary significantly depending on where a person lives,” said Peter Haas, Chief Research Scientist for CNT. “Places that are ‘location efficient’, which offer multiple transportation options and access to amenities, tend to have low transportation costs. This helps residents be more economically resilient, and enables them to better weather economic adversity.”
“In the end, this is the big question,” says Harriet Tregoning. “How can we grow the region and become more resilient to economic ups and downs—whether it’s a credit crisis or volatile fuel prices? The Region Forward Coalition is working on this right now and this report, and the data behind it, will help inform the discussion.”
“We are at a critical time for the region,” says Dave Robertson, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. “We need to address the market pressures around our transit stations that force low-income families away from transit and develop a regional plan to channel growth around our transit investments that creates complete communities.”
Download the report at
Linda Wharton Boyd (EOM)
Tanya Washington-Stern (OP)
Emily Robinson, Center for Neighborhood Technology