The Center for Neighborhood Technology has published a new report titled Penny Wise, Pound Fuelish – New Measures of Housing + Transportation Affordability that serves as a guide for their Housing + Transportation Affordability Index. From the executive summary:
Penny Wise, Pound Fuelish serves as a guide to CNT’s H+T Index, which
includes 337 U.S. metropolitan regions. The Index demonstrates that the way in which urban regions have grown in the last half century has had negative consequences for many Americans:
- The number of communities considered affordable drops dramatically in most regions when the definition of affordability shifts from a focus on housing costs alone to one that includes housing and transportation costs;
- Families who pursue a “drive ‘til you qualify” approach to home ownership in an effort to reduce expenses often pay more in higher transportation costs than they save on housing thereby placing more, not less, stress on their budgets;
- Residents of “drive ‘til you qualify” zones are most sensitive to jumps in gas prices because of the distances they must drive; and
- The longer distances associated with sprawl also translate into more congestion on our highways, less leisure time with families as workers spend more time in their cars getting to and from jobs, and higher greenhouse gas emissions.
The Index reveals that communities with lower housing and transportation costs hark back to
development patterns of the 19th and early 20th centuries with more compact construction and a blend of housing, jobs, stores and transit all within walking distance.
[Hat tip to Rob at the Recumbent Blog]