This report presents the replication of an MTI study conducted in 2001 by Peter Haas and Richard Werbel.1 That research, itself a continuation of an earlier project completed in 2000,2 included an analysis of transportation tax elections in 11 urban areas across the nation and culminated in the identification of 17 community-level factors with potential impact on the success of ballot measures for sales tax increases to fund transportation packages with substantial rail components. Many of the 17 factors identified in the research were moderately to strongly associated with electoral success and failure of transit tax initiatives. Among the key findings from the original (2001) report were:
Passing transit initiatives in communities featuring transit agencies of questionable reputations, in those fielding credible opposition, or those lacking a traffic congestion “crisis” is extremely difficult;
Achieving consensus support from business community leaders, elected…
An analysis of data from 371 transit providers in the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas
n Nearly 70 percent of large metropolitan residents live in neighborhoods with access to transit service of some kind. Transit coverage is highest in Western metro areas such as Honolulu and Los Angeles, and lowest in Southern metro areas such as Chattanooga and Greenville. Regardless of region, residents of cities and lower-income neighborhoods have better access to transit than residents of suburbs and middle/higher-income neighborhoods.
n In neighborhoods covered by transit, morning rush hour service occurs about once every 10 minutes for the typical metropolitan commuter. In less than one quarter of large metro areas (23), however, is this typical service frequency, or “headway,” under 10 minutes. These include very large metro areas such as New york, Los Angeles, Houston, and Washington. Transit services city residents on average almost…
In many regions throughout the country, the fastest growing employment centers are now located in auto-oriented suburban communities at the edge of metropolitan regions.1 From a public transportation perspective, dispersed and low-density employment centers are very difficult to serve through fixed-guideway transit.2 The location of new jobs at the edge also has important equity implications, as low-income residents have difficulty accessing jobs in auto-oriented suburbs from their inner city, urban, or rural neighborhoods. This can result in a significant cost to households and individuals as they spend more time and money commuting to work.
A central tenet of urban economics is that households, businesses, and industries compete for urban sites that enjoy accessibility advantages – whether to jobs, labor markets, raw materials, or distributions centers. Transportation investments trigger economic growth by enhancing accessibility, particularly in fast-growing, congested cities. Scholarly work suggests the impacts are more redistributive than generative – that is, new highways, rail investments, and busways shift growth that would have happened regardless from particular corridors and subareas of a region to others as opposed to prompting firm relocations and new business investments in a region. Factors other than transportation, such as “quality of life”, are increasingly influencing location choices of middle-income households and firms that are footloose. Of course, transportation and quality of life are not unrelated – public opinion polls reveal that being stuck in traffic is often first on the list among…
The worsening financial state of the federal, state, and local governments is a frequent subject in media and political circles. As discretionary expenditures, transportation programs likely face significant changes if they are to cope with spending cuts across all levels of government. These changes would require not only reprioritizing the use of scarce funds, cutting ineffective programs, and improving the performance of remaining programs, but also encouraging states and local partners to find other sources of funding for transportation.
Measuring accessibility is an essential tool in such a makeover because it reveals the benefits of a transportation system. Accessibility is the ease of reaching valued destinations, such as jobs, shops, schools, entertainment, and recreation. As such, accessibility creates value. Capturing some of this value would allow state and local governments to invest in the operations, maintenance, and in some cases expansion of their…
The purpose of this white paper is to create a well-supported yet simple illustration of the relationship between household energy consumption and residential development patterns. For the purpose of this illustration, residential development patterns are generally described by housing location and housing type. The paper also takes into account energy efficiency measures in homes and vehicles as factors that aff ect household energy use.
Housing that is located in a walkable neighborhood near public transit, employment centers, schools, and other amenities allows residents to drive less and thereby reduces transportation costs. Development in such locations is deemed to be “location efficient,” given a more compact design, higher-density construction, and/ or inclusion of a diverse mix of uses. If American families can reduce their necessity to drive through better housing and transportation options, then commute times and household energy costs will drop.
Management experts often say that, “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” What is measured, how it is measured, and how data are presented can affect how problems are evaluated and solutions selected.
For example, a baseball player’s performance can be evaluated based on batting averages, base hits, runs batted in, and ratio of wins to losses, plus various defense statistics that depend on the player’s position. Performance statistics can be calculated per at-bat, per inning, per game, per season, or for a career. A player can be considered outstanding according to one set of statistics but inferior according to another.
This is just one example of how different measurement methods can give very different impressions about a person, group or activity. Often, there is no single method or unit that conveys all the information needed for evaluation. Different measurement units represent different perspectives and assumptions. A coach needs to consider several…
On September 1, 2010, Virginia Tech’s Metropolitan Institute and Center for Housing Research brought together more than 50 national experts and policy advocates for a one-day research roundtable with leaders and staff from HUD’s Office of Planning, Development and Research (PD&R) and Office of Sustainable Communities and Housing (OSHC). Participants were tasked with identifying the top research priorities that would support HUD and the Federal Interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities as they develop and implement policies and programs that promote more sustainable communities.
Sustainability covers a wide range of potential policy and research topics. In light of Virginia Tech’s expertise and HUD’s policy and programmatic domains, the following three areas were selected as special breakout groups for the roundtable:
Accessible and Affordable Housing – strengthening the policy connections between transportation and housing;
Green and Energy…
The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco held conference entitlted Capital Solutions for Equitable Transit-Oriented Development. The purpose of this conference was to examine the practical realities of financing equitable transit-oriented development (TOD) projects and presenting best practices for equitable TOD financing to the Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) sector.
This report examines specific, actionable non-statutory changes that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development—and partner agencies—could adopt to better facilitate and encourage the development and preservation of affordable and workforce housing in location-efficient areas. These are areas near transit, employment centers, or other essential services that allow families to reduce the number and extent of necessary car trips. Transit as defined in this report encompasses reliable bus, bus rapid transit, street car, light and heavy rail commuter service and subway. Transit-oriented development (TOD) refers to new residential, commercial, and mixed-use development and the preservation, renovation, or rehabilitation of real estate within walking distance of these modes of transportation.
We gathered the challenges and policy options included in this report in the summer of 2010 from practitioners and thought leaders from around the country, including…