There are many diverse reasons to pursue compact development outcomes. Convenient and conducive to healthy lifestyles, clustered development patterns help lower overall community infrastructure costs by pulling land uses closer together. Now, as interest in building more compact neighborhoods, cities, and metropolitan regions has grown, another, related question has arisen: Can compact development help mitigate climate change by reducing the amount of driving people do?
This report investigates ways that public transportation affects human health, and ways to incorporate these impacts into transport policy and planning decisions. This research indicates that public transit improvements and more transit oriented development can provide large but often overlooked health benefits. People who live or work in communities with high quality public transportation tend to drive significantly less and rely more on alternative modes (walking, cycling and public transit) than they would in more automobile-oriented areas. This reduces traffic crashes and pollution emissions, increases physical fitness and mental health, and provides access to medical care and healthy food. These impacts are significant in magnitude compared with other planning objectives, but are often overlooked or undervalued in conventional transport planning. Various methods can be used to quantify and monetize (measure in monetary units) these health impacts. This analysis indicates that…
Public transit can increase the development potential of real estate near high-capacity transit lines and stations, and thereby increase property values. This “transit premium” can range from as little as a few percent increase to over 150 percent. The amount depends largely on the local regulatory environment, regional connections, and national and regional economics. Achieving the potential for this increased value of property also generally requires building more complex, mixed-use projects at higher densities, which entails higher costs of development and higher risks. Developers will be more likely to take on those risks if other transit-oriented development projects in the city have already succeeded. Unbridled, subsidized development in suburban and rural areas around a transit city also prevents transit stations from enhancing property values.
Why This Book?
The Importance of Locating Mixed-Income Housing Near Transit
There is a growing consensus that communities that provide housing for a mix of in-income housing – whether provided within a single project or a neighborhood – makes it possible for people of all incomes to live in safe neighborhoods near well-funded schools and good city services, with greater access to a wider variety of jobs and opportunities. Providing housing for a mix of incomes also allows families to continue living in the same community, even as children grow up and look for their own apartments or homes, and parents grow older and want to down-size their living arrangements.
The socio-economic diversity that mixed-income housing provides for also enhances community stability and sustainability, and ensures that low-income households are not isolated in concentrations of poverty. Just as important, we are beginning to understand that the mixing and mingling of people from diverse backgrounds and…
Objective. Public transportation services are important in many ways. They provide mobility, can shape land use and development patterns, generate jobs and enable economic growth, and support public policies regarding energy use, air quality and carbon emissions. All of these characteristics can be important when considering the benefits, costs and optimal investment levels for public transportation. This report focuses solely on just one aspect – how investment in public transportation affects the economy in terms of employment, wages an business income. It specifically addresses the issue of how various aspects of the economy are affected by decisions made regarding investment in public transportation.
A livable community has affordable and appropriate housing, supportive features and services, and adequate mobility options for people, regardless of age or ability. As communities address the general shortage of affordable housing, preserving affordable housing in transit-oriented developments (TODs) is one of the challenges that communities can address to increase their livability.
TODs are compact, walkable, mixed-use communities that are developed around high-quality public transportation. Residents often prize these places for the advantages created by the proximity to transportation and other amenities. One consequence of this desirability is that it can increase land and property values, exacerbating housing affordability challenges.
As policymakers try to extend the benefits of TODs to affordable housing locations, they must ensure that those benefits are available to people of low and moderate incomes and to those with different mobility…
What GAO Found
Characteristics of transit-oriented developments can increase nearby land and housing values, however determining transit-oriented development’s effects on the availability of affordable housing in these developments are complicated by a lack of direct research and data. Specifically, the presence of transit stations, retail, and other desirable amenities such as schools and parks generally increases land and housing values nearby. However, the extent to which land and housing values increase—or in the rare case, decrease—near a transit station depends on a number of characteristics, some of which are commonly found in transit-oriented developments. According to transit and housing stakeholders GAO spoke with, higher land and housing values have the potential to limit the availability of affordable housing near transit, but other factors—such as transit routing decisions and local commitment to affordable housing—can also affect availability.
Few local, state,…
Innovation is the critical component of long-term economic prosperity, driving productivity growth and (if spread across key sectors of the economy) ensuring broad-based economic growth. Sparking innovation, however, requires capital (which is threatened by the current economic downturn), skilled-labor, scientific and technological advances, and creative collaboration between government and the private sector. Innovation cannot be dictated, but it can be cultivated.