The current 30% yardstick fails to include transportation costs, including costs of vehicle ownership, insurance and operation. What if a new ratio was developed to include the costs of mobility that varies among communities - and went further than just measuring commuting distances?
The Center for Neighborhood Technology had done just that through research, dubbed "H+T Affordability Index"that shows that "the combined cost of housing and transportation shouldn't exceed 45 percent of your income." (Click on the map to see the H+T Index where you live).
Their "study was based on demographic, economic and transportation data from 337 U.S. metropolitan areas. The concept is helping shape new federal and state policies to encourage development of more compact communities that aren't so far-flung and promote less driving."
"Length of commutes is not the dominant factor. Each neighborhood has a unique fingerprint of such costs. It's determined by the length of commutes and trips to run errands...The more spread out a neighborhood, the more people depend on cars, often needing more than one. The availability of mass transit is large factor."
Thanks to Metropolitan Transportation Commission