An Interactive Database of Location-Specific Costs Demonstrates Its Value

Kaid Benfield reports on the Chicago-based Center for Neighborhood Technology's robust, interactive Housing + Transportation Affordability Index, a fantastic resource for location-specific information, including housing and transportation costs.

1 minute read

March 1, 2012, 7:00 AM PST

By Jonathan Nettler @nettsj


While the index has been growing for many years, it now covers 89% of the population and provides the ability to demonstrate the place-based relationship between transportation and household costs on affordability, as well as a wealth of other data. It also sounds easy to use and fun to play with, according to Benfield's description

Benfield writes that, "CNT found that, between 2000 and 2009, US transportation and housing costs increased at nearly twice the rate of incomes. If you're feeling squeezed, no wonder. But the good news, the organization reports, is that people living in "location efficient" neighborhoods-those with good access to transit, jobs, and amenities-experienced only half the increase in transportation costs ($1,400/year) of those living in car-dependent places ($3,900/year)."

Benfield sees the Index's potential uses as diverse and plentiful. "The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, for example, announced in 2010 that it would begin using location efficiency data...to assist its evaluation of grant applications...At the local government level, officials can use the data to assist zoning and investment practices to maximize the benefits for their residents."

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