3 Examples of Transit-Oriented Affordable Housing Policies

Mobility Lab tackles the challenges of building affordable housing near transit (i.e., transit-oriented affordable housing) by providing specific, real-world examples from cities and states.

2 minute read

May 2, 2016, 6:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Denver TOD

Brett VA / Flickr

Michael Ryan argues for a stronger connection between affordable housing and transit:

The term “affordable housing finance” isn’t quite as catchy as “carshare,” “bikeshare,” or any of the other technology improvements helping promote transportation demand management. Yet for low-income members of our communities, who stand to benefit the most from those solutions, affordable housing finance should be considered, and put to use as, a TDM strategy.

After listing a few of the ways that transit reduces the daily costs of mobility for residents, Ryan also notes some of the challenges to building more affordable housing near transit. For one, land values near transit tend to be higher, according to Ryan, "[making] it difficult for affordable housing developers to purchase land in these locations."

Ryan concludes by producing a list of policy ideas designed to help deliver transit-oriented affordable housing. Examples include

  • The allocation of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits through the Qualified Allocation Plans created by states for the U.S. Department of Urban Housing and Development. "Massachusetts is one of several states that have incorporated mobility into their QAPs by awarding points based on a project’s proximity to rail or bus," according to Ryan.
  • Housing protection districts, such as the Special Affordable Housing Protection District included in the General Land Use Plan of Arlington, Virginia.
  • A transit-oriented development fund, such as the Denver Regional Transit-Oriented Development Fund.

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