Understanding the Combined Cost of Household and Transportation
The Brookings Institution analyzed household costs and created an Affordability Index that used the Twin Cities as the model. In this report transportation is shown to be the second largest household cost. Nationally they found that transportation expenditures as a percentage of household costs range from less than 10 percent in transit-rich areas to nearly 25 percent in other areas.
A Transit for Livable Communities report states the average Twin Cities household spent 17 percent of its income on transportation. This is worrying enough but the report also showed that low income households spent substantially more. Households in major areas that have more extensive transit systems spent significantly less than the average. This is a lesson that should not be lost on policy makers.
H+T Affordability Index
The Portal features a new cutting-edge tool — the H+T Affordability Index —that illustrates from different perspectives how housing and transportation costs impact affordability. In addition to these decision-support tools, the Portal provides access to supporting resources that offer a wide range of information on current research and practice aimed at understanding, and ultimately reducing, the combined housing and transportation cost burden borne by American families.
The H+T Affordability Index calculator consists of estimates of the combined cost of housing and transportation at the Census block-group level (block groups contain 600 to 3,000 residents each). H+T data is calculated for each of the 942 Core Based Statistical Areas and covers neighborhoods where 94% of the U.S. population lives using statistical regression modeling.
Because what is affordable is different for everyone, the Index is calculated for eight different household profiles, defined by different incomes, family sizes and number of commuters. Users can search for a location by address, intersection, city, county, state or zip code. In addition, users can view housing and transportation costs combined or separately, or view costs for renters and homeowners separately.
Developers, planners and policymakers can use the H+T Affordability Index to make data-driven decisions about local and regional planning and investment. They can also use maps and data tools to help communicate with the public about different development scenarios.
The goal of the H+T Affordability Index is to help individuals, planners, and researchers get a more complete understanding of the costs of living in a given location by accounting for variations between households, neighborhoods, and regions, all of which impact affordability.
Total Driving Costs Calculator
The Total Driving Costs calculator will allow users to:
- Calculate the combined housing and transportation costs using household characteristics and location.
- Evaluate the factors that determine housing and transportation costs, and how changes impact expenses.
- Assess the true proportion of income being spent on housing and transportation.
- Compare actual household costs with neighborhood and regional averages.
- Evaluate the full costs of a new location before moving.
Click here to learn more about the Housing and Transportation Affordability Index.