News Release

TPB Briefed on Housing and Transportation Costs in Region

Sep 21, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC – Members of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) were briefed today on two initiatives aimed at providing policymakers and the public with better information about how the region’s five million-plus residents get around and how much it cost for them do so.

Art Rodgers, Senior Housing Planner at the District of Columbia’s Office of Planning (OP), provided an overview of the recently released report on housing and transportation costs in the metropolitan Washington region. The report, prepared by the Office of Planning and the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT), aims to broaden the notion of affordability throughout the region.

The traditional definition of affordability focuses exclusively on housing costs, with a home being considered affordable if its costs consume 30% or less of total household income. Rodgers noted that this report adds transportation costs to that equation, creating a more realistic and complete determination of a home’s affordability.

Based on data from over 300 metropolitan areas in the U.S., the Office of Planning/CNT report recommends that no more than 15% of household income be consumed by transportation costs, making the combined housing and transportation costs affordability target 45% or less. TPB members echoed Rodgers’ suggestion that this more complete determination of affordability should be more readily available to consumers when making decisions about where to live.

Rodgers also noted that the D.C. Office of Planning will be working with the TPB and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments to integrate the findings of this report with the currently underway Household Travel Survey. The survey collects and analyzes daily travel behavior from nearly 5,000 households within 14 geographic subareas in the District of Columbia, Suburban Maryland, and Northern Virginia.

The household-specific information will complement the aggregate information provided by the Office of Planning/CNT report, and will allow planners and officials to compare transportation patterns before and after the construction of upcoming major transportation projects (the Silver Line, the Purple line, Arlington and D.C. streetcars, the I-95 HOT lanes, and potential VRE service expansion in the Woodbridge area, etc.).

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