Housing and Transportation Index

Housing and Transportation Index

The Center for Neighbourhood Technology or CNT is a US organization that assists in promoting the close connection between home and transportation and uses that information for community development and to assist citizens to find homes that fit their budgets and quality of life. Transportation costs represent the second-largest and fastest-growing expense for the typical American family, and they can vary widely depending on:

  • home location
  • household size
  • household income
  • other factors

A  healthy community possesses a good transportation infrastructure that provides a variety of transportation options including pedestrian, bicycle, transit and automobile that gives easy, safe and affordable access to residences, shopping & services.

Why is this important?

  • Housing plus transportation costs give a more complete assessment of affordability than housing costs alone.
  • Transportation costs are driven more by neighborhood characteristics than by the number of people in a household or their income.
  • Places with access to services, walkable destinations, extensive and frequent transit, access to jobs, and density have lower household transportation costs.
  • Creating neighborhoods with housing and transportation affordability requires multiple and targeted strategies and coordination within and across government agencies and the private sector.
  • Underutilized transit station areas present an opportunity to create additional affordable and diverse neighborhoods.

CNT has developed an online public index called  the Housing and Transportation (H+T®) Affordability Index to show what it costs to get around in neighborhoods across the United States. The Index shows that transportation costs vary between and within regions depending on neighborhood characteristics. In short, it shows details of  location efficient and location inefficient residents:

  1. People who live in location-efficient neighborhoods—compact, mixed-use areas with convenient access to jobs, services, transit, and amenities—generally have lower transportation costs
  2. People who live in location inefficient places that require automobiles for most trips genrally have high transportation costs

Example 1:

The differences from one location to another can make a big difference in a family’s ability to service a mortgage.

  1. The left map below shows that 7 in 10 neighborhoods (69%) in the Chicago region are considered affordable for the region’s typical household when using the conventional measure
  2. The right map shows that only 4 in 10 neighborhoods (42%) in the same region are affordable,  a net loss of 1,718 neighborhoods where that typical regional family could afford to live.

Example 2:

Figure 1: Sample Screen Capture of CNT Map of Neighbourhoods in Fresno California. The Right Side shows neighbourhoods that include Transport Costs. Notice Significant Drop in Affordable Neighbourhoods


CNT has another tool called Abogo which allows for detailed calculations of transport costs in a neighbourhood:

Figure 2: Sample Screen Capture from Abogo calculating Monthly Transport Costs for Fresno, CA