By Eric Sundquist
USDOT and the Department of Housing and Urban Development have launched a new online tool to help households and policy makers better understand and reduce the costs of transportation.
The Location Affordability Portal joins a family of such tools, including Walk Score and the H+T Affordability Index, which have become popular in recent years.
The new federal tool has two main sections:
- A personal transportation cost calculator, which allows a household to input its address and other data, and then compares its spending to similar households.
- A housing and transportation costs index, which allows policy makers, potential home buyers or other interested parties to assess absolute transportation and housing costs as well as those costs in relation to local income levels, for various geographies. The index shows, for example, that places with reputations for high housing costs, like New York and San Francisco, have correspondingly low transportation costs; combined with their residents’ high incomes, both cities’ housing and transportation indexes are relatively low.
The federal tool, as well as other tools cited above, should be useful for transportation agencies as they plan and build. Agencies may also want to publicize these tools as a cost-saving service to their customers.
Eric Sundquist is Managing Director of SSTI.