What Do We Know About Location Affordability in U.S. Shrinking Cities?

In late 2013, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) launched the Location Affordability Index (LAI) portal. Their dataset uses models to estimate the median amount households spend on housing and transportation at the block group level, and calculates “H + T Affordability,” the percent of household income spent on these items. In the project team's previous research, they analyzed 81 shrinking cities to determine how location affordability differs across various neighborhoods. The results suggest that households in declining neighborhoods, as compared to stable or redeveloping neighborhoods, face the greatest H + T affordability challenges in shrinking cities. Furthermore, in declining neighborhoods, virtually all of the additional affordability challenges encountered can be accounted for by differences in transportation affordability rather than housing. Since there is virtually no research to either validate or suggest bias in the LAI data, and a declining neighborhood in a shrinking city presents both a relatively common yet entirely dissimilar context to the norm, the project team feels that this data should be carefully calibrated to, and tested for, this setting. The project objectives include the completion of a literature review to establish hypotheses regarding reasonable household budget maximums (in terms of percent of income) and elasticities for transportation, and a comparison of those hypotheses to existing conditions as given by the LAI data for shrinking cities. The project team will use these hypotheses to construct a survey, to be sent to households in a subset of our sample of 81 cities, to determine whether the LAI data accurately estimate transportation costs for declining neighborhoods in shrinking cities. Our survey results will be supplemented by data from the United States (U.S.) Census Bureau regarding means of transportation to work, neighborhood demographics, and neighborhood socioeconomic conditions. The project team will conduct qualitative field work to better assess how households cope with unaffordable transportation costs, in terms of either selecting budgetary trade-offs, or in finding lower cost transportation solutions that are not adequately reflected in the LAI modeling process. Finally, the project team will synthesize this research to articulate a series of recommendations for improving the LAI data for shrinking cities contexts, and for informing local transportation policy to improve livability in declining neighborhoods.

Language

  • English

Project

  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $218780
  • Contract Numbers:

    NITC 872

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    University of Utah, Salt Lake City

    City & Metropolitan Planning
    201 South Presidents Circle
    Salt Lake City, UT  United States  84112

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority

    1240 West 6th Street
    Cleveland, Ohio  United States  44113-1302

    Portland State University

    1900 SW Fourth Avenue, Suite 175
    Portland, Oregon  United States  97201
  • Managing Organizations:

    Portland State University

    1900 SW Fourth Avenue, Suite 175
    Portland, Oregon  United States  97201
  • Project Managers:

    Hagedorn, Hau

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Utah, Salt Lake City

    City & Metropolitan Planning
    201 South Presidents Circle
    Salt Lake City, UT  United States  84112
  • Principal Investigators:

    Bartholomew, Keith

  • Start Date: 20150801
  • Expected Completion Date: 20170630
  • Actual Completion Date: 20170630
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01607755
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: National Institute for Transportation and Communities
  • Contract Numbers: NITC 872
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: Aug 18 2016 11:40AM