Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Cost of Commuting to DC

Suburban housing places a heavy financial strain on working families in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region, concludes a new publication released yesterday from the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Terwilliger Center for Workforce Housing. Beltway Burden: The Combined Cost of Housing and Transportation in the Greater Washington, DC Metropolitan Area, analyzes the inverse proportionality between the cost-savings on distant homes and expense of commuting to the District from without. The study's deduction, if not entirely intuitive, is that DC-area working families who are forced to "drive ‘till they qualify" for housing incur higher transportation costs that eventually erode their housing cost savings. Well, ya.

The study finds that region-wide, households spend an average of $23,000 on housing and $13,000 on transportation annually, and that increases in transportation costs start offsetting housing savings when families locate roughly 16 miles from employment centers; drivers who spend an average of 60 hours per year sitting in traffic and waste nearly 91 million gallons of fuel.

To lower the housing-transportation cost burden for the Washington metro area, the report suggests that part of the answer is “creating more housing and transportation choices...us[ing] our existing infrastructure more wisely and more intensively...and [m]ore compact development." The report predicts the addition of 1.7 million new households over the next 20 years in the DC region, half of which will occur in the outer suburbs and outer-ring jurisdictions. These areas currently are home to just over one-fourth of the region’s population, and have the highest combined costs for housing and transportation.


Anonymous said...

Maybe someone ought to engrave this report on the sidewalks of Tenleytown.

Anonymous said...

What is the chance that something will be improved within, say, 10 years? - ZERO.

monkeyrotica on Feb 11, 2009, 7:27:00 AM said...

This just in: Urban Land Institute thinks urban land is just dandy!

Also, when did Sideshow Bob get his own center for workforce housing?

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