Of a seemingly endless array of daily expenses, housing and transportation costs attribute to some of the largest. This is relatively well-known phenomenon, although the extent to which it impacts the typical family is commonly overlooked. While solutions are achievable, we find it necessary to access the given the context with detail and clarity. To gain an in-depth perspective, we utilize AllTransit, our transit-based analytics tool.
In exploration of the impacts of housing and transit expenses, we look to three cities: Minneapolis, MN; Ann Arbor, MI and Boulder, CO, each placed on the list of top 25 cities to raise a family1. AllTransit is used here, to compare access to quality public transportation in each city.
The AllTransit Performance Score is a triangulation of frequency, coverage, and utilization of transit, all to provide a holistic view of overall transit quality. Based on Figure A, Minneapolis showcases the highest transit accessibility, at 8.5, in addition to its rank (10th) among mid-sized cities for share of transit commuters (pop. between 250,000 & 1,000,000). Overall, all three cities surpass the national share of transit commuters significantly (5.1%).
CNT’s Housing and Transportation (H+T) affordability index suggests that both housing and transportation costs make up not more than 45% of household incomes. In each of these three cities, the typical family spends between 18 to 21% of their total household income on transportation (Figure B). In Boulder, 64% of households have access to high frequency transit within a ½ mile radius, in addition to the 81% that have access to quality transit during rush hour. While employment accessibility rates are relatively nominal in Boulder and Ann Arbor – one city sticks out. More than half of the residents in Minneapolis have access to 300-450,000 employment opportunities (Figure C). A staggering number, when matched with 410,000 employment opportunities found within a 30-minute transit trip (Figure B).
There is wide set of factors to consider within an audit of household expenses. We hope that this tool helps families and cities alike, estimate and consider the impact of transit and the fundamental role it has in the creation of affordable lifestyles.
1 https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/life/best-cities-for-families/ - December 2017