Money for Nothing: Study Confirms Taking Public Transit Saves, Big Time

A new analysis by the Center for Neighborhood Technology confirms what many advocates suspected all along: That although housing may cost more in a dense urban core, access to transit makes living there less expensive overall than settling in a car-dependent suburb.

Access to transit can cut transportation costs by up to or over one-fifth. Center for Neighborhood Technology

This is your first of three free stories this month. Become a free or sustaining member to read unlimited articles, webinars and ebooks.

Become A Member

This piece originally appeared on Mobilizing the Region.

Think living in Manhattan is expensive? Try living in the suburbs.

While this may fly in the face of conventional wisdom, a new analysis by the Center for Neighborhood Technology finds that Manhattan residents spend a lower percentage of their income on housing and transportation than their counterparts in car-dependent suburbs like Westchester County, N.Y., Litchfield County, Conn. or Warren County, N.J.

CNT’s recently-released Housing + Transportation Affordability Index found that a typical household in Manhattan spends 35.71 percent of its income on housing and transportation costs, while typical households in Westchester, Litchfield and Warren counties spend 58.98 percent, 48.65 percent and 59.57 percent, respectively.

These tri-state neighborhoods match the national trend that emerged in the H+T study: While housing and transportation costs are increasing across the nation, neighborhoods that are “location efficient”—those with good access to transit, jobs and amenities—have lower transportation costs. The index finds, for a typical family living in a location efficient neighborhood in 2000, that transportation costs (a combination of car maintenance, car ownership and public transportation spending) increased by $1,400 per year. A similar family living in a car-dependent neighborhood saw their transportation costs increase by $3,900 per year. In short, the index finds that location efficient neighborhoods correlate with reduced transportation and housing costs.

Luckily for residents in Connecticut, New Jersey and downstate New York, some local municipalities are beginning to take notice of the link between housing and transportation. Transit-oriented development projects are becoming more and more prevalent throughout the region, and are creating the potential for more affordable living.

Like what you’re reading? Get a browser notification whenever we post a new story. You’re signed-up for browser notifications of new stories. No longer want to be notified? Unsubscribe.

Tags: new york citypublic transportationbuilt environmentsuburbs

Next City App Never Miss A StoryDownload our app ×

You've reached your monthly limit of three free stories.

This is not a paywall. Become a free or sustaining member to continue reading.

  • Read unlimited stories each month
  • Our email newsletter
  • Webinars and ebooks in one click
  • Our Solutions of the Year magazine
  • Support solutions journalism and preserve access to all readers who work to liberate cities

Join 1106 other sustainers such as:

  • Nelson at $5/Month
  • Matt at $5/Month
  • Anonymous at $5/Month

Already a member? Log in here. U.S. donations are tax-deductible minus the value of thank-you gifts. Questions? Learn more about our membership options.

or pay by credit card:

All members are automatically signed-up to our email newsletter. You can unsubscribe with one-click at any time.

  • Donate $20 or $5/Month

    20th Anniversary Solutions of the Year magazine

has donated ! Thank you 🎉