Assessing mode-specific transport affordability in a car-centric city

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, place - urban, planning - surveys, planning - service improvement, land use - impacts, land use - planning, policy - sustainable


Affordable transport, Location efficiency, Accessibility, Walkability, Sustainability


Housing and transport are the two highest costs in household budgets and can significantly impact affordability and quality of life. These costs also impact decisions and require households to make a trade-off between the ease of accessing desired opportunities and the size of their home. Yet studies that have aimed to gain insights into the factors that influence housing and transport affordability to develop policy interventions rely on aggregate or incomplete measures of these associated household costs, potentially obfuscating the trends. This paper aims to enrich understanding of the relationship between housing and transport affordability using data collected from University of Alberta (Canada) students, faculty and staff. It relies on the reported monetary cost of household spending on housing and transport, and estimated travel time cost, as well as information on the transport mode and home location in an effort to confirm the relationship between housing and transport costs and identify policies that can lower generalized costs for households. Based on the analysis, we establish the importance of accounting for the travel time associated with different transport modes in quantifying the generalized cost burden of a household. We also confirm that housing and transport costs change in opposite directions with the increase in distance from the city core. Lastly, policy interventions that lower transport costs via improvements in transit service and land use are identified.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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