How affordable are accessible locations? Neighborhood affordability in U.S. urban areas with intra-urban rail service


Matan E. Singer

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, place - urban, mode - rail, land use - impacts, land use - planning


Location affordability, Housing and transportation costs, Built environment, Accessibility, Land use-transportation integration


Housing and transportation affordability is a major problem for low-income households, yet studies on the issue tend to focus on the average household. Consequently, relatively little is known about the factors that affect affordability for low-income households and the neighborhoods that are affordable to them. This study addresses these issues and examines how housing and transportation affordability varies across neighborhoods with different built environments and the affordability of these neighborhoods to households from different income groups. The analysis is based on a unique data set comprised of neighborhoods within the urbanized areas of twenty-seven U.S. metropolitan areas with intra-urban rail service. Neighborhoods are further categorized into six types based on their built environments and distance from a rail station. The results suggest that transit-rich neighborhoods are more affordable than auto-oriented ones, mainly due to lower transportation costs. However, only a small share of neighborhoods and housing units are affordable to very-low income households. The results have implications to the way affordability is measured and understood as well as to efforts to alleviate affordability problems.


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