The Cost of Long Commutes for Bay Area Workers & Environment | How Housing Matters

The Cost of Long Commutes for Bay Area Workers & Environment

January 08, 2015  
 
 
 

In places where residents must look to the outer fringe to afford housing, the combined cost of housing and transportation more accurately reflects households’ core costs of living there. In the San Francisco area, the combined cost of housing and transportation weighs down household finances, and further affects the environment and local businesses’ capacity to retain moderate-wage workers. The Bay Area Burden report by the Urban Land Institute, Center for Housing Policy, and Center for Neighborhood Technology examines the comprehensive “cost of place” in nine counties located throughout the San Francisco region.

Major findings:

  • Bay Area households spend $41,420 per year, or 59 percent of the median household income, on housing and transportation costs.
  • Cities such as Berkeley, San Pablo, Richmond, and East Palo Alto have combined cost burdens over 70 percent of median income, leaving little buffer for other necessities such as food and childcare.
  • Three-fifths of all Bay Area residents live in communities that are unaffordable to households earning less than $80,000 per year.
  • “Location efficiency” (or the location of housing near jobs, transit hubs, and other regular destinations) affects a home’s overall affordability and the area’s environmental sustainability.
  • Building more dense developments near transit reduces greenhouse gas levels from both the transportation and building sectors.
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Publication Date: 2009
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