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Illinois Adopts H+T Index To Measure Affordability

The Illinois Legislature has passed and sent to the governor legislation that adopts the Center for Neighborhood Technology's H+T Affordability Index as a measure of affordability when planning and making public investment decisions within Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Areas around the state.

CNT is a partner with Reconnecting America and Strategic Economics in the Center for Transit-Oriented Development. CTOD was involved in the initial work to develop the index in cooperation with the Brookings Institution. (See this report.)

The H+T Affordability Index provides a comprehensive snapshot of neighborhood affordability by accounting for combined housing and transportation costs associated within a community. The H+T Index demonstrates the direct link between household transportation costs and the location and design of neighborhoods and transit options.

By taking into account both housing and transportation costs, policymakers will be able to direct growth toward more sustainable and equitable goals.

Once the legislation is signed by the governor, the Illinois Capital Development Board (CDB), the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), the Department of Transportation (IDOT), the Illinois Finance Authority (IFA) and the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) as well as the Illinois Housing Task Force and the Interagency Coordinating Committee on Transportation will use the H+T Affordability Index as a planning tool and as a criterion in the allocation of public funding.

CNT's Housing + Transportation Affordability website covers more than 330 metro regions in the United States. CNT's analysis shows that only two in five American communities -- or 39 percent -- are affordable for typical households when their transportation costs are considered along with housing costs.

Illinois' Housing + Transportation Affordability Act is a valuable example for policymakers across the nation when pondering how to create sustainable and equitable growth.