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How Transit-Oriented Development Can Help Get America to Work

A research paper outlining the importance of investing in economic development that focuses from the earliest planning stages on equity and opportunity for low-income workers has been added to the Research Center best practices database.

"How Transit-Oriented Development Can Help Get America to Work" was written by Nancy Andrews, the president and CEO of the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) and Audrey Choi, managing director and head of Morgan Stanley Global Sustainable Finance.

As jobs have moved out of the central business districts and away from established transit services, it has been more difficult for low-income workers to reach those jobs, the authors note.

"This places a heavy burden on American families at a significant economic cost to the nation: $100 billion lost each year in time and fuel because of workers’ lengthy and inconvenient commutes, according to the Center for Transit-Oriented Development," the article reports. "For every dollar a family saves by moving to lower cost housing, 77 cents is consumed by the costs of commuting back to their jobs.3,4 And the current high demand for housing in many urban rental markets means this pressure on working families will grow, not lessen."

Today, transit-oriented development is too often planned from the outset as attractive, livable environments designed around deluxe housing developments, often displacing low-income residents.

"By pairing transportation investment decisions with plans to create affordable housing and essential services, such as schools and childcare, health care, healthy food stores, libraries and retail services, we can help communities grow in a balanced manner, with opportunities for low- and moderate-income families," the authors explain.

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