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Transit-Accessible Workforce Housing Opportunities in Atlanta

Abstract

Affordable housing, jobs, and transportation infrastructure are central elements of urban planning that have the potential for great synergies if considered comprehensively. Transit- accessible affordable housing can help alleviate the combined housing and transportation burden that many Atlantans face and provide better accessibility to employment opportunities.

The region’s upcoming Transportation Investment Act (TIA) vote provides an impetus to study these issues and determine how this potential infrastructure investment could influence the supply of mixed-income transit-oriented developments (MITOD) that provide affordable housing and increase connections to jobs.

The two research questions being explored are: What are the current housing and employment characteristics near MARTA rail stations and the proposed transit routes identified in the TIA? Where might opportunities exist to preserve affordable housing and develop MITOD? The analysis utilizes spatial analysis techniques in a geographic information system (GIS) to study the most recent Census 2010 and American Community Survey data. A series of thematic maps exhibit the findings and important densities and ratios are analyzed to make observations about the nature of the connection between housing and jobs via transit.

The study finds that existing housing and job densities are below recommended thresholds for transit usage, which indicates the importance of infill strategies and MITOD policies to encourage future growth in transit-rich neighborhoods. Affordable housing (less than 50% AMI) is in short supply in many transit-accessible locations, while workforce housing (less than 80% AMI) is more prevalent, supporting the need for truly affordable housing in new development. High housing vacancies and currently undeveloped land around existing and future rail lines provide opportunities for new MITOD to address these challenges.