PT readers know that transportation and housing costs have to be combined when conidering affordability – and here’s more illustrated data to show how that’s true in the US – from CityLab.


The importance of transportation costs in this equation—and, more specifically, the role of transit in reducing these costs—comes into clear focus in a series of new reports on city affordability from the Citizens Budget Commission. Take a look at this CBC chart on average annual rent paid by residents of 22 large U.S. metro areas (New York is highlighted because it was the CBC’s primary focus):
By these housing figures alone, you’d expect the cities at the top to be the least affordable, and those at the bottom to be the most. But now here’s the chart of the same 22 cities ranked by location affordability:


Now we see that many of the cities with high housing costs also have the best location affordability—particularly Washington, D.C., San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Boston, and San Jose. Each of these cities is in the top ten for affordability despite also being in the top ten for highest rent. In the case of San Jose, high Silicon Valley incomes offset high local expenses. But the key for the five other cities is being among the least expensive in terms of transportation costs:

More info and charts here.


  1. You might enjoy this heartwarming piece in Seattle’s news today about mass transit and gentrification/displacement:
    “Mayors and city council members and county council members in cities with with functioning mass transit systems don’t have to make serious faces and reassure entitled drivers that they’re gonna do something to speed up their commutes.
    This is how a conversation between an elected official and an entitled suburbanite might go in New York or Chicago:
    “My commute is awful! I sit in traffic for hours!”
    “Then take the train.”
    “I don’t want take the train.”
    “Then sit in traffic, asshole.”

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