NATIONAL – Center for Housing Policy’s “Heavy Load” Report

The Coalition for Smarter Growth prioritizes the production and preservation of affordable housing, especially with access to transportation choices and jobs, as one critical element of truly interconnected, sustainable communities.

Transportation is fundamental to affordable housing

This groundbreaking 2006 report demonstrated and quantified, for the first time, the importance of transportation costs in assessing true housing ‘affordability’ alongside direct rental, mortgage and utility costs. The report averaged working family experiences over 28 major American cities to determine that combined housing plus transportation costs equal a stunning 57% of the household budget, leaving precious few resources for any other necessities, savings or investments.


Low-income families pay the most to reach jobs, housing

Further, the report revealed the false logic of the ‘drive until you qualify’ principle: in fact, housing far outside the job-central core of metropolitan areas is not less expensive once transportation costs are added to the equation. This is particularly true for households at lower- and moderate-incomes. And it shows how the ancillary public policy problem of car traffic congestion can be directly related to the imbalance of affordable housing supply close to jobs and transportation alternatives in compact development.


The Coalition for Smarter Growth’s approach to compact, mixed-use development, focusing on locating housing for all incomes close to jobs and many transportation choices, is wholly consistent with the findings of “Heavy Load.” This tool has been instrumental in helping to make the scientific case for pursuing a comprehensive approach to mixed-use, mixed-income planning in walkable, bikeable communities with ample access to transit of all kinds.

Click here to download full report >>