Policies to Improve Transportation Sustainability, Accessibility, and Housing Affordability in the State of California

Research Team: Daniel G. Chatman (lead), Elisa Barbour, Tamara Kerzhner, Michael Manville, and Carolina Reid

UC Campus(es): UC Berkeley, UCLA

Problem Statement: California faces an acute housing shortage, which has led to housing prices that are unaffordable to a growing percentage of Californians. The lack of affordable housing is pushing workers and families further from high-density job centers and non-work activity locations, placing increased pressure on California's roads and highways and impeding the state’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In low-income neighborhoods and communities of color, rising rents are also leading to gentrification and displacement pressures, affecting housing stability, job access and suburbanization of poverty. All of these issues are critical to the State's prosperity, as well as to its "fix it first" policy emphasizing the use of existing road and transit capacity.

Project Description: This project, in coordination with the State of California’s Housing and Transportation Coordination Workgroup (HTCW), addresses the following research questions. First, what research-based evidence exists about the linkages between transportation and housing to help inform policy making at the state and local levels? Second, what policies and programs have regional transportation agencies, other states, and other countries implemented to influence local jurisdictions to entitle housing units in ways that best leverage transportation infrastructure and lead to efficient, equitable, and environmentally sustainable travel patterns? Third, given the answers to these questions, how best can housing development and permitting decisions in California be influenced to produce better transportation outcomes; and conversely, how can decisions about transportation investment and service provision be influenced to produce better housing and travel outcomes? Researchers carried out a comprehensive literature review, a review of policies and plans, and an interview- and/or survey- based exploration of best practices inside and outside California to address the first two questions, and in so doing, provide information to inform the third. Work focused particularly on equity issues in transportation and housing, including housing affordability, gentrification and displacement, and the travel patterns of lower income households.

Status: Completed

Budget: $79,119