The Causes and Consequences of Local Growth Control: A Transportation Perspective

Research Team: Jae Hong Kim (lead), Nicholas Marantz, and Nene Osutei

UC Campus(es): UC Irvine

Problem Statement: In California, there has been a growing concern about housing unaffordability and its negative consequences. It has been increasingly recognized that rising housing costs and the lack of affordable units in job rich areas can lead to long-distance travels and pose significant challenges to achieving sustainable development and transportation. From a transportation equity perspective, this trend of declining affordability has been considered even more problematic, causing disproportionate impacts on vulnerable population groups. Despite the increasing awareness of the adverse consequences, however, what should be done (particularly on the side of transportation and relevant decision making) is still unclear. Regulatory barriers to housing supply at the local level have often been criticized without careful consideration of their varying motives and outcomes, some of which are tightly associated with transportation. Little attention has also been paid to the importance of contextual settings that can influence the way in which housing dynamics affect travel behavior and vice versa.

Project Description: This project synthesized two sets of studies concerning the causes and consequences of local growth control focusing on the importance of transportation and the unique context of each study. The first set of studies addresses the determinants of local growth controls and the circumstances under which a locality is likely to adopt relatively restrictive land use regulations, which have been viewed as an impediment to expanding California's housing supply. It includes municipality-level analyses of the determinants of growth control and investigations of voting patterns on growth control measures and relevant issues. The second body of research reviewed was related to how limited housing supply (due to growth control and/or other regulatory barriers) affects household residential location and travel patterns. It covers (2a) empirical research on the impact of inelastic housing supply on population distribution and resultant transportation outcomes and (2b) studies on broader transportation challenges that arise due to regulatory barriers to housing development and forces behind them.

Status: Completed

Budget: $24,063

Policy Brief(s):