Georgia Tech

Taking on T-SPLOST

Jan 20, 2013 | Atlanta, GA

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In 2006, the average household in Atlanta spent 29 percent of their income on housing costs and 32 percent of their income on transportation expenses. Philip Schaeffing (MCRP '12) writes in his 2012 applied research paper, Transit-Accessible Workforce Housing Opportunities in Atlanta: An Analysis of Housing and Employment Characteristics Near Current and Future Transit Lines, that housing, employment, and transportation “investment are inextricably linked yet these policies are not always well-coordinated, leading to inefficiencies and missed opportunities. Low-income and workforce households who live near transit options that are connected to job and activity centers can significantly reduce their transportation costs and free more of their budget for other vital needs.” While the defeat of the July T-SPLOST referendum in metro Atlanta remains a missed opportunity for new and expanded transit facilities, a comprehensive analysis of housing, employment, and transportation could improve on the proposed project list when the region revisits the referendum in two years.

Schaeffing's approach utilizes spatial analysis techniques in a geographic information system (GIS) to study the 2010 Census and American Community Survey data. A series of thematic maps illustrate the connection between housing and jobs via transit, and illuminate potential opportunities to preserve affordable housing and to develop mixed-income transit-oriented development (MITOD).

In order to coordinate investment between housing, employment, and transportation, Schaeffing recommends the creation of a revolving loan fund to provide patient capital for the acquisition of land near transit, the coordination of affordable housing requirements at the regional level, and the inclusion of policies that ensure the coexistence of workforce and market-rate housing in an effort to produce vital mixed-income communities near transit. By acknowledging the impact transportation investment can have on housing and employment, the Atlanta region has the opportunity to improve upon future plans for equitability and economic competitiveness in the next transportation investment referendum.

Philip Schaeffing is a 2012 graduate of Georgia Tech's School of City and Regional Planning, and advising for his applied research paper was conducted by Professor Dan Immergluck.

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