Assessing the Environmental, Economic and Social Benefits of Well-Located Workforce Housing
28 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2012
Date Written: August 23, 2012
The jobs-housing imbalance in many metropolitan areas contributes to long work commutes and the related problems of air pollution, traffic congestion, and loss of both discretionary income and time that could be spent in more productive and meaningful ways. This is a particular problem for low- and moderate-income workers who may have to travel long distances from their places of work to find affordable housing. This article presents a methodology for assessing the potential environmental, economic, and social benefits of constructing new affordable housing close to major employment centers and applies that methodology to the Asheville (NC) Metropolitan area. The results show that more than 62% of low- and moderate-income households surveyed either are or may be willing to move closer to work. Moving closer to work would reduce vehicle miles by 71.3%, or 9,000 miles, commuting time by between 159 and 250 hours, and commuting costs of $4,600 per year, per commuter. Commuting distance reductions translate into savings of more than 1.2 kg of NOx, 10.1kg of CO, and 3.5 tons of CO2 per year per household.
Keywords: Environment, Workforce housing
JEL Classification: O18, O21, Q40, R14, R23, R58
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