There is no one singular solution to Utah’s Housing Crisis. Rather, the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute has identified five “best practices” for meeting the housing affordability challenge in Utah. This article will explain how transit-oriented developments not only increases affordable housing but also decreases transportation costs, is good for the environment and revitalizes neighborhoods.
If you’ve ever driven in urban Utah during rush hour (or after a home Jazz game), you know that traffic is becoming more of a problem in our state. For the past several years, driving has become a concern as congestion and highway construction make it difficult and expensive to drive to work, home or school. That’s why when we consider solutions to the housing affordability crisis, we must keep transportation in mind.
Luckily, there exists a solution that addresses both issues in one: transit-oriented development (TOD). According to the Transit-Oriented Development Institute, TODs are “the creation of compact, walkable, pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use communities centered around high-quality train systems.”
TODs also increase the value of the surrounding land. Higher land costs require collaborative efforts by cities, developers, and nonprofits to provide financial incentives to housing developers, particularly developers of affordable housing. When affordable housing is built, more Utahns can live near public transportation, thereby increasing its use and decreasing traffic congestion in the area.
According to the Urban Land Institute, “Transit-Oriented Development as an approach to combat traffic congestion and protect the environment has caught on all across the country. The trick for real estate developers has always been identifying the hot transportation system. Today, highways are out; urban transit systems are in.”
By planning compact, mixed-use developments anchored around transit hubs and walkable communities, we can work to solve multiple problems at once. Learn more about your area’s TODs, and push for the creation of more. Locating a variety of housing options near transit stations ensures access to regional opportunities and lowers the overall cost of living for residents. By utilizing transit-oriented development in Utah, we can work towards decreased traffic congestion, more affordable housing, and happier citizens.
As businesses, you can play a role. We will be sharing videos from trusted community partners that we encourage you to share widely — along with articles and blog posts with vital information on the housing crisis each Utahn now faces. Together, we will work to close the gap and ensure that we — and our children and grandchildren — can continue to access safe and affordable housing in our great state.
*If you would like to share your story of how the housing crisis is affecting your business, please reach out to Ginger Chinn, Vice President of Public Policy at firstname.lastname@example.org.