Presentations at the TRB Annual Meeting

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Presentations at the TRB Annual Meeting

On January 1, 2018, Posted by , in Research, TRB, With No Comments

Two papers from my dissertation–one quantitative and one qualitative–were accepted for presentation at the upcoming Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting.

The first is programmed in Lectern Session 599, ‘Economic Development Linkages, Location Affordability, and Socioeconomic Factors Influencing Transit’, sponsored by the Standing Committee on Transportation and Economic Development (ADD10). Details here: Session 599

This paper is titled ‘Location Affordability and Regional Economic Resilience: Evidence from the U.S. Foreclosure Crisis.’

The form and function of cities is in large part defined by the interrelationship between land development and transportation systems. This relationship has important implications for households, including how it shapes economic costs for housing and transportation. Understanding these cost burdens is relevant for transportation agencies that are developing policies, plans, and programs for affordability.

This paper presents an analysis of the relationship between high housing cost burdens, high levels of vehicle ownership, and mortgage foreclosure. The analysis also adds multi-dimensional measures of urban form to evaluate the effect of metro-level characteristics on foreclosure rates. Using multi-level regression models, the analysis estimates the effects of pre-crisis conditions in supporting or eroding the ability of households to weather the recent economic downturn in the U.S.

The models indicate Census tracts with high shares of Black homeowners, high shares of Hispanic homeowners, and lower income levels saw increased risk of foreclosure. Also important is the share of households with high housing cost burdens. High shares of households with high vehicle ownership levels are significantly and positively associated with foreclosure rates. This suggests the costs associated with the ownership of multiple vehicles contributed to households’ economic vulnerability, a vulnerability revealed by mortgage foreclosures.

The results for the urban form factors are mixed. Although increased compactness of jobs and housing has a negative effect on foreclosure, increased development intensity across the entire metro region has a positive effect. These differential effects challenge broad-brush assertions of negative impacts of urban sprawl.

The qualitative paper is a content analysis, ‘Is Performance Measurement Improving Planning Practice? The Case of Location Affordability in Long-Range Transportation Plans.’ This presentation is scheduled during the Wednesday morning meeting of the Standing Committee on Metropolitan Policy, Planning, and Processes (ADA20). Details here: ADA20 Meeting


Transportation planning in the United States is moving to widespread use of performance-based planning methods as new federal requirements for Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) are implemented. In addition to requirements for measures of safety, infrastructure condition, and travel reliability, many MPOs are adopting additional performance measures including those of complex socioeconomic issues. This study explores current planning practice in using a performance-based approach to tackle such an issue: location affordability, defined as an affordable level of combined cost burdens for housing and transportation. A review of long-range transportation plans at 21 large MPOs provides information on how location affordability is represented in regional transportation plans, how it is defined and measured, and how it is integrated into the planning process. The results are interpreted using a theoretical framework designed to help match planning methods to the conditions of a planning situation. The framework, Christensen’s matrix of planning problems, provides insights into the use of performance measures for location affordability and how performance measurement programs can be designed to support more effective planning for this and similarly challenging issues.  

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