In DC, Gridlocked Traffic Adds to Workers' Cost of Living

In DC, Gridlocked Traffic Adds to Workers' Cost of Living
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Gridlocked traffic, long commutes, and high housing costs define life for workers in and around Washington, DC. The shortage of affordable housing near jobs affects workers' productivity, the environment, and more. The Beltway Burden report, from the Urban Land Institute, Center for Housing Policy, and Center for Neighborhood Technology, looks at the “cost of place” in the Washington, DC, region. Going beyond housing costs, the report's maps and rankings analyzes the combination of housing and transportation costs in different jurisdictions in the region, and offers a more complete view of housing affordability.

Major findings:

  • Housing and transportation costs consume almost 47 percent of median household income in the Washington, DC, area.
  • DC area households spend an average of nearly $23,000 per year on housing and $13,000 on transportation.
  • When families live 15 or more miles from work, lower housing costs are offset by transportation spending.
  • DC area traffic jams, fueled in part by the shortage of affordable housing near jobs, wastes an estimated 127 million hours of workers' time plus nearly 91 million gallons of fuel.