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Affordable Housing

Affordable Housing Adding new or preserving existing affordable housing near transit improves access for low-income residents and families to employment, health care, and education opportunities and reduces commuting costs. While some of these strategies are implemented through general plans or specific plans, many will require coordination with city housing departments, affordable housing developers, and for-profit developers that include affordable housing as part of the project.


Potential strategies to support affordable housing include the following:

  • Affordable Housing Creation
    • Utilize public subsidies such as land dedication, loans, and grants
    • Establish partnerships with non-profit developers
    • Establish inclusionary zoning requirements
    • Explore joint public/private development
    • Provide process and zoning accommodations, such as fee waivers and expediting processing
    • Acquire land or buildings near transit for housing
    • Provide incentives including density bonuses and reduced parking requirements
  • Residential  Anti-Displacement
    • Enact and enforce rent control/stabilization
    • Moderate the conversion of rental units to condominiums
    • Provide right of first refusal for tenants
  • Affordable Housing Protection
    • Enact rent control or stabilization
    • Retain permanently affordable units such as single-room occupancy units
    • Rehabilitate at-risk affordable housing units


Analysis of data from the California Household Travel Survey shows that placing more affordable homes near transit can reduce VMT and increase transit ridership. Lower-income populations generally choose more transit-accessible locations due to both household composition and income. As a result, they demonstrate the largest VMT reductions related to transit accessibility (Newmark and Haas, 2015). Numerous studies have shown that VMT increases with income (Boarnet, et. al, 2011, Cervero and Kockelman, 1997).

Lower-income households drove 25% to 30% fewer miles when living within a half mile of transit than those living outside TOD areas. Lower-income households drove 50% fewer miles when living within a quarter mile of transit. Furthermore, higher-income households drive more than twice as many miles and own more than twice as many vehicles as low-income households living within a quarter mile of transit (Newmark and Haas, 2015).