There Aren’t Enough Homes Near Transit
The demand to live in downtowns and walkable areas near public transit is skyrocketing.
Cities and regions are planning for transit-oriented development to reduce traffic and air pollution, provide better access to opportunities, protect farms and open space, and create exciting places that attract talent.
Yet there are tremendous challenges to growing in these areas. Perhaps most insidious are outdated city codes that overestimate how many cars people will own and how much they will drive in walkable communities near transit.
Developments end up with large, expensive parking structures that drive up the price of homes and reduce the number of homes that can be built. There is community outcry over anticipated traffic, and little or no funding left for affordable units or other community benefits. Increasingly, the lack of homes for people of all incomes threatens the vibrancy and diversity of the Bay Area and other regions.
GreenTRIP is Changing the Paradigm for New Development
TransForm launched our innovative GreenTRIP certification program in 2008 to systematically address the barriers that keep great projects from becoming the standard.
GreenTRIP focuses on using our precious space in these areas for people, instead of excess parking. GreenTRIP helps create more homes near transit and for a greater mix of incomes. At the same time, GreenTRIP makes these areas more affordable by directly reducing transportation costs for families.
GreenTRIP started in the Bay Area, but with growth pressures mounting around the state and the country, we are building partnerships and expanding the scope of GreenTRIP to spread this paradigm change in the following three ways:
1. GreenTRIP Certification shapes and supports great projects
GreenTRIP provides a range of tools to developers, cities, and community advocates to help create low-traffic developments that include strategies like free transit passes and carshare membership for residents, secure bicycle parking and bike sharing. We then recognize the best projects with GreenTRIP certification, and help communicate the transportation, environmental and community benefits to local leaders as they consider approval of these forward-thinking projects.
GreenTRIP projects are also using the space freed up from reducing parking for shops, services, and providing more affordable homes.
Living in a GreenTRIP certified development, residents save thousands per year while taking cars off the road and reducing traffic on our streets. Transit agencies can count on guaranteed revenue while the wider community benefits from safer streets and more carsharing opportunities. By planning for more people instead of more cars, a vicious cycle can be turned into a virtuous one. Read more about certifications.
2. GreenTRIP research helps identify the best strategies for reducing traffic, and quantifies their benefits
The GreenTRIP research program is getting to the root of the problem, providing robust data about the benefits of trip reduction strategies and affordable homes.
Our work includes field researchers in the Bay Area studying parking, affordable housing and traffic reduction strategies, like transit passes and car sharing. In September 2014, we will launch a database with this data to help cities and developers make smarter decisions about parking requirements.
Another research effort is already having a significant impact, including our recent groundbreaking report that quantifies the greenhouse gas benefits of investing in more affordable homes near transit. Read more about our research program.
3. The GreenTRIP Connect tool will unleash the power of GreenTRIP at a broader scale
GreenTRIP Connect is a proposed online tool that will harness the power of technology and improve on the time-consuming methods now used for traffic modeling and certification evaluation. The GreenTRIP Connect tool will let cities, developers, and community members everywhere use powerful modeling to determine the traffic, health and economic benefits of implementing GreenTRIP strategies.
With a matching grant offer from the Knight Foundation, we are currently seeking funds by May 2015 to develop the tool in 2015 and launch by 2016. We believe this tool would fundamentally transform urban planning, allow for quick adoption of GreenTRIP strategies by cities across California, and provide an open source tool that could be adopted across the country. Learn more by clicking here.
GreenTRIP's ultimate goals are to:
- Dramatically increase the total number of homes near transit.
- Create a new model of “deep affordability” that ensures more affordable homes in transit-oriented developments, and achieves almost free transportation for residents.
- Minimize greenhouse gas and criteria pollutants from new development and help meet regional climate targets.
- Preserve open space and agricultural lands as infill areas absorb a greater amount of growth.
- Create more opportunities for cost-savings for the entire community by increasing the scale of car-sharing, transit passes and other programs that increase transit ridership, agency revenue and service.
- Develop research and verification methods that help identify which strategies will work most effectively, and to ensure all stakeholders have easy, free access to this data.
- Learn how the GreenTRIP certification process works.
- View all the GreenTRIP-certified projects.
- Read how GreenTRIP got started, who's involved, watch videos, and more.
- See what we envision for the GreenTRIP Connect tool and learn more about our research efforts.
For more information, contact Ann Cheng.