Provide incentives to encourage people to live near work or transit


When people can conveniently walk and bicycle to jobs, stores, transit and other destinations, they tend not to drive as much. This improves air quality, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, saves on commuting costs, and lessens traffic congestion.

State governments can encourage people to live in walkable communities by providing targeted mortgage assistance. The transportation savings that come with living near transit, jobs and shops can enable people who live in "location-efficient neighborhoods" to qualify for a higher amount of financing for home purchase.


States should promote homeownership near transit and in high-density areas by integrating location-efficiency criteria into their existing mortgage programs or by partnering with an existing lender to provide location-efficient mortgages statewide.

Housing finance authorities issue mortgages that contain eligibility and evaluative criteria that guide funding decisions. A state's housing finance agency could revise loan eligibility criteria so that applicants who live in neighborhoods or census tracts that are served by transit, that are within a half-mile of transit, or that are higher density (ranging from eight to 20 dwellings per acre) could qualify for greater housing assistance.

Another strategy is to require a development plan to outline transit and housing plans before the state provides economic development funds. The Department of Housing and Community Development can work with other agencies to establish appropriate criteria. Funds should be based on the proximity of projects to available workforce housing and transit.


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