About the Portal
The Location Affordability Portal is an initiative of the federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities. The Partnership, which also includes the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency, works to coordinate federal housing, transportation, water, and other infrastructure investments to make neighborhoods more prosperous, allow people to live closer to jobs, save households time and money, and reduce pollution. One objective of this collaboration is to increase public access to data on housing, transportation, and land use. EPA's new Smart Location Database is another resource developed for this purpose.
Transportation costs are the second biggest budget item for most American households. The combined cost of housing and transportation claims about half of the average household's budget, and transportation costs actually exceed housing costs for many rural and working-class households. Despite their significance, though, there is no accurate, standardized data source on household transportation expenses, which prevents homebuyers and renters from fully evaluating the cost of living in a particular city or neighborhood. This site seeks to fill that gap.
In addition to consumers, policymakers also stand to benefit from access to this data when making decisions about land use, housing, transportation, and economic development. With support from Manhattan Strategy Group and the Center for Neighborhood Technology, the project has engaged experts and key stakeholders from the fields of urban and transportation planning, affordable housing, and economic development and has produced extensive reviews of the data and modeling techniques used in the tools that have been made available on this site for the first time.