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SG-W:/ Fw: Natl. Report: SE MI 5th Costliest for Transportation



Hi all,

This is an interesting new report about the higher household costs of
auto-dependency and sprawl.

Ken Clark
jamullet@umich.edu

----- Original Message -----
From: Kelly Thayer
To: smartroads@mienv.org
Sent: Thursday, November 30, 2000 11:46 AM
Subject: Natl. Report: SE MI 5th Costliest for Transportation


November 30, 2000


"Driven to Spend"
National Transportation Report Shows Sprawl Taxes Family Budgets
Southeast Michigan Ranks as 5th Costliest Area in Nation


Contacts:
Kelly Thayer, Transportation Project Coordinator
Michigan Land Use Institute
Phone: 231-882-4723 x13 . Fax: 231-882-7350
E-mail: kelly@mlui.org . Web site: www.mlui.org
Please Note: Southeast Michigan contacts also available

Barbara McCann
Surface Transportation Policy Project
Washington, D.C.
202-974-5134

Report on the Web:
The full report, along with state fact sheets, is available at STPP's
website,http://www.transact.org/


BENZONIA - A national study released today shows Americans spend more on
transportation than on health care, education, or food, and that sprawl
drives up family transportation costs.

"Driven to Spend," authored by the Surface Transportation Policy Project and
the Center for Neighborhood Technology, analyzes Consumer Expenditure Survey
data and other factors. It finds that in the most sprawling metro areas,
households spend approximately 20 percent more on transportation than
households in less sprawling areas.

The survey shows that families in the region of Detroit, Ann Arbor, and
Flint devote nearly 19 cents of every household dollar on transportation,
making this area the fifth most costly part of the nation for family
transportation spending. Measured another way in the report, Detroit's
families direct more than twice as much of their household budget toward
transportation than do households in Toronto, a city with reliable public
transit.

Transportation costs escalate as cities sprawl out, causing residents to
drive farther and more often, even for the simplest errands. This is
particularly evident in metropolitan Detroit, which also ranks third worst
in the nation for its sprawling landscape, according to a study by the
non-profit Fannie Mae Foundation released earlier in November. Fannie Mae
found that only Miami and Atlanta fared worse in their failure to re-use
vacant urban land.

"This transportation study shows how sprawl turns driving from a convenient
choice into an expensive necessity," said Kelly Thayer, transportation
project coordinator at the Michigan Land Use Institute. "We can save
southeast Michigan families hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars each year
if we provide more transportation choices and more convenient communities."

The study found that household transportation costs are often thousands of
dollars higher per year in sprawling neighborhoods with little or no public
transit or safe, convenient routes for biking or walking. Sprawl increases
distances and shuts out non-motorized travel choices, which forces multiple
car ownership and drives up the amount of hard-earned money families must
devote to driving. About 75 percent of a family's automobile costs go toward
simply owning a car, without ever driving a mile.

One of the nation's most sprawling cities, Houston, Texas, ranked most
expensive out of the metro areas surveyed, with households spending an
average of more than 22 cents out of every dollar on transportation.
Families in Honolulu spend the least, at less than 15 cents out of every
dollar. On average American households spend almost 18 cents out of every
dollar on transportation.

In many areas, heavy government investment in road infrastructure may be
contributing to an increase in personal transportation expenses. The places
ranked as most expensive for households in the report have also invested
heavily in expanding their highway networks, while the opposite is true in
the least-expensive areas. The study also finds that the places with a more
equitable balance of roads to transit service tend to have lower costs.

In some cities, households spend more on transportation than any other
single category, including housing. High transportation expenses can hurt
family finances by shifting money away from productive investments, such as
home ownership, and toward an asset that actually loses value over time.

"While a less expensive home far from town may seem to be a good bargain,
many families end up spending more on vehicles to reach that home," says
Barbara McCann at the Surface Transportation Policy Project.

About STPP
The Surface Transportation Policy Project is a nationwide network of more
than 250 organizations, including planners, community development
organizations, and advocacy groups devoted to improving the nation's
transportation system.  The Center for Neighborhood Technology is a
Chicago-based group inventing new tools for creating livable communities.
The full report, along with state fact sheets is available at STPP's
website, www.transact.org.

About the Institute
The Michigan Land Use Institute is an independent, non-profit research,
educational, and service organization founded in 1995. More than 2,400
households, businesses, and organizations have joined the Institute in
support of its mission to establish an approach to economic development that
strengthens communities, enhances opportunity, and protects Michigan's
unmatched natural resources.


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