The Economic Perspective: “The Linkage of Housing Affordability and Congestion”

Mary:  This is Mary Walden with economist MW welcoming you to the economic perspective.  Today’s program looks at the linking of housing affordability and congestion.  Mike, two of the biggest issues in urban areas are the affordability of housing and traffic congestion.  We often look at these as separate problems, but are they?


Mike:  Summary Answer

  • Actually, they are linked
  • Traffic congestion makes it more costly and time consuming to commute from a residence farther away from the city
  • Thus makes housing units in the city more valuable – meaning their price rises
  • So, a way to improve housing affordability is to make it easier to commute from outlying locations
  • BRTs – bus rapid transit on dedicated lanes is one way
  • Another – reduce the need to commute by having more people work from home
  • Not feasible in all cases, but technology can increase the possibilities
  • Third way – spread jobs into more geographic sites around the area
  • I’m MW


Mary:  And I’m Mary Walden for the Economic Perspective, an NC State Extension program from the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.