Housing Density Near Transit Corridors
Author: Ariel L | Category: Environment | Date: 08-05-2020
The topics of housing density and transit corridors have appeared in plenty of city council meetings and environmental conversations throughout the United States. In various cities, people are debating the positive and negative effects of more housing and the influential nature that transportation plays. Housing should be built along transit corridors because it benefits the environment. The relationship between housing density and transit corridors is unknown by many. Housing Density is the amount of houses in a certain area. For example, cities like New York have higher housing densities, whereas lower housing density levels mostly exist in rural cities. Transit corridors tie into the subject of housing density because transit corridors are methods of transportation. They tend to be walkable distances where transportation is convenient. If one lives by a transit corridor, for example, then buses or trains would presumably be right around the corner. However, many people do not live in the most convenient spots for transportation.
Idaho Falls citizen, Judith, stated in an APTA interview, “‘I'm a disabled senior citizen. I depend on public transportation to get around -- from everything to errands, shopping, medical appointments and other basic, everyday essentials that others take for granted. I simply can't afford to get around without public transportation’” (CTAA). Judith is an example of the many who live in rural areas where closeby transportation is essential. As a result, how do we fix the problem of inconvenient transportation while also keeping the environment in mind? The simple answer to this question is by building housing by transportation.
Building housing near transportation has many useful effects, such as benefiting the environment. Most people living in the Bay Area know that traffic is an evident problem. Whether you are driving to work or going to school, there are no shortages of traffic jams. In order to mitigate this issue in many cities, we can incorporate transit corridors. According to Bloomberg City Lab, “The intuition is straightforward: Transit is most attractive to commuters who face the worst congestion... Since drivers on heavily congested roads have a much higher marginal impact on congestion than drivers on the average road, transit has a large impact on reducing traffic congestion” (Bloomberg City Lab). Building housing by transit corridors will decrease gridlock while also lessening the amount of pollution emissions from cars in the environment. In order to increase housing density, cities will need to build attached homes that line transit corridors, which don’t cost very much to maintain. The money saved from this can be spent following through on environmental protection plans or planting more trees in different areas of the city.
Some successful places which have high density housing in transit corridors are Taiwan, Japan, and Hong Kong. According to the New York Times, the capital of Taiwan, Taipei, “flaunts its modernity in high-tech company headquarters, an ultraefficient public transportation system” (New York Times). What is this ultraefficient public transportation system? Well, Taiwan is home to the high speed railroad system, also known as the bullet train. It goes from the South (Zuoying) all the way to the North (Taipei). There are many stops along the way and different types of trains to get to different cities. When I go to Taiwan, I often ride different trains as they are so convenient. There is always a train station nearby within walking distance. We can learn from Taiwan by having housing near transportation such as trains. This mode of transit can save valuable time for working class people by eliminating the possibility of traffic, while also helping keep our air cleaner.
Even though increasing housing density in transit corridors massively benefits the environment and people, it may not be the most ideal project to begin as we are currently in a pandemic. As a cautionary matter, people are reluctant to be on public transportation due to the fear of catching COVID-19. However, we can use this time to start planning and thinking about housing near transportation. We should do what’s best for the Earth by making transit more efficient. Building Housing by Transit Corridors is just another step in the process of creating a better environment.
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