Research Projects

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Research Projects

STATUS: Complete YEAR: 2015 TOPIC AREA: Integrating freight and passenger systems CENTER: METRANS UTC

Developing Affordable Housing Guidelines Near Rail Transit in Los Angeles

Project Summary

Funding Source


Total Project Cost


Agency ID or Contract Number

Grant No: 65A0533

Start and End Dates

8/15/2015 to 8/14/2016

Brief Description of
Research Project

Los Angeles County has over 100 rail transit stations open or scheduled to open in the next decade. Two questions are central to sound land use planning near stations, but have not been effectively analyzed together. First, will development near rail stations support Los Angeles’ goals for more affordable housing?  Second, as residents move into transit-oriented developments, will those new residents use transit more and drive less, supporting California’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction goals?
We will compare the effect of different station-area development typologies on both housing affordability and GHG emissions. Our objective is to inform planning and housing policy in the City of Los Angeles and in the broader Los Angeles metropolitan area.
We will build a small number of development scenarios for station areas. Each scenario will be a possible development future for a station area, including specifications for the number of new units, the unit size, the split between rental and owner-occupied dwellings, density levels, and the mix of housing and employment-generating (e.g. retail, commercial, service) land uses. As a separate but linked step, we will use the most recent travel diary data for the Los Angeles region, the 2012 California Household Travel Survey (CHTS), to estimate relationships between household income and vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in neighborhoods with and without rail transit. Those data will be used to forecast how driving can be expected to change for households of different income levels if they move from neighborhoods without rail transit to places served by rail transit, or vice versa. We will develop forecasts of the impact of each scenario’s station area development future on both the stock of affordable housing and on VMT changes. Those station-area scenarios and impacts will be aggregated into system-wide portfolios. The result will be an analysis of both VMT reduction and housing affordability derived from scenarios that can be easily related to development plans.




Raphael Bostic
Professor, Sol Price School of Public Policy
650 Childs Way
Ralph and Goldy Lewis Hall 201CLos Angeles, CA 90089-0626
United States
[email protected]


Marlon Boarnet
Senior Associate Dean, Academic Affairs; Professor & Director of Graduate Programs in Urban Planning, Sol Price School of Public Policy
650 Childs Way
Ralph and Goldy Lewis Hall (RGL) 301CLos Angeles, CA 90089-0626
United States
[email protected]