Proximity to Transit Linked to Home Value and other Advantages

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

What factors do home owners look for when deciding what and where to purchase? As the adage goes, "Location, Location, Location." However, the question is then, location in relation to what? The answer may well be Transit.

Never more apparent that during an economic recession, the real estate market can be a volatile place. However, those properties which are easily accessible to public transportation, regardless of form, weather digs in the market much more gracefully. In fact, recent data indicates that properties within a half mile of a bus stop or train station performed 42 percent better than those properties that were inaccessible. This varies by market, of course, but overwhelmingly true that if you want to make a stable real estate investment, proximity to transit is a strong indicator. As reported by US News, "In Boston, residential property in the rapid transit area outperformed other properties in the region by 129 percent. In the Chicago, public transit area home values performed 30 percent better than the region; in San Francisco, 37 percent; Minneapolis-St Paul, 48 percent; and in Phoenix, 37 percent." 

Besides the obvious advantages of more options for travel and lower cost of transportation when mass transit is nearby, home owners who invested in property near public transit are likely to find also a greater breadth of job opportunities within reach. Those who live in communities which are built up and around transit have access to two and in some cases even three times as many jobs. 

"Investment in public transportation corridors can be a true economic driver," says Michael Melaniphy, president and CEO of the American Public Transportation Association, as quoted by US News. "It's more than just getting people from point A to point B. Cities that have good public transit have on the whole been much more resilient through the backend of this recession — you can't get people back to work if they can't get there."

Mass Transit Use Up Overall, But not Everywhere

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Despite the recent good news that US ridership of public transportation was nearly record-breaking this year, the fact remains that this just isn't true everywhere. While overall usage of mass transit is improving, there are certainly markets within the United States where public transportation isn't even receiving basic care and maintenance, nonetheless being cultivated as an essential part of our communities.

Interestingly, and rather poignantly, many of the areas wherein mass transit failed to thrive were areas where legislation that would have instituted funding measures failed to pass. No one likes paying more taxes, but keeping our communities' infrastructure maintained and supported is crucial to developing neighborhoods that thrive. Sadly, in the cases of cities like Atlanta, Georgia, and Tacoma, Washington, it seems that a passing vote in favor of increases of a mere penny or a fraction of a percentage increase in sales tax would have made the difference. One can only wonder if perhaps similar votes will go differently in communities wherein transit ridership is lagging the next time around, but it seems an obvious guess that without the willingness to put into supporting and renewing our public transit, the system will continue to deteriorate and eventually will fail. For more, read the full article at The Atlantic Cities.

Transit Ridership in 2012 Second Highest of All Time

Friday, March 15, 2013

For a variety of reasons, from concerns over pollution to enjoying some quiet time during their commute, more people are utilizing Mass Transit, saving money on their travels, and helping ease traffic congestion by doing so.

As reported by CNN, according to a report by the American Public Transportation Association, the numbers are in for 2012. Since data collection began in 1957, 2012 ranks as the year with the second highest ridership on mass transit, coming in just below 2008. With an increase of 1.5% over 2011-- equal to about 154.3 million rides-- 2012's numbers are especially impressive considering the blows that mass transit took because of intense weather conditions including 'Superstorm Sandy', which left much of the East Coast crippled. 

What factors are influencing more consumers to utilize mass transit? The advantages are plentiful and becoming more and more obvious to cost-concerned travelers. Although many riders started using buses and trains as a way to avoid the $4+ gas prices, most stuck with the lifestyle change after realizing it also spared them from traffic and the general unpleasantness of rush hour commuting! While on a bus or train, one can read, get some work done, even take a nap. We're also seeing more communities implementing public transit and improving older systems, improving the experience just that much more. 

Mass transit seems to be gaining support from voters across the country as well. It has even been theorized that this shift in favor of public transportation may be largely attributed to younger riders, so perhaps we'll continue to see these strides in ridership. Whatever the reason behind this boost, sustaining this increased usage of mass transit can only aid in creating several factors which are beneficial to our communities: a reduction in pollution, eased congestion and less traffic, and an overall healthier demographic of people.

"God Created Transit"

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

This wonderful video by Next City spoke to us! This lovely commercial really captures the complete value of a system than serves our communities in so many ways. What do you think?

Ride-Sharing meets Public Transportation

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

The European Union, despite battling different cultural approaches to 'timeliness', boasts a strong movement towards ride-sharing. Perhaps due to the extremely high costs of car ownership, European ride-sharing services have grown to the hundreds of thousands in membership, with the largest service, www.CarPooling.com, boasting 1 Million members. (By contrast, the largest ride-sharing platforms in the US book approximately 20,000 rides per month.)

The greatest challenge in providing ride-sharing services, as we've seen demonstrated time and again in the US, tends to be lack of available rides to destinations that members actually plan to travel to. These large European networks have solved this dillemma and even won over those users who may have been dubious by implementing intricate user profiles as well as member reviews, creating strong trust in forming and utilizing the ride-sharing network.

What's more, CarPooling.com- based in Munich- and it's French runner up, BlaBlaCar, claim to be inter-modal methods of booking transportation. Currently, although it's possible to book bus, train, and plane tickets in addition to setting up ride-shares, these networks allow users to book only one format of travel at a time. Both sites are working to overcome this. As reported by TriplePundit.com, Odile Beniflah, a Senior Product Manager at Carpooling, says that hasn’t stopped motivated users from manually creating complex multi-modal itineraries, one leg at a time. Read the full article here.

Here in the States, we can only hope to see Ridesharing grow to the degree where interacting with Trains, Buses, and Airplanes becomes a challenge. Start small by carpooling to work, and see how your efforts pay off to save you time and money. Know also that all of your ride-sharing efforts are helping ease congestion and pollution!