Housing and transit challenge : anticipating neighborhood change in Houston's rail corridors
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The expansion of Houston’s rail transit network and related transit-oriented development will transform the city’s growth pattern for decades to come. Environmental, public health, and accessibility improvements may accrue, however, what impact will the added infrastructure have on Houston’s neighborhoods, particularly on lower income households more sensitive to displacement pressures? This professional report seeks to clarify and evaluate the housing-transit connection occurring along the city of Houston’s light rail corridors by triangulating between revealed and stated preferences, at both the national and local level. The literature review reveals light rail transit induces neighborhood change significantly more than other transit modes, and, that both access and design-related features catalyze land value appreciation. Consequently, meta-studies on transit impact were reviewed to provide a framework to analyze all three corridors in Houston. Current household characteristics in Houston’s transit corridors reveal striking similarities to those that have incurred drastic neighborhood change in other parts of the country. These studies foreshadow in-migration of higher-income, owner-occupied, and more car-user households into light rail transit neighborhoods. Accordingly, these findings inform my call for local and state efforts to anticipate neighborhood change by leveraging the production of more affordable housing for the corridors through Houston’s special purpose districts and the state’s distribution of low-income housing tax credits.