Corridor Housing Preservation Tool

Corridor Housing Preservation Tool sample results for Austin, TX

Corridor Housing Preservation Tool sample results for Austin, TX

What does it do?

Research has documented the often negative impact that the introduction of light rail transit can have on low income renters in central neighborhoods. As neighborhoods or corridors become more compact and connected, they also become desirable and increase in value. As a result, owners of aging rental properties are likely to sell or redevelop their properties. Rents are likely to rise or units may be converted to owner occupancy, and lower income households may be priced out. The changes in these corridors may thus contribute to the growing shortage of affordable rental housing in centrally-located areas. They may also undermine the ability of low income renters to rely on transit to commute to work or to needed services. Transit-dependent households displaced to areas where housing is more affordable will likely face a dramatic increase in their transportation costs—likely at the expense of other critical households needs.

Compounding this challenge is the fact that this aging—but unsubsidized--rental housing constitutes a stock of housing nearly three times the total amount of subsidized housing in the U.S. and typically serves as a city’s largest source of affordable housing. With fast rising land costs and shrinking public resources, replacing this stock with newly constructed affordable housing would take years and likely not replicate the transit access of the current stock. In contrast, rehabilitation of existing housing typically costs one-half to two-thirds as much as new construction and ensures ongoing access to transit networks.

The Corridor Housing Preservation Tool was developed with rapidly developing or gentrifying metropolitan areas in mind, where existing housing needs to be carefully considered as part of the planning process. The tool is intended to help incorporate preservation of existing affordable housing into housing, transportation, and economic development planning efforts. The tool providesa way to analyze the value of the existing stock of affordable, rental housing units as part of such processes.


The tool addresses three key questions:

  1. How much transit access to jobs does a corridor provide to low income residents?
  2. How many affordable rental units are vulnerable to redevelopment?
  3. How intense is the development pressure?

By answering these questions, local governments can make informed decisions about where and how to focus efforts to provide and protect affordable housing. 

As users step through the tool, they are prompted to gather background data to calculate three separate metrics: employment access via transit, vulnerability of affordable housing, and development pressure.  Data required to run the tool must be gathered from existing data sources as well as several Envision Tomorrow modules.  The training package, linked below, provides a step-by-step description of how to use the tool as well as a case study example exercise from the City of Austin, Texas.  To replicate the tool metrics for other metro areas, use the link below for Regional CHPT Data.  This link includes a national block group level featureclass, divided into regions, that brings together a US Census and other open source data.