See How Soaring Gas Prices Have Impacted Your Community With This Transportation Cost Heat Map

The Center for Neighborhood Technology has an fun (but painfully slow) interactive map that will allow you to see how soaring transportation costs are impacting different metro areas across the US.

We grabbed these images of Chicago as an example. As you can see, the percentage of income that people are dedicating to transportation has grown — especially in more rural areas. The site also has an interactive map of the Housing and Transportation Affordability Index (below)– so you can see where people are dedicating less than 45% (shown in yellow) of their income to housing and transportation. Living in the city never looked so good.

Housing + Transportation Affordability Index [CNT]


Edit Your Comment

  1. tande04 says:

    And now you broke the site completely…

  2. shorty63136 says:

    Yeah, somebody let me know what Atlanta looks like.

    I’m sure it’s pretty bloody.

  3. rgshredder says:

    The tubes are all clogged up…

  4. @rgshredder: No kidding. the internet is not something you can just DUMP something on!

  5. ark86 says:

    @rgshredder: That’s because we’re all gambling on the interwebs.

    Seriously though, I would really like to see what some areas of the country look like in terms of transportation spending. It’s probably going to be a key factor as I look at post-graduation jobs this coming year.

  6. Trust me, I'm a doctor says:

    How exactly does living in the city look better? Sure, I’d save money on gas moving to the city, but what about all the other higher prices? I’ll pay at least $500 more a month on housing, $200 for a parking space, and Cook county’s 10.5% sales tax is much higher than Kane County’s 7.5%. I’ll stay in the suburbs and keep paying $175 a month for a train ticket.

  7. asten77 says:

    @Trust: at least you’re taking the train. Most of the morons that live in the burbs and work in the city don’t. Hence, ridiculous amounts of traffic, pollution, and wasted money.

  8. Hate_Brian_Club_I'mNotOnlyThePresidentI'mAClient says:

    @Trust me, I’m a doctor:
    I’m happy to report many others in our fair city don’t follow your good example and for that I am grateful – it makes it a lot easier for me to get a seat on the train and the $100 a month I spend on the train as opposed to a more ridiculous form of transportation gives me more disposable income to spend on expensive Chicago pasttimes, i.e. drinking.

    P.S. Saving $500? What suburb do you live in, Iowa?

  9. howie_in_az says:

    Wow, the site is already unusable? It’s just serving up static images, right?

  10. dculberson says:

    @Trust me, I’m a doctor: The map theoretically includes housing cost differentials, so even counting those it claims living in the city is cheaper – at least in Chicago.

  11. dculberson says:

    @dculberson: I of course meant the second map.

  12. Thunderpants says:

    Well, as someone who lives in the city, I can tell you that yes, we save gas money by using the CTA to commute to work, but we pay in other ways, like not being able to afford a house with a backyard, property taxes, higher sales taxes, etc.

    And my CTA train trip from the NW side of the city to downtown Chicago is an hour and 10 minutes each way, the same as most suburbanites on Metra. So we break even on time.

  13. EyeHeartPie says:

    @howie_in_az: Article says the maps are interactive. I assume something like Google Maps overlayed with this info.

  14. @Trust me, I’m a doctor: They give you both transit costs as a percent of income, and transit+housing as a percent of income. The second should give you a better picture with the housing price factored in.

    My area isn’t/wasn’t on the map last time I looked, but we’ve been doing a similar calculation — we pay more in property taxes than people do up north in the wealthy suburbs, but we actually have gotten the point where it would cost us quite a bit more in gas for our commute than we’d save in property taxes.

    (We also like our house, which is a cute little 1950 brick cottage on a city lot with a yard; if we moved out to the burbs, it’s all McMansions butt-up against each other built of siding and very little else. We’d have twice as much in-home space, but the house would cost three times as much, the yards are a wash, and the neighborhoods are booorrrrrrring.)

    The real question here is, “When does gas get so expensive I can live in the city and it’s cheaper to send my kids to private school than it is to live in the burbs and send them public?” A few of our friends judge that line has already been crossed.

  15. GameBreaker says:

    Sweet, and you saved me from having to look it up! 0-15% FTW!

  16. Chicago has a bunch of companies in the suburbs (Sears, Motorola, Kraft to name a few) that beats the whole point of the suburbs. I never accepted a job in the suburbs. I biked from Lakeview to The Loop to work. Except during the winter when I took the L (and, can you believe it, it takes longer on the L) and both my wallet and my legs are thankful for it.

  17. ragold says:

    1996 called, it wants its online maps back.

  18. GiltProto says:

    Once upon a time, in Chicago, there was a thing known as reverse commuting that resulted in fast and efficient commutes. That’s when you lived in the city and worked in the suburbs. Now everything has gone to hell and it’s difficult to drive in any direction without traffic jams. On the other hand decent commutes are still possible between suburbs beyond a radius roughly 25 miles centered in downtown.

    Why things are so red out in the hinterlands on the 2008 map is hard to figure. That’s still mostly farmland so either farmers make much less money or they are including transportation costs of fueling their tractors and harvesting combines. I dunno.

  19. mgy says:

    Can anyone explain to me why we here in Missouri enjoy the lowest gas prices in the nation?

  20. @mgy:


  21. julieannie says:

    It looks like the only people in my area paying < the 45% for housing/trans are the people who are living in the rural houses over 50 years old or the people in the city who have access to public transportation.

  22. ageshin says:

    I would like to point out that the gas prices in the city of Chicago are among the highest in the country on average. Gas is cheaper in the suberbs and it get cheaper the farther you get from the city. Chicago had a great public transpertation system in the past, with a fine light rail system and elevated train and subways that enabled its citizens to get around without the car. The fifties saw an end to this with the dismantaling of the light rail system for buses and a vast expanding of the freeway system. The city also was an industrial center with jobs in the city plentiful. This has all changed with most of the jobs either moving to Mexico, and other sites, or to the suberbs. All these factors go into explaining the above map. The city still has a fair public system, but the car is still king.

  23. $4.19 is the absolute lowest I can find gas for within 20 miles of my house. And I don’t live in California. Can anyone guess where I live?

  24. stan210 says:

    I just checked out this site. There’s a lot of comments on here about it being slow, but I didn’t have that problem. I did notice that this post has gotten over 11,000 views – maybe we overwhelmed them yesterday! Check back though – seems better today, and definitely worth it.