Reducing Transportation Costs
The affordability of a housing option includes the cost of transportation – for example, having to drive a car or take the bus to access amenities or employment. Transportation costs vary greatly and depend on where housing is located.
Reducing reliance on cars and encouraging other travel options such as public transit, walking or biking, helps preserve the family budget and makes housing more affordable. Communities that provide more housing options (like high-density housing) near transit hubs have found that:
- Ridership levels increase
- Public / rapid transit becomes more viable
- Costs are reduced by making best use of existing municipal infrastructure
Other factors that contribute to successful developments and affordable housing along key transit lines include:
- A broad mix of housing types
- Local shopping and community amenities
- Employment opportunities
- Green spaces
- Appealing walking and cycling facilities
Some local governments have also explored options to reduce vehicle parking requirements and offer better bicycle parking. Parking facilities add to the cost of housing, especially in multi-family housing developments that rely on parking lots or garages.
Reducing the required number of parking spaces in residential developments lowers construction costs and the cost of living in a unit. It helps if parking spaces are sold separately from residential units, so purchasers don’t have to buy a parking spot if they don’t need one.
It’s also important to provide plenty of appropriate bicycle parking in communities.
Mid-Size Community Examples
Esquimalt: The Township indicates that they may consider bonus density floorspace, parking relaxations or other development variances where a development proposal includes affordable or special needs housing. This may apply to both market and non-market housing, and mixed-use proposals. Read the Official Community Plan (PDF, 7.5) MB
Large Community Examples
Saanich: In conjunction with bicycle parking standards – found in Section 7 of the Zoning Bylaw (PDF, 15.4 MB) – bicycle parking guidelines address the under-supply of appropriate facilities for bikes (e.g. not secure or sheltered, conflict with pedestrians or vehicles). Read the bicycle parking guidelines (PDF)
Vancouver: To encourage the development of (unstratified) rental housing, the City, through its parking bylaw, provides reduced off-street parking requirements in areas with less demand. This measure is intended to reduce the cost of constructing new rental housing and it part of the City's secure market rental policy (PDF)