By: Michael A. Spotts, President
Earlier this month, Enterprise Community Partners released the third installment of its Promoting Opportunity through Equitable TOD series: Navigating Federal Transportation Policy. During my tenure with the Enterprise Policy Development & Research team, I had the pleasure of working on this series, which also included reports on Making the Case and Barriers to Success and Best Practices for Implementation.
In this latest report, author Ahmad Abu-Khalaf gives an overview of the ways in which federal policy promotes or inhibits the ability to create affordable, multi-modal communities with access to opportunity. In many ways, federal transportation policies can have just as much (if not more) impact on equitable housing outcomes than housing policies. For instance, the report highlights the impact of federal highway spending on suburbanization and the disinvestment of central cities during the 20th century. These decisions could had macro-level impacts sufficient to undermine even the most well-intentioned housing investments. Unfortunately, housing policy during this period (and in some cases, through the present day) were often malign, including the enforcement of racially-biased redlining practices.
Navigating Federal Transportation Policy provides details on how state, regional and local stakeholders can work to move past this legacy and create more equitable communities. It addresses three core categories of intervention: prioritization and planning, funding, and utilizing publicly owned parcels. In short, while the incentives built into many federal policies and funding programs generally make auto-oriented housing development patterns the "path of least resistance," progress has been made in recent years that creates a viable path forward for community developers and others looking to create more accessible, affordable development patterns.
For more information, on this and other related reports, visit the Enterprise Policy Development & Research page.
Additional research on equitable transit-oriented development and the use of publicly-owned parcels is also available on the Neighborhood Fundamentals Projects and Publications page.