Thursday, August 18, 2016

How Does the Cost of Urban Sprawl Compare Internationally?

Sprawl Tax: How the US stacks up internationally ( Joe Cortright, City Commentary, Jun.7, 2016)

Also discussed here: Transportation Costs and the Spatial Organization of Economic Activity (Abstract, Stephen J. Redding, Matthew A. Turner, National Bureau of Economic Research, Jun. 2014)

Today we review a comparison of the costs of sprawl in terms of extra transportation costs for commuting and added time in traffic. Results show that the average daily commute time in the US and Canada is well above (50-62 minutes) that of 17 countries in Europe. As a percent of household income transportation costs are highest for the US at 18% (or $1,500/household )followed by Austria, Canada and Portugal at 15-16% and an average of 12.8% overall (where the higher fuel prices in Europe are countered by the longer commute trips in the US and Canada). sprawl tax  

Key Quotes:

“the average American household spent approximately 18 percent of its budget on transportation. Among the other 16 countries, none spent more than 16 percent, and the average spending level was just 12.8 percent. That means a typical US household spent about five percentage points more of its income on transportation than the residents of other developed countries—which translates to about $1,500 every year.”

“The average American worker spent about 51 minutes commuting between home and work and back again—more than all but one other country in the sample. That exception was Canada, where the typical worker spent 63 minutes on their commute—but the rest were lower, all the way down to Portugal, where roundtrip commutes took up just 29 minutes per worker per day. For the other 15 nations examined the average commute time was 39 minutes—about 12 minutes less per day than in the US.”

 “Compared to other high income nations, we spend about $1,500 per household on transportation costs and about $770 per worker more on commute time costs.”

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