A packed parking lot in Los Angeles, California by ChrisGoldNY licensed under Creative Commons.

How wealth is the largest determinant of private vehicle usage. How walking promotes autonomy for children and parents. Why natural light in housing shouldn’t be commodified.

It’s getting harder for Americans to afford to drive: New research published in the journal Transportation Research has found that wealth is the most important determinant of whether an individual has access to a private vehicle. As income inequality in the United States becomes more pronounced, an increasing portion of the population cannot afford to drive in a country that has designed itself to make driving a necessity to access services and opportunities. The researchers identify public transit, transit-oriented development, and ride-sharing services as possible solutions to ameliorate the transportation gap. (Matthew Rozsa | Salon)

Walking empowers children: In 2019, Holly Weir of Westminster University spent time with kids asking them about how they traveled and how being able to walk around their neighborhoods impacted them. What she found in this limited sample of children was that having the autonomy to independently move about their neighborhoods gave them a greater sense of well-being and navigational skills. (Holly Weir | The Conversation)

We should not commodify natural light: The idea of windowless bedrooms as a way to build more housing and solve our shortages has been promoted by profit-seeking developers, billionaire dorm designers, and the usual self-proclaimed centrists. But Kate Wagner argues the real reason for the housing shortage is political, and not because residents deserve natural light in their rooms. (Kate Wagner | The Nation)

Why “apartment-phobia” may be worsening the housing crisis: Over the last ten years, the number of housing units per 1,000 people in the United States has fallen, leading to a huge shortage of housing. Eric Levitz believes that the shortage is in part caused by a phobia of apartments written into zoning codes over time. The enforcement of these codes, he says, likely reinforces antipathy towards high-density development. (Eric Levitz | New York Magazine)

SEPTA stops work on the King of Prussia Rail Line: SEPTA canceled its King of Prussia rail extension after the Federal Transit Administration decided not to award the agency funding for the project. The project was expected to cost $3 billion and only serve around 10,000 riders. But the cancellation means hundreds of millions of dollars previously dedicated to the extension can go towards capital improvements, repairs, and ADA upgrades for other facilities and services. (Thomas Fitzgerald | Philadelphia Inquirer)

Quote of the Week

“Sprawl comes at a cost, and for decades parents have been paying the price. The cost is literal, yes, but it’s also figurative, or maybe just less visible. The lost time with friends who live just a little out of the way, the daily stress of wrangling your kids to take them anywhere, the economic vulnerability of owning and maintaining a car if you’re already struggling with food and housing. If you think I’m exaggerating the profound impact of cars on our daily lives, take this into account: In states that have raised the age of children in car seats, the chance of parents having a third child decreases.”

Erin Sagen in Romper discusses why she believes raising kids would be easier without cars.

This week on the podcast, we’re joined again by Dr. Jennifer Kent, senior research fellow in Urbanism at the University of Sydney, to talk about her work on family transportation, the messiness of travel for parents, and loneliness and the built environment.

Tagged: links

Jeff Wood is the Principal of The Overhead Wire, a consulting firm focused on sharing information about cities around the world. He hosts a weekly podcast called Talking Headways at Streetsblog USA and operates the daily news site The Overhead Wire.