eTOD Briefs

Technical Assistance Available for your eTOD Project

CNT’s Social Impact Calculator Can Guide Predevelopment For Affordable Housing Near Transit

CNT announces available technical assistance in helping community organizations and developers in Cook County support equitable transit-oriented development (eTOD). When neighborhoods add eTOD, households have greater choice for a place to live, a place to work, and a variety of transportation options connecting the two. eTOD helps lower income residents save money on transportation, it grows neighborhood economies, and it makes room for neighbors of all backgrounds. But as TOD has gained steam this real estate cycle, only a few developments have added units that serve all incomes and backgrounds.

That’s why CNT designed the Social Impact Calculator. It can help community developers overcome many common predevelopment challenges to adding affordable housing near transit. Neighbors and elected officials often need education about the benefits of eTOD when it is proposed in their area. Limited subsidy dollars and competition from private investors can make it difficult to prioritize sites near transit for affordable developments. And better data is needed to help provide the right amount of parking and save development costs.

The Calculator models the social and economic impact of an eTOD project project located in Cook County based on its neighborhood, access to transit, number of units, and population served. It also helps compare sites near and away from transit when making development decisions. Finally, the Calculator identifies whether a parcel is located within a Difficult Development Area, Qualified Census Tract, and Opportunity Area, and can be used to track the impact of new eTOD projects in development proposals.

CNT can offer you assistance using the Social Impact Tool to support your project. We can help you with:

Educational materials. Community skepticism about affordable housing near transit can slow the predevelopment process and increase the risk that a project will not move forward. Concerns about parking, traffic, and density can underlie deeper anxiety about community change. CNT can help you utilize the Social Impact Calculator to ground these conversations in data and facts. We can help create talking points and community messages to help you win resident and political approval for your project. For example, CNT applied its metrics to support City approval for a zoning change for an eTOD in Jefferson Park.

Parking analysis and presentations. Affordable housing near transit often needs fewer parking spaces than conventional locations. And because it can cost more than $37,300 to construct a structured space, excessive parking can result in fewer units created and move a pro forma out of the black and into the red. Chicago’s TOD Ordinance allows developments to proceed with fewer parking spaces and CNT can help use its research to help you set the right size. In Logan Square, CNT has helped Bickerdike set an appropriate number of spaces for an upcoming development near transit.

Site selection. When affordable housing is built on those sites nearest to transit, it maximizes’ residents opportunity to save money on transportation and get to jobs. However, private market competition for these sites is increasing in some markets. In others, more attainable and easily assembled parcels might be far from a train station. CNT’s Social Impact Calculator can help you sort through the available options and identify the sites that maximize access to opportunity for future building residents. The Calculator helps measure the access to opportunity for low-income households from one site to the next.

CNT can work with you with customized applications of the Calculator to help you meet your predevelopment challenges. Together, we can add more affordable housing near transit.

Please contact for assistance on your project. Located outside of Cook County? Email us to talk about other ways CNT can support your work in eTOD.

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