Discover the Impacts of eTOD

Equitable transit-oriented development can boost household budgets, neighborhood economies, and the environment. But because TOD in Chicago has not always included units for households of all incomes, many neighborhoods leave this value on the table. CNT designed the Social Impact Calculator to better capture this unrealized potential.

The Calculator reveals the benefits of affordable housing near transit to help developers select better sites, design unit mix, and educate the public and decision makers.

Housing Affordability

After housing, transportation is the second highest cost in a household budget. For low-income households, transit, access to jobs, and a walkable neighborhood all affect whether that household can choose lower cost alternatives to the car to get around. The Calculator models the transportation affordability for residents of a development based on its unit mix, population served, and neighborhood characteristics.

Neighborhood Economy

When neighborhoods add housing, it increases spending power. An affordable multifamily building can add hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars in neighborhood consumer spending, which can support grocery stores, pharmacies, and other community needs. The Calculator quantifies that boost to local retail based on the combined incomes of building residents.


Affordable housing near transit is good for the climate. Chicago’s spatial mismatch between jobs and housing forces lower income households to rely on cars to drive long distances for work and other needs. But when an affordable housing building is located near transit, residents can use other options to get to jobs and other destinations and can drive less. The Calculator measures that building’s impact in producing greenhouse gases.

Please contact CNT for technical assistance in putting these metrics into practice and achieving more equitable outcomes in Chicago.