The New York Times today published a very nicely argued Op-Ed that describes a reality obvious to anyone who has shopped for a house -- houses in more "walkable" locations are more expensive. You can read it here. Many thanks to Professor Leinberger, the author of this well-crafted piece. The Op Ed summarizes the findings his recent study, published by Brookings, titled "Walk this Way."
It is interesting to ask what portion of the premium associated with more walkable houses is tied to a homeowner's expectation of spending less on transportation. The team at CNT have put together an extremely interesting tool that helps quantify this factor by address -- showing the expected total transportation expenses per household per month by address. It's called Abogo. Go ahead and play with it by clicking here, and you can read the methodology used here.
The difference in monthly transportation expenses by address is really quite startling. It can help to explain the material differences in property value found by Professor Leinberger in the "Walk this Way" study -- paying more for a walkable neighborhood means paying less every month on transportation while living in the house. So, while some portion of the property value premium accorded to more walkable houses might be related to status or another squishy value, some portion is surely hard math -- living in a unwalkable place is actually more expensive. It requires more cars per household, and more trips per person, and more miles per trip. See for yourself on Abogo.