University of California Transportation Center
Is Jobs-Housing Balance a Transportation Issue?
- Author(s): Giuliano, Genevieve
- et al.
Jobs-housing balance has become a major planning and public policy issue. Despite its popularity and apparent acceptance among public policy makers as a solution for traffic congestion and air pollution problems, there is little consensus on what jobs-housing balance means and little evidence that a jobs-housing balance policy would have any significant effect on these problems. The jobs-housing balance policy is premised on the idea that job and housing location choices are closely linked, and that policy intervention is required to achieve a balance of housing and jobs. Existing evidence suggests that the relationship between where people choose to live and work is complex, and may have little to do with job access considerations. Further, patterns of urban growth and travel indicate that balancing occurs as part of the urban development process. It is concluded that jobs-housing balance is not an effective solution for traffic congestion and air pollution concerns. Rather, these problems are better addressed in a more direct way.