As roads in major metropolitan areas become increasingly congested and studies show longer commute times lead to poor physical and emotional health, people are embracing public transit.

Riding the bus to work is not always the most pleasant activity – especially on cold rainy days – but in fact, it leads to lower stress, more physical activity, and a reduced carbon footprint. Additionally, people who regularly use public transportation report fewer costs associated with transit than those who drive to work. While the wealthy are better able to afford the costs associated with driving to work every day, the fact of the matter is, they prefer not to. This preference for taking public transit is driving up the cost of housing near public transit hubs and nudging poorer residents farther away from city centers into the surrounding area.  

Depending on your current living situation, you might associate public transportation with lower income housing and a depressed socioeconomic environment, but in fact, in major cities, residents are willing to pay top dollar to live near public transit hubs. Why? It’s simple: People like to live near transit. Public transportation means options – it means accessibility, mobility. 

Older cities were often built with this in mind, but it is critical for today’s urban planners to include affordable housing near transit to reduce costs for those who need it most. It is fine for wealthier residents to live near the subway, if that’s where the prime real estate is constructed, but there should be convenient and affordable transportation options for lower wage earners as well.

Commercial real estate firms like FLH Company and Westfield Group make it their business to recognize these trends in the market years before the true shift occurs. Areas that at one time were considered dangerous or unappealing are quickly revealing new development as the demand for housing near public transportation increases.

Recent data by the American Public Transit Association show that despite a weak housing market, over a five year period transit-proximate homes more successfully retained their value than homes without convenient transportation options. 

Whether or not you are the type of commuter who drives to work or takes public transportation, the appeal of public transit is on the rise across the globe.