Research by Topic

Land Use & Transportation

Who Pays for Parking?

Monopoly Park Place. Photo by Philip Taylor, cc.

How the oversupply of parking undermines housing affordability. Read more »

Unlocking Home

Three Keys to Affordable Communities

Unlocking Home Cover

Alan Durning takes a hard look at the pinch of expensive urban housing and sees what many others have missed. Hidden in city regulations is a set of simple but powerful barriers to housing for all. These rules criminalize history’s answers to affordable dwellings: the rooming house, the roommate, the in-law apartment, and the backyard cottage. In effect, cities have banned what used to be the bottom end of the private housing market. They’ve made urban quarters expensive and scarce. In Unlocking Home: Three Keys to Affordable Community, Durning details how to revive inexpensive housing in walkable neighborhoods—at no cost to the public—by striking a few lines from municipal law books. Read more »

SR-520 Traffic: Actual vs. WSDOT Forecasts

WSDOT Projections vs Reality

Washington State Department of Transportation projections continue to outstrip actual traffic trends year after year. There are many reasons for this trend: high gas prices, economic uncertainties, demographic shifts, and (perhaps) an increase in people’s preferences for car-lite lifestyles. Regardless of the reasons, though, it may be time for transportation planners to begin adjusting their expectations. View graphic »

2012 Gasoline Consumption Report

2012 gas report infographic

Gasoline prices are high and volatile. Northwesterners are beginning to change their driving habits to adapt. Sightline’s report, Shifting into Reverse, shows that per capita vehicle travel has dropped significantly. View graphic »

Per Capita Gasoline Use in Oregon and Washington

2012 per capita gas consumption

Gasoline prices are high and volatile. Northwesterners are beginning to change their driving habits to adapt. Sightline’s report, Shifting into Reverse, shows that per capita gasoline consumption is at it’s lowest level in about 50 years. View graphic »

Per Capita VMT in Oregon and Washington

2012 vmt report graph

Gasoline prices are high and volatile. Northwesterners are beginning to change their driving habits to adapt. Sightline’s report, Shifting into Reverse, shows that per capita vehicle travel has dropped significantly. View graphic »

Shifting into Reverse

Northwest gasoline consumption makes a modest decline

2012 per capita gas consumption

High prices are taking a bite out of northwesterners’ appetite for gasoline. Total gas consumption in 2011 in Oregon and Washington has fallen modestly since the 2002 peak—driven by declines in per capita driving and gains in vehicle efficiency. Measured per person, though, residents of the two states have reduced their use of motor fuel to its lowest levels since the early 1960s—back when three dimes would buy you a gallon of gas. And early trends suggest that per capita consumption in the two states may be headed for a drop of as much as 2 percent in 2012. Read more »

Exurban Growth in Portland 1990-2010

Portland exurban growth maps, side-by-side

Over the last two decades, Clark County has added thousands of new residents to its rural areas. The implementation of Washington’s Growth Management Act in the mid-1990s appeared to have little influence on growth. View graphic »

Regional Growth in the Portland Metro 2000-2010

Map of Exurban Portland Growth 2000-2010

Rural sprawl slowed on both sides of the Columbia after 2000. Yet Clark County’s rural areas still saw substantial population growth over the decade, while Oregon’s rural areas did not. View graphic »

Rural Sprawl in Metropolitan Portland

A comparison of growth management in Oregon and Washington

Map of Exurban Portland Growth 2000-2010

The greater metro Portland, Oregon, straddles two states, offering an intriguing natural experiment for gauging the effects of different growth management laws. The Oregon side operates under the nation’s oldest and most mature growth management system, while the Washington side is governed by a newer law. Over the last two decades, Clark County, Washington, accounted for the large majority of all rural and exurban housing and population growth in the greater Portland area. Read more »