Live, Work, and be Healthy along the Green Line

Do you work at a Green Line institution? Looking to relocate? Whether you’re renting or buying, living and working close to transit, especially light rail, promises significant benefits for your wallet and health.

Image courtesy of Corridors of Opportunity TeamMany Twin Cities households spend more on transportation than housing. Forgoing driving for transit can save one household thousands of dollars annually. The American Public Transportation Association found that the average household without a car saves $9,200 annually. In the Twin Cities, the average cost of living in the suburbs compared to living in the Central Corridor and using the Green Line for transportation is $10,000 greater.

There is a high demand for affordable multi-family housing in the Central Corridor, and Plymouth-based developer Dominium plans to help fulfill that need. During spring 2017, it will begin construction of a $60 million, 216-unit affordable apartment complex located a short walk from the Raymond Avenue Green Line station. The existing Carleton Artist Lofts are located adjacent to the Raymond Avenue station and rented at affordable rates. Both developments are part of the Big Picture Project, a public-private partnership which aims to increase the number of affordable housing units built and maintained along the Green Line.

The financial benefits of living and working along the Green Line are impressive, but the perks don’t end there: choosing transit over driving also has a number of health benefits. Adults who take transit are more likely to achieve daily physical activity goals and are less likely to experience health issues such as obesity, heart disease, and high blood pressure, and enjoy better mental health.

Michael Huber, health consultant at the Center for Prevention of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, notes the strong inverse relationship between obesity and active transportation use. Transit users walk more throughout the day and meet or exceed the daily walking target for heart health of 22 minutes per day, which fewer than half of adults in the United States achieve.

Bassett, D. et al. (2008) Walking, Cycling, and Obesity Rates in Europe, North America, and Australia. Journal of Physical Activity and Health 5: 795-814.Research shows a high inverse correlation between “rates of active transportation”—namely, trips taken on foot, bike, bus, or train—and obesity. In a study tracking health indicators in the United States and Europe from 1994 to 2006, U.S. participants took transit the least—and were the most obese.

There are societal benefits to choosing public transit. Fewer cars on the road correlate to fewer traffic accidents and less air pollution. Making the choice to live and work near the Green Line can save you money, improve your health, and positively impact your overall well-being.