Housing and Transportation.

Housing's Proximity to Max Light Rail Stations

Questions and Visualizations

How and where does private investment, like the development of housing, dovetail with transportation investment? 

Well, to help you determine that, we've created a visual mapping building permit data alongside light rail stations in Portland. 

This is meant to summarize the past 20 years of building permit application data.

Does breaking it down by quadrant give us better insight to…  

geographic variations in transportation accessibility? Well, to help answer that, we've broken our data on distance to nearest light rail by quadrant and assembled some more numbers for you.

These are meant to summarize 20 years of building permit application data.

All Quadrants:


















Understanding This Visual:


Look to the right for a bar graph 

showing median distance to the nearest light rail station alongside cumulative development.

A shade of darker purple indicates more development in a particular quadrant.

The graph is interactive; feel free to hover over each bar for more information.


Are developments being built closer to transportation hubs over the years?

Well to help you determine that, look to the right and below for some numbers and a line graph showing trends in accessibility to transportation hubs by quadrant.

Measured by median, housing built in the years 2010 to 2019 is 


 miles closer to a light rail station than housing built in the years 2000 to 2009.

Understanding This Visual:


Look to the right for a graph showing trends in the median distance to the nearest light rail station. It is segmented by quadrant. 

The graph is interactive; feel free to filter as you see fit.

Hover over any point in time to view exact 


Understanding This Visual:


Look to the left for a geographic timelapse of cumulative 

development and transportation 

accessibility over the 

past 20 years. 

If you would like to experiment with this map's timelapse functionality yourself, scroll back up to the interactive map at the top of this page.



Understanding This Section:


In the process of analyzing, visualizing, and presenting this data--we have learned a lot . Below are some of the most salient insights we have found. 


We encourage you not to stop with just the insights we have below, but instead, we ask that you make use of our visualizations and try to find more.

  • There seems to be little correlation as to where housing has been built vs. where light rail stations have been built (or exist.)

  • Portland has invested $18 billion on housing over the past 20 years, but only $3 billion light rail over the past 40 years.

  • Housing today is being built marginally closer to light rail stations than housing built 10 years ago.

  • Homes built in Northeast Portland are closest to light rail stations.

  • Homes built in Northwest Portland are furthest from light rail stations.

  • Northeast Portland and Southeast Portland have higher levels of light rail accessibility as well as higher levels of development. 

  • North Portland, despite having relatively accessible light rail stations, has demonstrated relatively lower levels of development.