FAQ

Have a question that’s not answered below?  Contact us.

Questions about Abogo

Where does the name “Abogo” come from?
What is “Location Efficiency”?
What is sustainability?
Why do you say my housing and transportation costs should be less than 45% of my income?

Questions about transportation costs

How does Abogo calculate transportation costs?
How can I lower my transportation costs?
Why are the transportation costs for my address different from what I actually spend?
Why can’t I customize how my transportation costs are calculated?
Why doesn’t it ask me where I work?
What does the “region” mean in “regional averages”?
Why are there preliminary estimates for non-metro areas?
How much is a metric ton of CO2?

Questions about site functionality

Can I save my searches?
Is Abogo’s information available for display on my own website?

Questions about the Gas Slider

What does the Gas Slider do?
Where do you get the gas price data?
Why does your model use 2007 gas prices?
Does your model assume people drive less as gas prices rise?

About Abogo

Where does the name “Abogo” come from?

“Abogo” combines the words “abode” and “go”.  Where you live and how much you spend getting around are interrelated, and so with Abogo you consider both together.

What is “Location Efficiency”?

Compact neighborhoods with walkable streets, access to transit, and a wide variety of stores and services have high location efficiency. They require less time, money, and greenhouse gas emissions for residents to meet their everyday travel requirements.  Learn more about Location Efficiency here.

What is sustainability?

True sustainability requires balancing environmental, economic, and social considerations.  With Abogo, you can evaluate the impact that your choice of neighborhood will have on the economic and environmental sustainability of your lifestyle.  Happily, what’s good for your wallet is often also good for the earth: a shorter commute with less driving is more eco-friendly, and it will likely save you money and improve your quality of life.

Why do you say my housing and transportation costs should be less than 45% of my income?

This is based on research by the Housing + Transportation Affordability Index.  The conventional wisdom is that housing costs should be less than 30% of your income, but this doesn’t take transportation costs for that place into account.  So instead of just focusing on housing being less than 30% of your income, the important thing is that housing and transportation combined are less than 45% of your income.

Transportation costs

How does Abogo calculate transportation costs?

The transportation costs you see are for an average household in the neighborhood, and are based on neighborhood and regional characteristics that we get from the US Census and other databases.  See How it Works for a brief explanation, or if you’re really interested in the nitty-gritty details, you can read The Affordability Index: A New Tool for Measuring the True Affordability of a Housing Choice (.pdf).

How can I lower my transportation costs?

Walk.  Bike.  Take public transit.  See Lower Your Costs for more ideas on how to spend less on transportation.

Why are the transportation costs for my address different from what I actually spend?

Abogo calculates transportation costs based on detailed census data, so they’re an estimate for the region’s average household living in your specific location.  But of course nobody’s average, so in the future we plan to introduce more personalization in the calculation that will give a better estimate for you.

Why can’t I customize how my transportation costs are calculated?

We’re working on it!  In the future, you’ll be able to personalize the calculation based on household size, modes of transportation, income, number of commuters, and your work location.  Sign up for updates to hear about the latest additions to Abogo.

Why doesn’t it ask me where I work?

Abogo gives an estimate for all trips made by a household, not just the commute. It’s important to remember that the commute is only 1 in 7 trips a household makes, and only takes up 18% of total miles driven.

What does the “region” mean in “regional averages”?

The regions are metropolitan areas, like the Detroit metro area or greater Los Angeles.  Not all of the regions are centered around big cities, though, so even if you live in a smaller town or out in the country, you’re in some metropolitan (or micropolitan) area.  The boundaries that we use for these regions are defined by the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and there are over 900 of them.  Currently we have transportation costs available for 337 of those.

Why are there preliminary estimates for non-metro areas?

Abogo finds transportation costs using the H + T® Index, which has detailed information for 337 metropolitan regions throughout the United States. That model was built with transit-connected urban areas in mind, and has gone through an extensive review process.  In order to estimate transportation costs in rural areas, we’ve created a new model which has not yet gone through that same process.

How much is a metric ton of CO2?

A metric ton, which is equal to 1000 kilograms, isn’t a quantity most of us deal with on a regular basis.  For perspective, think of it this way: to get a metric ton of CO2, you’d have to burn 2.33 barrels of oil.  And then it would take 3077 trees a whole month to reabsorb that one metric ton.

Site functionality

Can I save my searches?

This is a feature that Abogo will be implementing in the future.  Sign up for updates to hear about the latest additions to Abogo.

Is Abogo’s information available for display on my own website?

The Abogo API may be available for inclusion on other websites.  See here for more information.

Gas Slider

What does the Gas Slider do?

The Abogo Gas Slider allows you to change the price of gas used to estimate the total cost of transportation for a typical regional family living at a chosen address. You can choose 5 cent increments from $3 to $7. It loads at the National Average Gas price, and you can click ‘reset’ to return it to that exact price.

Where do you get the gas price data?

We use data from the US Energy Information Agency. The weekly data can be found here: http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/pet_pri_gnd_a_epmr_pte_dpgal_w.htm. There you can find weekly data stretching back decades, and broken down by region, and be selected states and cities.

Why does your model use 2007 gas prices?

On the Abogo site and map, we show a transportation cost based on travel behavior as observed in 2007.  We use this year because most  of the data in the model comes from the 2009 American Community Survey 5-year estimates (ACS), with 2007 being the mid-point. To be consistent, we also use the average regional cost of gas in the year 2007.

Does your model assume people drive less as gas prices rise?

No, our model keeps vehicle miles traveled (VMT) constant. Because our model was constructed to represent a snapshot in time (2007), we cannot make sound assumptions about how travel behavior has changed.


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