These papers explore transportation disadvantage, for example looking at suburbanization of poverty, commuting and car ownership costs, access to drivers licenses, and social exclusion.
Commuting Mode Share and Workplace-Based Public Transport Services: An Equity Perspective
Pauline Vermesch, Ecole Polytechnique de MontrealShow Abstract
Genevieve Boisjoly (firstname.lastname@example.org), Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal
Lachapelle Ugo, University of Quebec
Forced car ownership, defined as owning a car despite having limited economic resources, is an increasingly prevalent issue that places low-income households under significant economic stress. This is largely due to the car-oriented development that has prevailed in the last decades in most metropolitan regions. Knowing that the desire to access employment opportunities, combined with the lack of adequate transport alternatives, is a major factor contributing to the acquisition of a car among low-income households, this research investigates car use to access employment locations from a social equity perspective. The study seeks to understand the relationship between public transport services at the workplace and commuting mode share, by combining detailed workplace-based census data with public transport schedule data. The results show that employment locations with high shares of low-income (LI) workers are spatially dispersed across the territory. Furthermore, the linear regression model demonstrates that, in addition to the proximity of a metro station, frequent bus services are strongly associated with a decrease of the modal share of car, especially in areas concentrating larger shares of LI workers. By focusing on work locations, this study complements travel behaviour and equity research, which is typically based on the residential location of different socio-economic groups. This study sheds light on the possible equity benefits of transport policies aiming at developing frequent bus services to support lower use of cars among LI workers and is of relevance to researchers and policymakers wishing to explore potential levers to reduce car dependency among low-income households.
Equitable Transit Futures: The Distribution of Benefits of a Proposed Rapid Transit Line in Toronto
Jeff Allen (email@example.com), University of TorontoShow Abstract
Steven Farber, University of Toronto, Scarborough
Assessing whether the benefits of proposed public transit projects are fairly distributed across population groups is increasingly becoming an important part of transit planning practice. In this paper, we outline and exemplify a procedure for evaluating the equity impacts of a new transit line. Specifically, this procedure incorporates census-based socio-economic data and the output of travel demand models to examine the distribution of benefits across a comprehensive set of outcomes: access to transit stations, access to destinations by transit, travel times, and transit travel demand. This procedure is focused on low-income and other low-SES populations who arguably have the greatest need for transit improvements. Importantly, our procedure incorporates a sensitivity analysis to account for the possibility of increased income segregation or transit-induced gentrification on future equity outcomes of the transit line. This is exemplified for the Ontario Line, a proposed rapid transit project in Toronto, Canada. The main finding, consistent across most facets of the analysis, is that the benefits of the Ontario Line are forecasted to be fairly evenly spread across all levels of socioeconomic status in the region, with modest concentrations specifically among low-income populations.
Commuting in Context: A Qualitative Study of Transportation Challenges for Disadvantaged Job Seekers in Chicago, IL
Chelsie Coren, University of Illinois, ChicagoShow Abstract
Kate Lowe (firstname.lastname@example.org), University of Illinois, Chicago
Jesus Barajas, University of California, Davis
Quantitative studies demonstrate important commute patterns and challenges by race and location, but less is known about how intersecting systems of community, structural racism, transportation, and employment dynamics interact to shape job search travel and commute experiences among people of color, those without four-year college degrees, and others facing employment barriers. This study adopts a qualitative approach to identify understudied and intersecting factors in the transportation experiences of disadvantaged job seekers, especially those identifying as Black. It finds that they experience a complex web of transportation barriers to employment, including those related to jobs–population spatial and schedule mismatches that largely fall along racial lines, resulting in lost opportunities and heavy commutes burdens. Results show that job accessibility assessments will be overly optimistic without accounting for security concerns that exist in some locations and that disproportionately impact people of color. Job seekers desired quality jobs in closer proximity and more coordination between employers and transit agencies. Respondents suggested that employers, who sometimes are biased towards hiring those with personal vehicles, are disconnected from transportation experiences the entry-level workforce faces. Findings show that spatial mismatch strategies need broader understandings of lived—rather than solely modelled—job accessibility. While transportation improvements are needed, the findings show that transportation strategies are insufficient without holistic strategies, such as equitable community and economic development.
Inequalities in Micro-Urban Social Factors are Critical to the Sustainability of Mobility:
A Typology Approach to U.S. Cities
Patricia Romero-Lankao (email@example.com), National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)Show Abstract
Alana Wilson, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
Daniel Zimny-Schmitt, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
Electric vehicles (EVs) are seen as one of the transformational technological solutions to our sustainability challenges, and cities offer unique opportunities to electrify transportation. However, transformations do not only involve technological innovations, but also new markets, user adoption and practices. Among these the unequal socio-spatial contexts shaping mobility are a critical, yet relatively underexplored, dimension . This paper integrates relevant literature into a micro-urban social typology (MUST) to examine the diverse, unequal characteristics of MUSTs in cities of nine U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Current transformations in mobility will advance at different speeds depending on socio-spatial context, begging three questions: Where does adoption occur, or not occur? How does it occur, and what factors shape unequal mobility needs within and across urban areas? What are the implications of current socio-spatial inequalities in technology adoption and sustainability outcomes for the mobility futures of cities? T o address these questions, we apply a typology approach that combines normalization and agglomerative clustering techniques using Python to show how socio-spatial variations in adoption and outcomes are shaped by the interplay of s ocio-demographic, e conomic, t echnological, e nvironmental, and g overnance (SET E G) factors. We produced five clusters or MUSTs named after the astrological signs of Taurus, Virgo, Pisces, Aries and Libra. One of the key findings of our study is that with an adoption level of 00.4%, the use of EVs is a rare occurrence across MUSTs. Besides occupying the highest and lowest levels on the socioeconomic status spectrum, Pisces and Aries are the main early adopter of EVs and the main user of alternative transportation modes, respectively. This shows that an emphasis on EV adopters, who generally dwell in low density areas and have the means to afford mobility innovations, leads to overlook the whole spectrum of factors shaping mobility needs and outcomes across the five MUSTs. Addressing socio-spatial differences in mobility needs of lower-income populations, represented by Aries, Taurus and Virgo and inhabiting denser areas, in sustainable and just ways requires technological innovations tailored to their differing settlement types and mobility needs, with other modes, such as electrification of transit and micro-mobility, assuming greater importance. We close with some thoughts on the implications for the future of cities, of our findings on socio-spatial inequalities in adoption and outcomes.
License to Drive: The Effect of State Driver’s Licensing Laws on the Travel of Unauthorized Immigrants
Evelyn Blumenberg (firstname.lastname@example.org), University of California, Los AngelesShow Abstract
andrew schouten, Ritsumeikan University
Madeline Ruvolo, University of California, Los Angeles
Most metropolitan areas in the U.S. have been developed around the automobile, making driving essential to accessing opportunities. Despite high rates of driving, some adults do not drive. A majority of non-drivers face significant barriers to driving, one of which is state driver’s license regulations that deny driving privileges to unauthorized immigrants. However, 15 states and the District of Columbia have adopted laws allowing unauthorized immigrants to acquire driver licenses and, therefore, to legally drive. In this study, we draw on annual data from the American Community Survey from 2006 to 2018 to examine the relationship between the adoption of state driver’s licensing laws for unauthorized immigrants and changes in automobile commuting. We focus on unauthorized Latinx immigrants in California, the state with the largest percentage of unauthorized residents. We then test to see whether the effects are similar in other states that have recently adopted comparable driver’s licensing regulations. Many unauthorized immigrants in California have obtained driver’s licenses through Assembly Bill 60 (AB 60) allowing them to drive legally. Our analysis shows that AB 60 had a small positive effect on auto commuting among unauthorized Latinx immigrants in California but, likely, little or no effect in states outside of California. Combined with its role in reducing hit and run accidents and potentially easing immigrants’ fears of police stops, the evidence suggests that AB 60 has contributed to the enhanced mobility and safety of unauthorized immigrants and their families.
Testing the Psychometric Properties of a Scale to Measure Transportation Access Among Individuals Experiencing Homelessness
Courtney Cronley, University of Tennessee, KnoxvilleShow Abstract
Melody Huslage, University of Tennessee
Erin Roark, University of Texas, Arlington
We report on a study validating a scale measuring transportation accessibility among individuals experiencing homelessness in low-density urban communities in the south central and eastern US. Individuals experiencing homelessness represent some of the heaviest users of public transit in the US. Shelters present additional limitations to transportation and mobility (e.g., inadequate public transportation, concentrated poverty, and spatial mismatches with employment). With IRB oversight, the authors administered surveys during spring 2018 and winter 2019 ( N =164; 38% African American). The survey included a 9-item, 4-point Likert scale; higher scores indicating greater transportation access difficulties. An EFA and a CFA were conducted sequentially in SPSS and Mplus. Criterion validity was assessed by testing the mean differences in the TD scale between communities, one having mass transit, the other lacking. The CFA yielded a two-factor solution. Factor one included six items addressing accessibility, costs, and ability to locate public transit. Factor two included two items addressing physical accessibility. Respondents residing in the community lacking mass transit scored higher (M=22.43 vs. M=19.53, t ( df =156) =2.37, p =.019). The item measuring perceptions of safety while traveling was dropped as its inclusion produced a poorly fitting model. Overall, the TD scale demonstrated adequate psychometric properties for application with individuals experiencing homelessness. Future researchers may expand the sample size and geographic diversity and investigate intersections of gender and race with TD; post-hoc analysis showed statistically significantly higher levels of difficulty regarding safety among females compared to males.
Transport Disadvantage Among Former Transit Riders During COVID-19 in Toronto and Vancouver
Matthew Palm (email@example.com), University of Toronto, ScarboroughShow Abstract
Jeff Allen, University of Toronto
Bochu Liu, University of Toronto
Yixue Zhang, University of Toronto
Michael Widener, University of Toronto
Steven Farber, University of Toronto, Scarborough
Millions of North Americans stopped riding public transit when COVID-19 related lockdowns took effect. Few researchers and advocates have documented the costs born by these former transit riders because of this decision. We measure these impacts through a survey on transportation barriers completed by over 4,000 former transit riders in Toronto and Vancouver, Canada. We use Heckman selection models to predict six dimensions of transport disadvantage (TD) captured in our survey to identify which respondents experienced TD after giving up transit. Model results are complimented by a thematic analysis of survey comments describing the specific barriers individuals faced. We find that giving up public transit created greater disadvantage for women, recent immigrants, people in poorer health, car less travelers, and people with disabilities. People living in neighborhoods with poor walkability, ‘car-deficient’ households, and those who have trouble carrying groceries on foot or bicycle also experienced greater disadvantage. We conclude that planners championing active travel as an alternative to transit need to make their inventions more beneficial for former transit riders who do not fit the profile of the idealized active-travel enthusiast.
Transitions into and out of Car Ownership Among Low-Income Households in the United States
Nicholas Klein (firstname.lastname@example.org), Cornell UniversityShow Abstract
Rounaq Basu, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Michael Smart, Rutgers University
We examine transitions into and out of car ownership among low-income households. We use an online opt-in panel to survey of U.S. residents to address four research questions. Why do households lose access to cars? How long are they without a car? Why do they subsequently purchase a car again? What are the effects of these transitions on their quality of life? We find that car ownership transitions are primarily motivated by financial security and insecurity. Respondents experienced a median gap in car ownership of one year and five months. When they regained a car, respondents reported the most common reason was that they could afford one. Respondents reported that gaining a car had a larger positive effect on their overall quality of life than the negative effect of losing access to a car. They also reported that the negative financial effects of losing a car were larger than the positive financial effects of gaining a car. Our research provides greater evidence and a more detailed understanding of how financial constraints limit and enable car ownership for low-income households and how low-income households perceive the benefits and costs of car ownership.
Understanding Transport-Related Social Exclusion: A comprehensive framework
Gregório Luz, Universidade Federal do Rio de JaneiroShow Abstract
Licinio Portugal, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro
Over the last two decades, the number of studies concerned with the nexus between transport and social inclusion has increased dramatically. Despite this growing number and the centrality of social issues for transportation planning, there is still little conceptual clarity about what social exclusion means in the context of transport. This paper provides a comprehensive and multidimensional transport-related social exclusion (TRSE) framework to overcome some of these theoretical shortcomings. A range of notions commonly related to TRSE, such as disadvantage and poverty of transport and accessibility, are clarified and connected to the notion of TRSE. We suggested that framing accessibility in Amartya Sen's Capability Approach is powerful to articulate the concept of TRSE better, and derived from spatial and individual components of accessibility nine TRSE dimensions. Finally, we discuss the theoretical and practical concerns of the TRSE framework established.
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