Paul Ong

About Paul Ong (Edit profile)

Paul Ong is professor of Urban Planning at the University of California, Los Angeles (pmong@ucla.edu).

Down to the Meter: Localized Vehicle Pollution

Douglas Houston, Jun Wu, Paul Ong, and Arthur Winer

Air pollution control programs have helped improve many aspects of regional air quality over the past thirty years despite tremendous growth in both population and vehicle-miles traveled. However, regional strategies to confront vehicle-related pollution are proving to be insufficient to protect the health of those who live, work, attend school, or play near major roadways. Recent air pollution and epidemiological findings suggest that harmful vehicle-related pollutants and their associated adverse health effects concentrate within a couple hundred meters of heavily traveled freeways and thoroughfares. We’re just beginning to understand the health and economic costs of such localized effects, and we still know little about who is exposed to these pollutants.

Download the PDF.

THE ACCESS ALMANAC: Auto Insurance Redlining In The Inner City

Paul Ong

One of the most controversial issues related to automobile insurance is the accusation of “redlining,” or charging higher premiums in low-income, minority neighborhoods. Insurance companies base premiums on accident rates, which are higher in some neighborhoods. However, why those neighborhoods experience higher risks may not be part of the equation. Traffic volumes vary across the urban landscape. Some areas are exposed to disproportionately high levels of externally generated trips. These increase accident frequencies in those areas, exposing local residents to higher-than-average chances of involvement in a crash. Insurance companies compensate for the higher accident rate by charging residents higher insurance premiums.

Download the PDF.

THE ACCESS ALMANAC: Travel Patterns Among Welfare Recipients

Paul Ong and Douglas Houston

Welfare reform ended America’s public assistance program as we knew it, transforming it from an income-entitlement program to an employment-assistance program. Following its enactment, welfare rolls dropped by more than half, from about 12 million in 1994 to just over 5 million in late 2001. Fortunately, the majority of those who left public assistance found work. Nevertheless, welfare reform still faces a large, and largely unrecognized, problem.

Download the PDF.

THE ACCESS ALMANAC: Census Undercount

Paul Ong

The decennial census is America’s single most important effort to collect data on its population, and yet the count always comes up short. Over the years, the counts have been getting somewhat better, although it’s still nearly impossible to include everyone. Estimates of the uncounted population declined steadily from 5.4 percent in 1940 to 1.2 percent in 1980, then increased to 1.8 percent in 1990. Preliminary estimates for 2000 range from 0.96 to 1.4 percent. One troubling aspect of the undercount is the sizable variation among groups—what’s called the “differential undercount,” because groups are undercounted differently. Preliminary estimates for the 2000 census show undercount rates for minorities that are several times higher than rates for non-Hispanic whites—three times higher for African Americans, four times higher for Hispanics, and seven times higher for American Indians on reservations. Undercount rates also vary by region, level of urbanization, and home ownership.

Download the PDF.

Can Welfare Recipients Afford to Work Far From Home?

Evelyn Blumenberg and Paul Ong

In 1995, 13.6 million people nationwide received welfare benefits totaling $22 billion. Critics have considered this sum unnecessary and the welfare program inefficient. With the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, welfare reformers established time limits for receiving benefits, hoping to speed the transition from public assistance to employment.

Download the PDF.