Equity in Transportation

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.

2017-05-30T23:09:03+00:00Categories: ACCESS 21, Fall 2002|Tags: , |

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.

Should We Try to Get the Prices Right?

Mark Delucchi

There is considerable interest these days in “getting the prices right” in transportation. Some environmentalists and supporters of mass transit believe the “right” prices will induce a lot of people to switch from cars to public transit. So they advocate a variety of additional charges on vehicles, fuel, road use, emissions, and so on. Some economists believe that the “right” prices will lead to an economically efficient and socially desirable use of transportation modes and fuels. In a society seeming to become ever more leery of government regulations, and concomitantly more enamored of “market” solutions to difficult social problems, there can be strong appeal to getting the prices right in transportation. Arguably, if we can estimate and implement transportation prices intelligently, without slighting efforts towards important social objectives that are not well addressed by pricing, then perhaps we ought to try to “get the prices right.” But that’s a big “if.”

Download the PDF.

Lost Riders

Brian D. Taylor and William S. McCullough

During the early years of the Great Depression, public transit ridership plummeted by one-third, marking the 20th century trend toward private automobile travel. Sixty years later, transit riding again dropped during the economic recession between 1989 and 1993 , particularly on the nation’s largest transit systems. Although the economy recovered during the mid-1990s and transit patronage stabilized nationally, ridership has not returned to pre-recession levels.

Download the PDF.

Cars for the Poor

Katherine M. O'Regan and John Quigley

Between 1970 and 1990 the percentage of white workers with central city jobs declined by more than half, from 50 to 20 percent, and the percentage of black workers with central city jobs declined from 61 to 37 percent. The decentralization of residences was even more dramatic. The proportion of white workers living in the central cities of US metropolitan areas declined by 29 percentage points, while the proportion of black workers declined by 42 percentage points. By 1990, only about one out of eight white urban workers was living in a central city.

Download the PDF.

Tracking Accessibility

Robert Cervero

Much of transportation planning and engineering today aims at reducing average delays, increasing passenger throughput, and in general keeping traffic flowing smoothly and safely. These are the field’s principal measure of performance. But is a quick, uncongested trip indicative of a well-planned, accessible community?

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.

The Century Freeway: Design by Court Decree

Joseph F. DiMento, Drusilla Van Hengel, and Sherry Ryan

When the Century Freeway opened in October 1993 after three decades in the making – the product of intensive civic conflict, and advertised as the world’s most costly road at over $100 million per mile – it was indeed an achievement of the century. Ultimately it was far more than a mere road. It also became a community development enterprise, an environmental improvement program, a housing project, and a legal precedent that may well shape all future freeway construction. To assess its significance we’ve been examining the record and interviewing the participants, and we will now summarize our findings.

Download the PDF.

Food Access for the Transit Dependent

Robert Gottlieb and Andrew Fisher

A prevailing myth holds that America, land of plenty, provides everyone with vast opportunities for education, mobility, and food. Yet, not everyone shares this bounty. Significant sections of the population lack a neighborhood supermarket and thus end up paying high prices for inadequate or poor-quality food. Many of them do not have cars and thus depend on a transit system that fails to provide convenient access to groceries.

Download the PDF.

THE ACCESS ALMANAC: Travel by Carless Households

Richard Crepeau and Charles Lave

Over the past thirty years the federal government has funded extensive programs to improve travel options for people who do not have their own vehicles. During this same period, independent of government actions, economic and demographic trends have diminished the target population and made vehicle access nearly universal, even among the poorest households. In 1969, 20.6 percent of households (HHs) had no vehicle. By 1983 this ratio had fallen to 13.5 percent. By 1990, it fell to 9.2 percent of HHs. Further, HHs without vehicles tend to be smaller than average, so in 1990 the zero-vehicle HHs comprised only 6.4 percent of the population.

Download the PDF.

2017-05-31T23:06:02+00:00Categories: ACCESS 09, Fall 1996|Tags: , |