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Open Access Publications from the University of California

En-gendering Effective Planning: Spatial Mismatch, Low-Income Women, and Transportation Policy


Welfare-to-work transportation programs are predicated on a conceptualization of the spatial mismatch hypothesis that focuses on the central-city residential locations of welfare participants, rapidly expanding job opportunities in the suburbs, and the long commutes needed to connect them. Feminist scholarship and travel behavior research, however, show that the travel patterns of low-income single mothers are not consistent with this behavior, resulting in a policy mismatch between many welfare recipients and their transportation needs. The research reviewed in this article indicates that policymakers and planners should do more to address the transportation needs of these low-income women. Policies must account for the important role of gender in determining where welfare recipients will look for work, how they are likely to conduct their job searches, and the mode by which they travel to both employment and household-supporting destinations.

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