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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Measuring the Role of Transportation in Facilitating the Welfare-to-Work Transition: Evidence from Three California Counties

  • Author(s): Blumenberg, Evelyn A.;
  • Hess, Daniel Baldwin
  • et al.

Welfare-to-work transportation programs are premised on a conceptualization of the spatial mismatch hypothesis that focuses on the physical separation between the central city locations of welfare participants, rapidly expanding job opportunities in the suburbs, and the long commutes needed to connect them. Using data from three diverse California counties, this study examines welfare recipients' spatial access to employment. The study finds that the traditional notion of the spatial mismatch is less relevant to welfare recipients, many of whom live in counties in which the urban structure does not fit the simple model of poor, central-city neighborhoods and distant, job-rich suburbs. Many welfare recipients live in job-rich areas; others live in neighborhoods that are spatially isolated from employment. TO be effective, therefore, transportation policies must be tailored to the diverse characteristics of the neighborhoods in which welfare recipients live.

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