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Transportation as a Stimulus to Welfare-to-Work: Private Versus Public Mobility

  • Author(s): Cervero, Robert
  • Sandoval, Onésimo
  • Landis, John
  • et al.
Abstract

Using an unusually rich panel of data on welfare recipients in Alameda County, California, this paper examines the importance of transportation policy variables in explaining the ability of some individuals to find gainful employment. A multinomial logit model is estimated that predicts the probability someone found a job as a function of car ownership, transit service quality, regional job accessibility by different transportation modes, human-capital factors, and various control variables. The results show that car ownership, along with educational attainment, significantly increased the odds that someone switched from welfare to work, while variables related to transit service quality were largely insignificant predictors. Nor was regional accessibility very important in explaining employment outcomes, a finding that sheds doubts about the spatial mismatch hypothesis. In terms of transit policy, what appeared to be most important in stimulating employment was the concentration of housing near bus and rail routes, a finding which lends support to transit-oriented development. However, improved automobility had far stronger effects on employment outcomes than improvements in transit mobility, at least in the case of Alameda County.

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