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Accessing Economic Opportunity: Public Transit, Job Access, and Equitable Economic Development in Three Medium-Sized Regions

Transportation can pose a barrier to employment for low-income residents unable to afford a car. This report  examines access to transit, access to opportunity employment that pays a decent wage and doesn’t require a four-year college degree, and the accessibility of large employment centers across three medium-sized regions in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The research answers the following questions:

  • In which industries is opportunity employment most prevalent, and what is the spatial distribution of opportunity employment?
  • To what extent are public transit options located near where residents live and work?
  • What percent of regional opportunity employment is accessible by transit within a reasonable commute time?
  • How accessible are employment centers to their region’s labor force?

The results demonstrate how patterns of employment and public transit affect job access at the neighborhood level, with a particular focus on low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. Economic development practitioners and private firms alike can play an important role in driving equitable economic development by considering the extent to which prospective employees can use public transit to access new and existing employment locations.

Read our equitable transit one-pagers that analyze access to opportunity employment — decent-paying jobs that don’t require a four-year degree — in three regions:

This work builds on previous research done on equitable transit in Northeastern Pennsylvania  and is part of an EGMP Research in Action lab that seeks to translate in-depth research into sustainable action.

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