Cars Are Key to Reducing Poverty

Many advocates for new ways of thinking about places and streets argue for reduced use of cars as the dominant mode of transportation. A new study finds, however that poverty is improved when the poor have access to a car for transportation.

Emily Badger reports on a new study called "Driving to Opportunity" by researchers at the Urban Institute, the University of Maryland and UCLA. The studies followed families in ten cities that participated in two federal voucher programs, the Moving to Opportunity for Fair Housing program, and the Welfare to Work Voucher program, which provide access to “stable housing and high-quality neighborhoods.”

The key findings of the study, as explained by Badger: “The families with cars moved to neighborhoods with less poverty and were more likely to stay there. They lived in neighborhoods with less unemployment, higher median rents, more access to green space and lower levels of cancer risk. Controlling for other factors influencing their residential mobility, these families also lived by the end of the survey in neighborhoods with better-performing schools.”

The article gives many more details on the report, a thorough treatment of the many policy implications for the report, and considers the many possible causes for the findings, one of which is that transit service is rarely reliable enough to trust for getting to and from work on time. Badger also suggests the following rational policy proposal: “A more effective poverty reduction policy might consider that families need both decent housing and a way to get from that home in the morning to school and work and back again.”

Full Story: Why the poor need better access to cars

Comments

Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

New! 4th Edition of the Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs just released.
Starting at $24.95

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $209
Book cover of Insider's Guide to Careers in Urban Planning

So you want to be a planner...

Check out our behind the scenes look at 25 careers in the Urban Planning field
Starting at $14.95
Book cover of Contemporary Debates in Urban Planning

Contemporary Debates in Urban Planning

Featuring thought-provoking commentary and insights from some of the leading thinkers and practitioners in the field.
$18.95