Arguing for Cars, Not Transit, as a Poverty Solution

Data show that cars are more effective than transit in providing poor people to jobs and economic opportunity. But does that mean transit systems are fundamentally inadequate or just currently inadequate?
chungking / Shutterstock

Scott Beyer cites a number of studies, from a 2011 study by the Brooking Institute to a 2014 study by the Urban Institute, to argue that cars are a better investment than transit for improving economic mobility.

"Of course, these ideas can be challenging to urban planners, who cling to the default assumption that cities must improve mass transit to reduce poverty. If existing services remain inadequate, then planners use it as an argument for more funding. But what if some of the money went instead towards increasing automobile access? Would that not better help economic conditions for the poor?"

Beyer's article piggybacks on an April article on the Washington Post's Wonkblog, but with a slightly different frame. That is, Beyer's argument is more anti-transit, citing the bus system in Charlottesville, Virginia as a model of inefficiency and supporting Wendell Cox's arguments for subsidizing car ownership.

Full Story: How Cars, Not Subways, Will Make Us Richer

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 Unsprawl

Unsprawl: Remixing Spaces as Places

Explore visionary, controversial and ultimately successful strategies for building people-centered places.
Starting at $12.95