Alternative Transportation Pays Dividends for Income Equality in Midsized Cities

A new study finds a connection between multimodality and income inequality in midsized cities.

November 14, 2017, 5:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Monterey-Salinas Transit

A Monterey-Salinas Transit red bus in Monterey, California. | EQRoy / Shutterstock

"Looking at 148 midsize cities across the country, researchers found that income inequality declined when the percentage of commuters using some form of transportation other than single occupancy vehicles increased," reports Leah Binkowitz.

The study, by Chad Frederick and John Gilderbloom, both from the Centre for Sustainable neighborhoods at the University of Louisville, was published in October by the Local Environment journal.

The article by Binkowitz allows Frederick a chance to explain the importance of the findings, highlighted by the summary that a little bit of multi-modality goes a long way for income equality. "If you have 20 percent multimodality and go to 25 percent, you should see some very significant differences in all kinds of social outcomes," says Frederick in his own words, as quoted in the article. That reach means that transportation policy might have more impact than other policies governments could focus on to improve income equality. It also means that incremental changes can have outsized benefits.

Monday, November 13, 2017 in The Urban Edge

Walkable Urban Commercial District

The Complexities of the '15-Minute City'

What does a '15-minute city' truly mean–and how achievable is it in the U.S.?

July 29, 2021 - Governing

Toronto Freeway

Does Highway Removal Make Cities Healthier?

Highway removal can improve the air quality and health of the immediate environment, but displacement and gentrification threaten to exclude former residents from the benefits.

July 30, 2021 - NextCity

Pioneer Square, Seattle

Tree Equity Score: The U.S. Needs 522 Million More Urban Trees

As climate change intensifies the urban heat island effect, poorer neighborhoods bear the brunt of tree canopy inequity.

July 28, 2021 - The Urbanist

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.