Research Projects

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Research Projects

STATUS: Complete YEAR: 2019 TOPIC AREA: Public transit, land use, and urban mobility Transportation planning, policy, and finance CENTER: PSR

Mobility, Accessibility and Disadvantaged Neighborhoods: Assessing Diversity in Transportation-Related Needs and Opportunities

Project Summary

Project number: PSR-19-63
Funding source: Caltrans
Contract number: 65A0674 TO 031
Funding amount: $113,940
Performance period: 3/15/2020 to 6/30/2021

Project description

This project examines commonalities and differences among disadvantaged neighborhoods in mobility and access to opportunities. Our approach is based on the concept of spatial-transportation mismatch (STM), which asserts that spatial distance and poor transportation are potential barriers to opportunities beyond one's immediate location. The project analyzes variations in transportation resources and accessibility to employment, quality elementary schools, and health care. The study compares two regions in California, one highly urbanized (Los Angeles County) and one more agriculture based (San Joaquin County). This allows us to compare disadvantaged neighborhoods with nondisadvantaged neighborhoods within each region, and to compare disadvantaged neighborhoods in one county versus another. The project uses policy-based definitions of disadvantaged neighborhoods and bivariate tabulations. The project's empirical findings are partially consistent with the existing literature: residents of disadvantaged neighborhoods suffer from some STM in multiple arenas, especially those in rural areas. The analysis also finds considerable heterogeneity in the magnitude of inaccessibility in the two regions. Residents in disadvantaged San Joaquin tend to fare worse. The diversity of outcomes at the neighborhood level points to the need to be flexible so programs and investments can address the diversity in transportation challenges and investment opportunities of disadvantaged communities.


Paul Ong
Research Professor and Director of the Center for Neighborhood Knowledge
5287, Public Affairs
Los Angeles, CA 90095
United States
[email protected]