Social Effects On Poverty
Those with low income living in cities face a problem called “poverty transportation.” The problem arises because many of the entry level jobs which are sought out by those with little education are typically located in suburban areas. Those jobs are also not very accessible by public transportation because the transportation was often designed to move people around cities, which becomes a problem when the jobs are no longer located in the cities. Those who cannot afford cars inevitably suffer the worst, because they have no choice but to rely on public transport. The problem is illustrated by an estimation that 70% of entry level jobs are located in the suburbs, while only 32% of those jobs are within a quarter mile of public transportation. More difficult (or more expensive) access to jobs and other goods & services can act as a ghetto tax.
As a result of the transportation systems in use, but not adequately meeting the needs of those who rely on them, they tend to generate low revenue. And with minimal revenue or funding the transportation systems are forced to decrease service and increase fares, which causes those in poverty to face more inequality. Further those who live in cities with no public transportation become even more excluded from education and work. In places with no public transport a car is the only viable option and that creates unnecessary strain on the roads and environment.
Since automobile use tends to be greater than public transportation use, it also becomes the norm for people to work towards car ownership. Private car ownership has led to a large allocation of resources towards road and bridge maintenance. But underfunding of public transportation prevents everyone who needs transportation from having access to it. And those who can choose between public transportation and private transportation will choose private transportation rather than face the inconveniences of public transportation. The lack of customers willing to use public transport creates a cycle that ultimately never leads to the transportation systems making significant progress. Another reason for low private vehicle ownership among welfare recipients are the established asset limitations. In the U.S. the asset limit is $1000 per vehicle. This forces welfare recipients to purchase old and sub standard vehicles in order not to lose their welfare funding.
There are a number of ways in which public transportation could be improved and for it to become a better and more enticing option for other people who do not necessarily depend on it. Some of these include creating networks of overlapping routes even among different operators to give people more choice in where and how they want to go somewhere. The system should also function as a whole, to prevent drivers from dangerously racing along routes to increase profit. Providing incentives to use public transportation can also be beneficial, as ridership increases the transportation systems can appropriately respond by increasing the frequency along those transportation routes. Even creating bus only lanes or priority lanes at intersections could improve service and speed.
Experiments done in Africa (Uganda and Tanzania) and Srilanka on hundreds of households have shown that a bicycle can increase the income of a poor family by as much as 35%]. Transport, if analyzed for the cost-benefit analysis for rural poverty alleviation, has given one of the best returns in this regard. For example, road investments in India were a staggering 3–10 times more effective than almost all other investments and subsidies in rural economy in the decade of 1990s. What a road does at a macro level to increase transport, the bicycle supports at the micro level. Bicycle, in that sense, can be one of the best means to eradicate the poverty in poor nations.
Read more about this topic: Transport Economics
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