Investing

Cities Where Americans Can't Get To Work

5. Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA
> Job access rate: 15.7%
> Public transportation coverage: 55.6% (6th lowest)
> Zero-vehicle households: 7.3%
> Zero-vehicle households with low-income: 57.4%

Western Reserve Transportation Authority runs the Youngstown’s public bus service. According to Brookings data, the system is underperforming. Less than 16% of jobs are accessible within 90 minutes for those without cars. Worst still, public transportation barely covers more than half of households in the metropolitan area. Coverage is the sixth worst in the country.

4. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX
> Job access rate: 15.3%
> Public transportation coverage: 63.5% (13th lowest)
> Zero-vehicle households: 8.0%
> Zero-vehicle households with low-income: 67.0%

The McAllen, TX metropolitan area is extremely poor. The city has the lowest median household income in the country — $34,984. This makes the area’s low rate of job access all the more troubling. Job access is especially bad in the suburbs, where a mere 6% of jobs are accessible within 90 minutes. Ridership for McAllen’s public bus system is at all time highs, however, according to local newspaper The Monitor.

3. Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown, NY
> Job access rate: 9.1%
> Public transportation coverage: 78.6% (34th lowest)
> Zero-vehicle households: 7.7%
> Zero-vehicle households with low-income: 67.3%

Although Poughkeepsie has one of the lowest job access rates in the country, the city is working to solve the problem in an intelligent way. According to to the Mid-Hudson News Network, city officials are planning to create a “Transit Oriented Development in and around the Poughkeepsie Metro-North train station.” This development would increase density of homes and businesses around the train station, making it easier for residents to reach jobs.

2. Riverside-San Bernadino-Ontario, CA
> Job access rate: 9.0%
> Public transportation coverage: 87.7% (42nd highest)
> Zero-vehicle households: 5.0%
> Zero-vehicle households with low-income: 57.8%

Only 9% of jobs are reachable in 90 minutes for those in Riverside without a vehicle. This is partially due to the state’s financial troubles. The Riverside Transit Agency is currently facing funding cuts. Nevertheless, the agency is expecting to spend $50 million over the next three years on new natural gas buses, according to Riverside’s Press-Enterprise.

1. Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL
> Job access rate: 8.3%
> Public transportation coverage: 82.6% (45th highest)
> Zero-vehicle households: 4.7%
> Zero-vehicle households with low-income: 60.5%

The Palm Bay metropolitan area provides the lowest rate of job access to households without vehicles in the country. Just over 8% of jobs can be reached within 90 minutes. This is the result of a number of factors. The Palm Bay area is physically long, making rapid transit difficult. Also, funding has been an issue in the area. Finally, the majority of middle and low-income jobs are located in the downtown area, decreasing accessibility for those living further out in the suburbs.

Charles B. Stockdale

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