A Transit Access Analysis of TANF Recipients in Portland, Oregon

Journal of Public Transportation Article in Volume 2, Issue 4 (2000) by Thomas W Sanchez, Portland State University          

Abstract

Little evidence exists regarding the relationship between transit service availability and the ability of welfare recipients to find stable employment. While policy-makers continue to assert that increased public transit mobility can positively affect employment status, there is little empirical evidence to support this theory. It is generally assumed that public transit can effectively link unemployed, carless persons with appropriate job locations. From these assumptions stems the common belief that if adequate transit were available, the likelihood of being employed would increase. Hence, the call for more transit services to assist moving welfare recipients to gainful employment. Current available evidence is anecdotal, while general patterns of transit access and labor participation remain relatively unexplored. This analysis examines whether transit access service is less available to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients in the City of Portland, Oregon. It uses disaggregate TANF recipient location data from the State of Oregon Department of Adult and Family Services (AFS); transit route/stop data from Tri-Met; block-group census data; and disaggregate employment location data within Geographic Information Systems (GIS). GIS capabilities are essential in performing network accessibility analyses and for analyzing spatial patterns of TANF recipient and employment locations. The results of this analysis provide an assessment of the availability and quality of transit service for TANF recipients.