City and Regional Planning

Transportation Equity Disparities Among US Metro Areas

This PennPlanning Equity Initiative (PPEI) working paper uses recent data from the American Community Survey to investigate whether residents of minority and poor neighborhoods in America’s largest metropolitan areas suffer from systematic accessibility and mobility disparities. In something of a surprise—and subject to the limitations of our proximity-based approach to measuring accessibility—we find that residents of disadvantaged neighborhoods actually live closer to job centers, hospitals, day care facilities, and public parks and libraries than do residents of more advantaged neighborhoods. The situation is exactly the opposite for mobility: residents of minority and poor neighborhoods suffer from systematically higher rates of carlessness than do residents of White and middle-income neighborhoods.  This magnifies the importance of having frequent and reliable bus service to these neighborhoods, something that too often is not the case.

Download ‘Transportation Equity Disparities Among US Metro Areas’


John D. Landis, Professor Emeritus of City & Regional Planning
Shengxiao Li, Doctoral Student, City and Regional Planning