This phenomenon is well documented and researched, but as urban housing prices continue to rise, the needs of lower income populations who have been forced out to more suburban areas will continue to be an essential consideration for transportation planners and policy makers.
There are challenges with expanding public transportation systems to lower density areas. However transportation agencies should consider the needs of these travelers in the outskirts of urban areas who may struggle to afford the costs of car ownership. These options could include new or expanded bus services, transit fare subsidies and public-private partnerships to develop shared mobility options in suburban areas.
In the city of Toronto, Higher income households are more likely to buy or lease a vehicle when they are located in the outer suburbs of cities. Meanwhile, lower Income households that may have been forced to the inner suburbs of a city due to housing costs are more inclined to pursue utilization of alternative modes of transportation. Research on this topic uses a variety of interesting methods of spatial analysis to look at the relationships between different kinds of origins and destinations in conjunction with transit networks and socioeconomic demographics in small areas of analysis. One presentation during this session focused on the accessibility of disadvantaged areas on destinations such as hospitals, recreation centers and libraries, which was distinct from other research that has been done on access to job locations.
Suburbanization of poverty was a significant topic of discussion in our work with the Atlanta-Region Transit Link Authority as we identified areas where transit could serve as a source of value for the Atlanta metro region. Reaching these disadvantaged populations may be challenging, but transportation equity is essential to creating economic mobility in regions around the world.