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The Connection Between Public Transit and Employment

Even with a considerable amount of attention being paid to the role of public transportation in addressing inner-city mobility problems, there is very little evidence of the degree to which one affects the other. In other words, little research has specifically focused on how labor participation is impacted by increases in public transportation availability. Research on the spatial mismatch hypothesis has dealt with the relationship between labor participation and the spatial separation of
jobs and houses; however, most analyses concentrate on commuting time or distance as a function of auto accessibility. Few, if any, studies have considered the relative impacts of employment accessibility that results from public transportation services. This study uses a geographic information system (GIS) to analyze the location and employment characteristics of workers with varying levels of accessibility to transit. Utilizing a variety of spatial measures, a two-stage least squares regression is used to estimate the relationship of transit accessibility with labor participation levels for the cities of Portland, Oregon and Atlanta, Georgia. The results suggest that transit access is a significant factor in determining average rates of labor participation within these two cities.