The Importance Of Transportation For Getting Out Of Poverty

For many unemployed people living in poverty, finding a job is only half the problem. The other half? Getting to work.

Owning a car can be an enormous financial burden. In one article published by the Boston Globe, the author notes that transportation can cost as much as ¼ of the family budget for an average family of four. Further, according to the Federal Highway Administration’s National Household Survey, administered in 2009, the cost of driving a car has been increasingly expensive, with an overall rise in the cost per gallon of gas since 2000. The survey results also show that approximately 24% of households living in poverty do not own a vehicle, while over 98% of households with an income of $100,000 and greater own at least one.

When owning a car is so costly, accessible and well-maintained public transportation can be a worker’s ticket to clocking in and rising out of poverty. There is a positive correlation between a city’s implementation of public transportation and the likelihood of a person living in that city to rise “from the bottom fifth to the top fifth in income across generations.” Of the top ten cities for social mobility identified by Raj Chetty, an economics professor at Stanford University who does research on the topic, five – New York, San Francisco, Boston, Washington, D.C., and Seattle – are also top-ranked for public transportation and physical mobility in the United States.

The Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) helps people in North Mecklenburg get where they need to go, and is continuously expanding. Currently, CATS offers public transit in the form of buses, light rail trains and street cars. Additionally, it is the largest system in the U.S. between Atlanta and D.C.

Here at Ada Jenkins, we are helping our client-partners by handing out CATS bus passes on a monthly basis. It’s a small gesture that can have a huge impact on a person when it’s the difference between being unemployed and having a job. Learn more about CATS, including routes and bus schedules, here.

 

Author: Elizabeth Davis