Title

WHAT IS THE EFFECT OF COMMUTE TIME ON EMPLOYMENT? ANALYSIS OF SPATIAL PATTERNS IN NEW YORK METROPOLITAN AREA

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

2001

Subject Area

ridership - commuting, place - urban, place - low density, mode - mass transit, mode - subway/metro

Keywords

Urban areas, Tri-State Region (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut), Travel time, Transit, Suburbs, Regression analysis, Regression, Public transit, Probits, Probit models, New York Metropolitan Area, Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey, Mass transit, Local transit, Journey time, Employment, Commuting, Central city residents, Automobile use, Automobile usage, Automobile travel

Abstract

Many planners argue that a key reason that residents of central-city and urban neighborhoods do not work is because of a lack of proximity to employment opportunities. The effect of travel time on employment probabilities for residents of urban areas was quantified while accounting for the fact that many are not employed. Data from the 1995 Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey (n=7,942 work-age individuals) were used to quantify the effect of commute time on employment for residents of the greater New York metropolitan area to test whether longer commute times are associated with lower employment probabilities. First, an ordinary least-squares regression model that explains travel times to work was estimated for those who work. This model was then used to predict the commute times by automobile and transit for all respondents in the New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island consolidated metropolitan statistical area, regardless of employment status, on the basis of various personal characteristics including race and spatial attributes. Second, a binary probit model was used to estimate the employment probability on the basis of various personal and household characteristics as well as the predicted commute time. The results for work-eligible individuals showed that urban neighborhoods are characterized by a proportionately larger black population (25.1% of the urban population), with a relatively lower employment level (71.4%), longer average commutes despite the higher job density in urban areas, and relatively lower incomes. Central-city and urban residents reported travel times significantly different from those of their suburban counterparts. The commute times of urban and suburban residents with private vehicles were about equal and averaged 24 min, but urban transit commuters had an average commute of 40 min and suburban transit commuters had an average commute of about 60 min. Irrespective of race, the estimated employment probability for urban residents reliant on transit for commuting was substantially lower than that for urbanites who use automobiles. The findings support the need for policies to improve the accessibility and reliability of transit and to achieve a jobs-housing balance in central-city areas.