Transit Accessibility to Jobs and Employment Prospects of Welfare Recipients Without Cars: A Study of Broward County, Florida, Using Geographic Information Systems and an Econometric Model

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

planning - signage/information, technology - geographic information systems, place - urban, mode - mass transit


Welfare recipients, Transit, Public transit, Origin and destination, O&D, Mass transit, Local transit, Jobs, Job opportunities, GIS, Geographic information systems, Geocoding, Florida Standard Urban Transportation Modeling Structure, Employment, Econometric models, Broward County (Florida), Accessibility


On August 22, 1996, President William Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act. This legislation, widely known as the welfare reform act, transformed welfare from a long-term support program into one with a primary objective of moving people off the welfare rolls into gainful employment in the shortest possible time. The passage of this act renewed a long-standing debate over whether improved public transit would lessen the length of time that people remain on welfare. Studies addressing this issue draw different conclusions from their methodological differences in measuring transit accessibility indices and in using aggregate versus disaggregate data. A new study uses distance–decay parameters estimated by a measure of transit accessibility based on origin–destination data and thereby addresses the arbitrary selection of distance–decay parameters in the accessibility equation used by earlier studies. It also uses disaggregate data at the individual level to overcome the shortcomings of earlier studies. Based on welfare recipients in Broward County, Florida, an analysis using a geographic information system and the Florida Standard Urban Transportation Modeling Structure reveals that there is a statistically significant inverse association between transit accessibility to jobs and length of time spent on welfare. This association implies that transit accessibility plays a significant role in the employment prospects of welfare recipients in the study area.