Impact of Public Transit on Employment Status: Disaggregate Analysis of Houston, Texas


Chang Yi

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

infrastructure - vehicle, land use - impacts, mode - mass transit, mode - subway/metro


Unemployed, Transit, Spatial mismatch, Regulatory policy, Public transit, Private passenger vehicles, Poverty, Poor people, Policy, Policies, Mobility, Mass transit, Low income groups, Low income families, Local transit, Jobs, Impacts, Houston Metropolitan Area, Households, Government policy, Employment, Disaggregate analysis, Automobile ownership, Access


The impact of public transit on employment status of individuals is analyzed. The role of public transportation in employment appears in two policy debates regarding the spatial mismatch hypothesis and the role of public or private mobility to help the unemployed to gain employment. However, research studies dealing with the two debates produced conflicting results, and the impact of public transit has not been fully accounted for in explaining employment outcomes. A study was done to disaggregate analysis to explain employment status of individuals in the Houston, Texas, metropolitan area as a function of the access to public transit, job accessibility by transit, and household car ownership. The results of the study indicate that job accessibility by public transit has significant impacts on employment levels. However, it is questionable if improving physical access to public transit can significantly help the poor, although it may be effective for enhancing the employment levels of individuals with regular access to private vehicles. Although private mobility also appears significant for improving employment status of the economically disadvantaged, job accessibility by public transit has a stronger effect in increasing the levels of employment than private vehicles. The study defies the contention that public transit is helpless for the underprivileged of the society. Therefore, it is important to continue policy efforts in progress to improve regional public transit service.