Does transit moderate spatial mismatch? The effects of transit and compactness on regional economic outcomes

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, policy - equity, policy - social exclusion, land use - impacts


Spatial mismatch, Public transit, Poverty, Unemployment, Urban economics


The theory of spatial mismatch states that the physical separation of people from their employment contributes to persistent unemployment and poverty. Although early research on spatial mismatch related more to housing discrimination, transit has long been considered a way to alleviate this issue by providing access to opportunity for disadvantaged populations. In this paper, we test the theory that transit can act as a moderator on the relationship between spatial mismatch and unemployment and poverty. We find that transit does affect, though modestly, unemployment and poverty through its effect on compactness. This study is the first to find a relationship between transit and poverty using a national sample of US regions. The findings give credence to transit-supportive policies that seek to use transit as a lever to improve regional economic conditions and alleviate unemployment and poverty.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.