Barriers to Employment: Transportation

Last week, CPHA reported on the Opportunity Collaborative’s Barriers to Employment study.  Transportation was among the issues listed as major impediments to finding employment.  In particular, the report noted that 25% of job seekers said they were unable to access jobs via public transit.  This is mainly due to the very large number of jobs that are outside areas where large numbers of low-income workers live (like Baltimore City).  In particular, jobs around the airport and along the I-95 corridor are difficult to access.  Yet these are the areas where some of the strongest regional job growth is expected to occur, something that CPHA has covered in the past.

The report has a number of recommendations regarding the problem of inadequate transportation access for employment. These include:

  • reducing the price of drivers ed and auto insurance so that low-income individuals can better access a vehicle
  • running more frequent public transit during off-peak hours
  • encouraging employers to operate their own shuttle service
  • Transit-Oriented Development with affordable housing in areas that are close to places of employment

Solving transportation issues that are major impediments to employment will not be easy.  But there are ways concerned citizens can help.  CPHA is currently working on our EmpowerTrans Demonstration Project.  This project aims to show how we can implement something called “Transportation Improvement Zones” in some of our fastest growing job areas.  A Transportation Improvement Zone is an area where businesses, government, and residents work together to improve transit access.  We need your help to make this project a success.  Click here to fill out our survey and learn more about the project.

Those wishing to make a difference can also work to improve the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA).  One way is by attending an MTA Citizens Advisory Committee Meeting so that we can learn about the issues surrounding transit in the Baltimore region.  You can also also get involved in the MTA’s Bus Network Network Improvement Program (BNIP).  Part of the transit system redesign involves expanding bus service to better serve more suburban job centers.  Unfortunately, some of the areas where the MTA hopes to expand have expressed strong resistance to transit service in the past.  Politicians often listen to the loudest voice in the room.  Through attending public hearings and finding other ways to express our support for the plan, we can show elected leaders that there is support for extending transit to these areas and that expanding transit to these areas will benefit both job-seekers and the communities through which transit will pass.

CPHA will keep you informed as the Opportunity Collaborative continues to produce more information on how we can make our region more equitable for everyone.

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Gregory Friedman

Gregory Friedman

This article was written by Gregory Friedman. Click here to meet our writing team.

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