New Brookings study released today: 700,000 American households lack critical access to a vehicle and local transit options
Today the Brookings Institution released an analysis looking at the number of households in the 100 largest U.S. metro areas without a private vehicle. The report, “Transit Access and Zero-Vehicle Households” revealed that:
- 7.5 million American households do not own a private vehicle
- Nearly 60 percent of households without vehicles have incomes below 80 percent of their regional median income – this is true in both cities and suburbs
- Across the three largest racial categories, Whites constitute the largest share of all “zero-vehicle” households (36 percent), with Latinos (more than 27 percent) and African Americans (25 percent) trailing relatively close behind.
The Brookings study also found that in communities where families do not have a vehicle, many are left stranded due to the lack of investment in public transportation in their regions. More than 100,000 households in Atlanta, Dallas, and Houston that have no vehicles also lack critical access to public transit options.
Findings like these serve as stark reminders of the nation’s urgent need for a new transportation vision, one that is supported by smart policies and strategic investments in quality transportation options aimed at connecting everyone to opportunity, especially those in traditionally underserved communities.
Thankfully the federal surface transportation bill, which is currently being debated in Congress, presents a significant chance for reform. To ensure that America’s transportation systems benefit all people equitably, PolicyLink recommends that the surface transportation bill:
- Promotes the development of transportation plans that will increase access to jobs
- Reforms existing transportation funding programs in order to prioritize public transit projects in areas that preserve and create affordable housing, and that connect low-income people to job centers and community amenities (e.g., New Starts, federal transportation loan programs, etc.).
- Preserves and expands current programs that specifically fund public transit projects, including the expanded use of federal funds for operating transit systems.
According to a recent poll, 80 percent of Americans believe the country would benefit from an expanded and improved public transportation system. Let’s work to ensure that the surface transportation bill is not a missed opportunity. We have the information and ideas needed to make smart, targeted investments that will ensure all individuals and families can participate and prosper in the 21st Century. Now is the time for change.