Regional Public Transportation Improvements for Disadvantaged Users: An Integrated Analysis of the Social and Transportation Needs of Low Income Populations for the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Region

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Public transportation is a crucial part of the economic and social fabric of metropolitan areas. However, transit ridership has been decreasing over the decades, putting preference on the convenience of owning personal vehicles. It is seen that low income individuals are less likely to own a vehicle, thus becoming dependents on the public transportation system. However, there are few studies performed to analyze how effectively transit connects people and jobs within and across these metropolitan areas. And as a result, few federal and state programs related to transportation use factors like job accessibility via transit to make investment decisions. There are even fewer studies and programs relating to subsidizing vehicle ownership.

Analyzing characteristics of low income individuals, understanding travel patterns, job availability, accessibility, and trip chaining are the methods used in this analysis to better understand the transportation needs of low income individuals. In addition, understanding the relationship that transit and personal vehicles play on the location of low income individuals and low income employment is crucial in creating and implementing programs that will improve and maintain transit and vehicle ownership options for metropolitan residents.