Tracking accessibility: employment and housing opportunities in the San Francisco Bay Area
Shifts in job accessibility reflect, in part, the degree to whichland use and transportation decisions help bring job opportunities closer to labor forces. In this paper we argue for the wider use of accessibility indicators as part of the long-range transportation planning process. As a case example, changes in job accessibility indices are traced for the San Francisco Bay Area from 1980 to 1990, computed for 100 residential areas and the region's 22 largest employment centers. Indices are refined based on occupational match indicators that weigh the consistency between residents' employment roles and labor-force occupational characteristics at workplaces. The analysis reveals that peripheral areas tend to be the least job accessible. Moreover, employment centers that are home to highly skilled professional workers are generally the most accessible when occupational matching is accounted for. This is thought to reflect the existence of housing markets that are more responsive to the preferences of upper-income workers. Our analyses also show that residents of low-income, inner-city neighborhoods generally face the greatest occupational mismatches. Through a path analysis, the variable 'race' was found to be far more strongly associated with unemployment than was job accessibility, however, even after controlling for educational levels and other factors. We conclude that an important purpose of tracking changes in accessibility is to provide feedback on the degree to which resource allocation decisions in the urban transportation field are helping to redress serious inequities in accessibility to jobs, medical facilities, and other important destinations.
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