MTI Report 01-23

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Travel Behavior and Needs of the Poor:

A Study of Welfare Recipients in Fresno County,

California

 

 

 

December 2001

 

 

Evelyn Blumenberg

with Peter Haas

 

 

 

a publication of the

Mineta Transportation Institute

College of Business

San Josť State University

San Jose, CA 95192-0219

Created by Congress in 1991

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
FHWA/CA/OR-2001-23

table of contents

Executive Summary 1

Introduction 5

Review of Previous Research on Welfare
Recipients and Transportation 13

The Travel patterns and transportation expenditures of welfare recipients 14

Job Access and Welfare Recipients 23

Cars, Public Transit, and Welfare Recipients 30

Policy and Process Evaluations 35

 

Travel Behavior and Needs of Welfare
Recipients: Focus Group Findings 39

Profile of Focus Group Participants 40

Focus Group Findings 45

A Survey of Fresno County
Welfare Recipients 49

The Travel Behavior of Welfare Recipients
in Fresno 51

Employment and Access to Transportation 69

Meeting the Transportation Needs
of Welfare Recipients in Fresno 75

Appendix One: Recent Research
on Transportation and Welfare
Recipeints 79

Appendix Two: Survey Methodology 83

Appendix Three: Focus Group
Methodology 87

Appendix Four: Focus Group Transcript 89

list of tables

Table 1: Characteristics of Adult Welfare Participants
and All Adults, California, 1999 15

Table 2: Commute Mode 18

Table 3: Daily Person Trips and Miles 19

Table 4: Degree and Type of Spatial Mismatch 25

Table 5: Welfare Participants and Auto Ownership 32

Table 6: Focus Group Participant Characteristics 41

Table 7: Ethnicity of Focus Group Participants 42

Table 8: Car Ownership (by focus group site) 43

Table 9: Access to Automobiles 43

Table 10: Ease of Travel (by focus group site) 44

Table 11: Ease of Travel and Car Ownership 44

Table 12: Demographic Characteristics, U.S., Los Angeles, and Fresno 50

Table 13: Travel Behavior Comparison - NPTS,
Los Angeles Transportation Needs Assessment,
and Fresno Survey 52

Table 14: Travel and Welfare-to-Work Stage 53

Table 15: Work Schedule 55

Table 16: Type of Childcare by Employment Status 56

Table 17: Type of Childcare by Place of Residence 57

Table 18: Ease of Travel to Childcare by Employment Status 58

Table 19: Ease of Travel by Childcare Type 58

Table 20: Ease of Travel by Number of Children 59

Table 21: Auto Access for Welfare-To-Work Participants,
Fresno County, 2001 61

Table 22: Transportation Mode of Job Search and
Job-Related Travel by Race 62

Table 23: Level of Auto Access by Race 62

Table 24: Perceptions or Barriers when Traveling to or
Searching for Work and Access to Cars 63

Table 25: Employment Status and Level
of Auto Access 64

Table 26: Policy Preferences for Drivers, Car Passengers,
and Transit Users 65

Table 27: Problems with Car Ownership 65

Table 28: Transit Use 66

Table 29: Work-Related Trips and Ease of Travel by Mode 67

Table 30: Public Transit 68

Table 31: Transit Policy Preferences by Mode 69

Table 32: Definition of Variables Used in Logistic Analysis 70

Table 33: Transportation and Barriers to Employment 71

Table 34: Ease of Travel 73

Table 35: Demographic Characteristics of Survey Respondents 83

Table 36: Response Rate 86

list of figures

Figure 1: Fresno County, California 8

Figure 2: Fresno County Monthly Welfare Caseload and
Unemployment Rates 9

Figure 3: The Geographic Distribution of Welfare
Participants in Fresno County 11

Figure 4: Fixed Daytime Employment Schedule,
Women, 1991 21

Figure 5: Transportation as a Percentage of Annual
Expenditures, 1st Quarter 1992 to 1st Quarter 1994 22

Figure 6: Annual Expenditures of Publicly-Assisted
Families, 1998 23

Figure 7: 0-Vehicle Households, 1969-1995 31

 

Executive Summary

As a result of welfare reform, millions of welfare recipients are now required to enter the paid labor market. A growing number of studies suggest that reliable transportation--either automobiles or public transit--is essential to linking welfare recipients to employment opportunities. Nearly all of this previous research focuses on large urban areas. In contrast, smaller urban areas, small cities, and rural areas have received comparatively little attention. Yet, rural, non-metropolitan areas alone are home to almost one-quarter of all welfare recipients in the U.S.

To address this gap in the literature on the travel behavior and needs of welfare recipients living outside of large metropolitan areas, this study relies on data from six focus groups and a random survey of 502 welfare recipients in Fresno County, an agricultural county in California's Central Valley. The objectives of the study were to (1) examine the travel behavior of welfare recipients, (2) assess the relationship between access to transportation and the employment outcomes of welfare recipients, and (3) develop a set of policy and planning recommendations to improve the transportation options of welfare recipients and other low-wage workers living in smaller metropolitan and rural areas.

This study confirms that the transportation barriers facing welfare recipients are not experienced exclusively by welfare recipients living in large metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. Many of the barriers are widespread. Similar to welfare recipients in large urban areas, welfare recipients in Fresno County who report the greatest travel difficulties are those who are transit dependent and those who are traveling to many unfamiliar destinations while searching for employment. Most welfare recipients find that their travel to childcare is relatively easy. However, welfare recipients who use childcare centers and homes report greater travel difficulties compared to those who rely for care on relatives, friends, or neighbors. In addition, relative to other commuters, welfare participants more frequently travel during off-peak hours when transit service may be limited.

Moreover, welfare recipients with unlimited access to automobiles have higher employment rates and report fewer transportation problems. These findings are quite robust across a number of recent studies. Access to automobiles, however, is highly variable across racial and ethnic groups. African-Americans are more likely to use public transit and less likely to use cars compared to other racial/ethnic groups. Access to automobiles may also vary by the reliability of the automobiles themselves since many welfare recipients own older vehicles that require frequent maintenance and repairs.

Some of the transportation issues facing welfare recipients in smaller urban and rural areas are quite unique. Compared to welfare recipients in other urban areas, those in Fresno County are more likely to travel by car and less likely to rely on public transit. The survey shows that 86 percent of all Fresno welfare recipients commute by car compared to only 60 percent of welfare recipients living in Los Angeles County. Overall, Fresno welfare recipients have less difficulty traveling to and from work compared to welfare recipients in Los Angeles.

Fresno welfare recipients are more likely to live in rural areas distant from the urban core of the county. Approximately 23 percent of Fresno County welfare participants live outside of the Fresno-Clovis urban center. Transit usage among rural welfare recipients is significantly lower than transit use among urban welfare recipients. Rural transit service is much more limited and travel times into the Fresno-Clovis metropolitan area can be long. Relative to recipients living in some of the rural areas, those living in Fresno-Clovis have higher levels of transit service, shorter travel times, and live in close proximity to bus stops. Rural welfare recipients are also less likely to use any form of childcare and have lower employment rates than their urban counterparts.

In contrast to other studies showing greater isolation and transportation difficulties among the rural poor, a rural residential location in Fresno County does not appear to influence welfare recipients' ease of travel. This finding may be due to the lower employment rates among rural welfare recipients. Those with the greatest transportation difficulties may be least likely to find employment and, therefore, travel. It may also be due to rural welfare participants' greater reliance on automobiles. Finally, the ease of travel among rural welfare participants may also be affected by the location of their employment. Only three percent of respondents live in rural areas and commute into the Fresno-Clovis area; in contrast, 15 percent live and work in rural areas. Interestingly, close to 30 percent of all respondents who live in Fresno-Clovis commute to work destinations outside of the urban area.

To respond to the transportation needs of welfare recipients, Fresno County provides transportation assistance that includes free bus passes and tokens as well as mileage reimbursement for participants who travel by car. Approximately 22 percent of all survey respondents who engaged in work-related travel received some sort of subsidy from the county. In two separate questions, survey respondents were asked about their automobile- and transit-related policy preferences. The top car-related policy preference among all respondents, including respondents who currently drive automobiles, is assistance in purchasing automobiles. In terms of public transit, survey respondents overwhelmingly prefer a shuttle service that would take them to and from work.

Overall, the findings from this study suggest the following types of policy solutions.

Auto programs to facilitate ease of travel particularly among welfare recipients who are looking for jobs, welfare recipients who commute from Fresno-Clovis to rural areas, and welfare recipients who own unreliable vehicles;

A special emphasis on programs to aid welfare participants while they search for employment;

Targeted investments in urban public transit which may include extending service hours and, perhaps, experimenting with non-fixed route service to large employment sites outside of the metropolitan area;

Increasing the supply of childcare services, particularly in rural areas of the county; and

Administrative efforts to ensure that those who qualify for transportation subsidies receive them.

Introduction

The passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 fundamentally transformed the provision of social assistance in the United States. Gone is Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), a program that entitled needy families with children to an array of benefits and public services. In its place is Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), a program that abolishes federal entitlements, provides flexible block grants to the states, mandates tough new work requirements, and imposes a five-year lifetime limit on the receipt of public assistance. No longer can low-income families rely on long-term government support to remain at home and raise their families. Current welfare programs mandate employment for most recipients and offer temporary financial aid and short-term employment assistance to help welfare recipients transition into the labor market. In compliance with the new federal legislation, California has implemented the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program. The program provides time-limited cash assistance to families with children and requires welfare recipients to participate in work-related activities as a condition of eligibility.

As a result of this fundamental restructuring of the U.S. welfare system, millions of welfare recipients are required to enter the paid labor market. Public agencies must establish programs to transition recipients into the labor market or else risk dramatic increases in poverty rates. A growing number of studies suggest that reliable transportation--via automobiles or public transit--is essential to linking welfare recipients to employment opportunities (Blumenberg and Ong 1998; Danziger et al., forthcoming; Ong 1996; Cervero et al. forthcoming).

Many of the previous studies on this topic have rested on secondary analysis of aggregate administrative and survey data; and most have focused on major metropolitan areas such as Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco/Bay Area. The results of these studies have varied in large part due to methodological differences or differences in the geographic areas examined. Some studies show that public transit services are inadequate because they fail to provide reliable service from the central city to the suburbs where most of the low-wage employment growth has occurred. The authors of these studies find that welfare recipients face an array of transportation problems: limited services to suburban neighborhoods, long distances between suburban transit routes and job sites, long and complicated commutes, and limited off-peak service. Other scholars find that the mobility of low-wage workers is limited more by not having automobiles than by their residential location in job-poor, central-city neighborhoods.

While these studies make a variety of contributions to our understanding of transportation and welfare reform, most cannot assess the day-to-day travel behavior of welfare recipients; and they are particularly silent regarding the transportation needs of welfare recipients living in smaller urban areas and cities and in rural areas. Nationally, approximately 21 percent of welfare recipients live in rural, non-metropolitan areas (Rural Policy Research Institute 1999). In this study, we use survey data to examine the transportation behavior and needs of CalWORKs recipients in Fresno County. Fresno is located in the Central Valley, California's agricultural heartland that extends from Kern County in the south to Shasta County in the north (Umbach 1998). The Central Valley is home to approximately 30 percent of the state's welfare caseload and has welfare usage rates that are often higher than those in more urbanized counties such as Los Angeles (California Department of Social Services, various dates).

The purpose of this study is to:

Understand the travel behavior of welfare recipients;

Examine strategies by which welfare recipients attempt to overcome their transportation barriers;

Identify the transportation needs of welfare recipients living in the Central Valley;

Examine the relationship between access to reliable transportation and employment status; and

Develop a set of policy and planning recommendations to improve the transportation options of welfare recipients and other low-wage workers living in smaller, more rural, metropolitan areas.

Fresno County

Fresno County is one of 18 Central Valley counties.1 It has an agricultural-based economy with large seasonal fluctuations in employment, high unemployment rates, and higher than average poverty and welfare usage rates. Like all other welfare programs in the state, the Fresno County program has been recently restructured to help welfare recipients overcome their employment barriers and make successful transitions into the labor market.

Figure 1 is a map of Fresno County showing its relationship to the rest of the state as well as its various cities. Fresno is the largest city within the county and is adjacent to Clovis, the second largest city. Sixty percent of the county population lives in these two cities (California State Department of Finance 2001). Twenty percent of the county population is dispersed among 13 small cities and the remaining 20 percent live in unincorporated areas throughout the county (California Department of Finance 2001).

As Figure 2 shows, employment in Fresno County is seasonal and results in highly variable monthly unemployment rates. Unemployment rates are lowest in August and September during prime harvesting months, when they drop to 10-11 percent; they rise to as high as 17 percent in the winter months (California Employment Development Department 2001). However, even during peak employment months, unemployment in Fresno County is still well above the average for the state. For example, in August of 2000, the unemployment rate in Fresno County was 11.7 percent compared to 4.9 percent in California overall (California Employment Development Department 2001). As a consequence, welfare usage rates are high. In February of 1999, the welfare usage rate among working-age adults (18 to 64 years of age) in Fresno County was 1.4 percent, compared to .5 percent for the state (California Department of Social Services various dates; California Department of Finance 1998).

 

Figure 1: Fresno County, California

Figure 3 shows the geographic distribution of welfare recipients in the county. Most welfare recipients (80%) are located within the urbanized area of the county; this area includes the cities of Fresno and Clovis. Ten percent live in the other small cities that are scattered around the county; and 10 percent live outside of cities entirely. Employment in the county is also concentrated in the urbanized area, although slightly less concentrated than welfare recipients. Seventy-four percent of all jobs and 78 percent of low-waged, feminized jobs in the county are located in the urbanized area.2 In the urbanized areas, 74 percent of all low-wage employment is in retail and services and another 13 percent in manufacturing. In non-urbanized areas, 55 percent of all employment is in retail and services; eighteen percent of employment is in manufacturing and another 18 percent in wholesale trades.

 

Figure 2: Fresno County Monthly Welfare
Caseload and Unemployment Rates

Fresno County has three major types of transit service--intra-city service serving some of the larger urban areas and a few of the smaller cities, inter-city service that transports riders from outlying areas into the city of Fresno, and demand-responsive service or dial-a-ride service that largely serves rural areas. The largest transit system in the county is the Fresno Area Express (FAX) which offers 18 fixed-route bus lines and paratransit service. The city of Clovis has the second largest transit system in the County. The Fresno County Rural Transit Agency (FCRTA) provides service within each of the thirteen rural incorporated cities of Fresno County. Much of the service provided by FCRTA is demand responsive; however, their services include fixed-route service in two cities (Sanger and Selma) and fixed-route inter-city service.

In compliance with the CalWORKs program, Fresno County has developed a range of services and programs to help welfare recipients overcome employment barriers, find jobs, and achieve "self-reliance." These services include an initial appraisal to determine the skills and interests of participants and an assessment of the types of services that will best meet their needs. The county also provides formal job search assistance. For those welfare recipients who have greater difficulty finding employment, the county conducts an in-depth evaluation of participants' skills, interests, and barriers. Welfare recipients may be eligible for onsite services to remove employment barriers (JOBS 2000) and, if necessary for their employment, they may also receive education or training such as remedial education, English as a Second Language classes, or vocational training.

The county provides welfare recipients with some transportation assistance, including free bus passes and tokens as well as mileage reimbursement for participants who use cars. The county also has a diversion program that qualifies CalWORKs-eligible families for one-time financial assistance that would enable families to avoid applying for ongoing public assistance. The diversion program includes the payment of transportation expenses, including auto insurance, car payments, car repairs, bus passes, gasoline, or driving-related licenses or fees.3

The Study

To examine the travel behavior and needs of welfare recipients and to aid in the development of the survey instrument, we held six focus groups in Fresno County during August of 2000. We then conducted a telephone survey of 502 CalWORKs recipients in Fresno County. Our sample was drawn from Fresno County administrative records for July of 2000; the records included all CalWORKS recipients, even those who were exempt from participation in welfare-to-work activities. The survey was administered in May and June of 2001 and conducted in Spanish, English, and Hmong. A full description of the focus group and the survey methodology is included in Appendices Two and Three.

In the first section of the survey, respondents completed an abbreviated travel diary in which they described the first five trips that they had taken on the previous day. Welfare recipients reported on their destinations and their travel modes. We then asked recipients questions about their travel related to work, job search, and childcare. The next section of the survey included questions related to automobiles and public transit. Finally, we asked participants to rank major auto-related and transit-related policies and identify programs that would best meet their travel needs. The text of the complete survey instrument is included in Appendix Five.

 

Figure 3: The Geographic Distribution of Welfare
Recipients in Fresno County

Source: Fresno County Welfare Administrative Data.

Major Findings

This report is organized as follows. In Chapter 2 we review the literature related to transportation, welfare recipients, and welfare reform. Appendix One includes a summary of this literature in the form of a table. Chapter 3 presents the analysis of the focus group data and Chapter 4 includes the analysis of the survey data. Detailed descriptions of the research methodology, data analysis, and materials can be found in the appendices. Chapter 5 draws on the findings from the previous sections to offer policy and program suggestions for addressing the transportation needs of welfare recipients in Fresno County. Special attention is paid to how the transportation needs of welfare recipients in the Central Valley compare to those of welfare recipients living in larger, urban areas such as Los Angeles.

The principal findings of the study include the following:

Over 50 percent of respondents report owning automobiles; and 86 percent report traveling to work by car.

Welfare recipients with cars--and particularly those with unlimited access to cars--are less likely to report difficulty when searching for and traveling to work compared to welfare recipients who travel by other means.

Transit-dependent welfare recipients and welfare recipients who are looking for employment report the greatest travel difficulties.

Very few welfare recipients travel from rural areas of the county into the Fresno-Clovis urban area.

Most welfare recipients find that their travel to childcare is relatively easy; however, high percentages of welfare recipients do not use any form of childcare.

Rural welfare recipients are least likely to travel using public transit and have lower employment rates than urban welfare recipients.

Controlling for other factors, employment rates among welfare recipients are positively related to unlimited access to automobiles and living in urban areas.

Controlling for other factors, travel barriers among welfare recipients are associated with a lack of access to automobiles, job search, and difficulties with auto insurance.

Approximately one-quarter of all welfare recipients who are either working or engaged in job search report receiving transportation subsidies.

Review of Previous Research on Welfare Recipients and Transportation

Since the passage of welfare reform in 1996, policymakers have emphasized transportation as one of the key elements in helping welfare recipients make the transition from welfare into the labor market. In a recent press briefing as part of his speech supporting policies to make it easier for low-income workers to own cars, former President Clinton stated the following:

...one of the biggest barriers today is transportation--and not, interestingly enough, not just for people living in small towns like Brockton, but also increasingly for people living in inner cities...It doesn't take Einstein to figure out that transportation is critical to matching the available work force with the available jobs.

Newspaper articles report anecdotal evidence of the difficulties welfare recipients face when traveling to work and to the many other destinations essential to employment such as daycare centers, schools, and employment offices (Baily 1997; Fisher and Jacobs 1997; Gross 1997). Central to these accounts are missed bus connections, broken-down cars, long commutes, and limited transit service.

A growing body of scholarly research underscores the important role transportation serves in facilitating the transition into the labor market. This review of existing research focuses on the following four general areas:

Travel patterns and transportation expenditures of low-income commuters, particularly welfare recipients;

The existence and employment effects of a spatial mismatch between the residential location of welfare recipients and low-wage employment;

The relationship between the commute mode of welfare recipients and employment outcomes; and

Evaluations of transportation programs to address transportation barriers among welfare recipients.

The following literature review and Appendix One summarize the academic scholarship in the above four substantive areas. In general, the studies present the following eight major findings:

Most welfare recipients commute by car; however, welfare recipients are much more likely to be transit-dependent than the general population.

Many welfare recipients face a mismatch between their residential locations and the location of employment opportunities; however, the extent of this spatial mismatch varies across metropolitan areas.

Improved access to jobs has resulted in better employment outcomes for welfare recipients.

Most welfare recipients commute by car, although public transit usage is significantly higher among welfare recipients than other commuters.

Access to cars is associated with positive employment outcomes.

Fixed-route public transit is best suited for travel in job-rich areas with high concentrations of welfare recipients; however, evidence on the relationship between access to public transit service and employment is weak.

Many rural welfare recipients live distant from employment centers; however, very few studies have examined the relationship between transportation and the employment outcomes of rural welfare recipients.

The overall effectiveness of transportation services intended to help welfare recipients travel to job-related activities has not been established.

The Travel Patterns and Transportation
Expenditures of Welfare Recipients

The literature on travel behavior and transportation expenditures shows that welfare recipients have distinct transportation-related characteristics. Welfare recipients:

have a higher reliance on public transit compared to other non-low-income commuters;

make more trips but travel fewer miles than low-income men;

trip chain, make more trips on the way to and from work compared to men;

have shorter average commute distances compared to all commuters;

are more likely to work a non-standard work schedule and travel during off-peak hours; and

spend more of their incomes on transportation than on any other expenditure except housing and food.

The following section reviews the demographic and economic characteristics of California welfare recipients relative to other adults, specifically focusing on the travel behavior and expenditure patterns of welfare recipients by examining the following: commute mode, person trips and miles, commute distance and time, time of travel, and transportation expenditures.

(1) Characteristics of Adult Welfare Recipients in California

Welfare recipients have demographic and economic characteristics that both distinguish them from other adults and help explain their unique travel patterns. Table 1 highlights some of the salient characteristics of welfare recipients and adults in California. Overall, welfare recipients are more often female, more racially and ethnically diverse, more likely to be heads of single-parent families, and less likely to be employed than are all California adults. Welfare recipients also have more constraints on their personal mobility than other adults. They typically have primary responsibility for the travel of children without the aid of a spouse; they are more likely to be transit-dependent; and they are less likely to have the resources necessary to overcome their transportation barriers.

Table 1: Characteristics of Adult Welfare Recipients
and All Adults, California, 1999

 

Characteristics

California Welfare Recipients

California Adults

Sex (adults)

 

 

Males

20%*

43%**

Females

80%*

57%**

Race

 

 

Hispanic

34%*

31%**

White

32%*

50%**

Black

21%*

6%**

Asian

13%*

12%**

Married

30%*

51%**

Average Number of Persons

3 persons in assistance unit*

2.81 in household**

Average Number of Children

2.2 in assistance unit*

na

Age Distribution (15 years+)

 

 

15 to 24 Years

34%*

5%*

25 to 34 Years

33%*

19%*

35 to 44 Years

23%*

25%*

45 to 54 Years

9%*

20%*

55 to 64 Years

2%*

12%*

65+ Years

.1%*

19%*

In Labor Force

41.4%*

66.3%**

Average TANF/CalWORKs Grant

$495 per month*

na

Income

 

 

Average Monthly Gross Earned Income

per Case

$735*

na

Median Family Income

na

$4,150 per month**

Automobiles

 

 

Owns a Vehicle

31.5%*

na

Travels to Work in a Vehicle

na

86.2%***

na: not available

 

Source: *California Department of Social Services (1999). **State of California, Department of Finance (2001). ***1990 Census of Population, STF3C.

(2) Commute Mode

Two of the biggest predictors of commute mode are having a driver's license and having reliable access to automobiles (UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies); welfare recipients are less likely than other population groups to have either. Table 2 shows the commute mode for the following four different population groups: non-low-income, low-income, single parents, women with incomes under $5,000, and welfare recipients in Los Angeles. The first column represents the commute mode for non-low-income commuters.4 Among this group approximately two percent commute by public transit. In contrast, the column on the far right indicates that 26 percent of welfare recipients surveyed in Los Angeles commute by public transit (UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies 2000).

The figures show that a high percentage of commuters, regardless of income, commute using personal vehicles, although this figure is much lower among welfare recipients compared to the other three groups represented in the table. While welfare recipients use cars much more than commonly reported, they are still as many as 13 times more likely to commute on public transit compared to all commuters. Moreover, many welfare recipients who commute by personal vehicle have limited access to these vehicles. For example, of the 60 percent of welfare recipients in Los Angeles who travel by car, 36 percent had unlimited access to a household car, 18 percent had limited access, and 15 percent did not have a household car but were able to borrow one (UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies 2000).

Table 2: Commute Mode

 

Murakami and Young (1997)

Murakami and Young (1997)

Rosenbloom(1994)

UCLA Lewis Center
(2000)

 

U.S.

U.S.

U.S.

Los Angeles

Mode

Non-Low
Income

Low-Income,
Single Parents

Women with
Income
$5,000

Welfare Recipients

Personal Vehicle

90%

83%

74%

60%

Transit

2%

7%

12%

26%

Walk

3%

7%

14%

7%

Other

2%

2%

na

2%

(3) Person Trips

Overall, as income rises, people make more trips and travel longer distances (Rosenbloom 1994). However, variations in travel patterns by sex, income, and family structure help to explain the travel behavior of low-income, female-headed households, of which welfare recipients are a subgroup.

Table 3 shows daily person trips and miles for seven different subgroups of the population. These data are not directly comparable since the individual studies rely on three separate surveys, were conducted in different years, and focus on slightly different population groups. However, these data can be used to support the overall following conclusion--urban women tend to make more trips than men but, on average, travel fewer miles (Rosenbloom 1994).

Hu and Young (1999) show that trip making among single-parent households with young children is higher than for all persons and for all adults without children. Rosenbloom (1994) also shows that low-income, working urban women make more trips and travel more miles than do all working women. Rosenbloom's (1994) data for female-headed households with young children do not control for employment. While she finds that this group of women makes fewer trips and travels fewer miles than working, low-income women, in all instances, they make more trips and travel fewer miles than comparable men (Rosenbloom 1994). Finally, regardless of income, single mothers travel fewer miles and make more trips than comparable men (Rosenbloom 1994).

Table 3: Daily Person Trips and Miles

Population Group

Geographic Scope

Study

Trips

Miles

All persons

U.S.

Hu and Young, 1999

4.3

38.67

Single adult, child < 6

U.S.

Hu and Young, 1999

4.8

na

Adults and no children

U .S.

Hu and Young, 1999

4.19

na

Urban working women

U .S.

Rosenbloom, 1994

3.8

26.28

Urban working women < $5,000

U .S.

Rosenbloom, 1994

4.37

28.06

Female-headed household, children 0-5

U .S.

Rosenbloom, 1994

3.6

25.1

Employed welfare recipients

Los Angeles

UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies, 2000

3.4

na

Women tend to make more trips than do men because they are disproportionately responsible for household-sustaining activities including trips to the daycare center, the grocery store, and other similar destinations (McGuckin and Murakami 1999). Some of these trips are made as part of trip chains, a series of trips in a tour anchored by home or work. Sixty-one percent of women make at least one stop on the trip home from work as compared to approximately 46 percent of men (McGuckin and Murakami 1999). Twenty-eight percent of women make two or more stops on the way home from work as opposed to 18 percent of men (McGuckin and Murakami 1999). Additionally while only one-fifth of men stop on the way to work, nearly one-third of women stop on the way to work in the morning (McGuckin and Murakami 1999). This figure may be related to the fact that women drop-off or pick-up additional passengers with a greater frequency than their male counterparts (Federal Highway Administration 1995; Taylor and Mauch 1996.) Interestingly, sex differentiation in this pattern remains constant even when controlling for single fathers and single mothers. Single mothers tend to make more child-serving trips than do single fathers. For example, 65 percent of single women with children less than five years of age stop on the way to work compared to only 33 percent of single fathers (McGuckin and Murakami 1999).

(4) Commute Distance and Time

Typically, commute distance is positively correlated with earnings; therefore, on average higher-income commuters travel longer distances than lower-income commuters (Taylor and Ong 1995). A number of factors explain this relationship. First, higher-wage jobs tend to be more dispersed throughout the metropolitan area (Simpson 1992). Second, higher income leads to the desire for more housing and land, the relative costs of which are significantly lower in the suburban fringe of metropolitan areas than in the central city (Muth, 1969; Simpson 1992). Third, higher-income households often seek residential amenities such as high quality schools, low crime rates, and recreational facilities, all of which are more typical of newer suburbs than older, inner-city neighborhoods. Fourth, higher-wage workers have greater access to cars, lowering the opportunity costs of traveling to work by reducing commute time for any given distance (Taylor and Ong 1995). Finally, the positive correlation between earnings and commute distance occurs because competitive labor markets generate compensating variation in wages to offset non-pecuniary costs to workers, such as those related to long-distance commutes (Viscusi 1992).

Therefore, on average, welfare recipients and low-income commuters have significantly shorter commute distances than all commuters. Rosenbloom (1994) finds some variation in the relationship between income and commute distance. However, she finds that those in the lowest income category (earning less than $5,000) commute the shortest distances, just under six miles (Rosenbloom 1994). Murakami and Young (1999) find that approximately 66 percent of the trips made by single-parents fall within a three-mile radius compared to 49 percent of the trips made by non-low-income individuals.

(5) Time of Travel (Peak Versus Off-Peak)

Many of the work trips made by low-income women occur during off-peak hours when transit service may be limited or, in some cases, non-existent. On average, less educated women are more likely to work non-standard hours than are other women and, therefore, are more likely to travel during evenings, nights, and weekends. Figure 4 shows that women ages 18 to 34 with a high school education or less are the least likely to work a fixed daytime schedule (Presser and Cox 1997). Furthermore, women with pre-school age children are one and a half times more likely to work non-standard hours compared to women without children (Presser 1995). The results are similar for welfare recipients in Los Angeles; only two-thirds of employed welfare recipients leave for work during the peak morning hours (UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies 2000).

 

Figure 4: Fixed Daytime Employment Schedule, Women, 1991

There are two principal reasons why women tend to work non-standard schedules. Women are disproportionately concentrated in service sector jobs in which non-standard hours are prevalent (Presser and Cox 1997). For example, more than 45 percent of janitors and cleaners and more than 37 percent of waitresses work non-standard hours (Presser and Cox 1997). While many young women work non-standard schedules because it is a requirement of their jobs (40%), a high percentage (27%) also report that they prefer these hours so that they can arrange better care for their children (Presser and Cox 1997). The percentage of women who prefer non-standard schedules rises to 31 percent among young women whose youngest children are under 5 years of age (Presser and Cox 1997). Preferences by some women for nontraditional work hours coupled with the expected growth in jobs requiring nonstandard work schedules suggest an increase in off-peak commuters, particularly among women with young children.

(6) Expenditures

Figure 5 shows that households receiving public assistance spend 15 percent of their annual expenditures on transportation compared to 19 percent among households who do not receive public assistance (Passero 1996). The difference in expenditure patterns can be explained, in part, by employment status. Among households receiving public assistance and without working members, spending on transportation drops to 9.5 percent of annual expenditures compared to 19.1 percent among households that receive public assistance but have one or more working members (Passero 1996). These differences in expenditures may be narrowing as increasing numbers of welfare recipients are required to work. In a more recent study, Tan (2000) shows only a .01 percent difference in the percentage of annual transportation expenditures between assisted and non-assisted families.

 

Figure 5: Transportation as a Percentage of Annual Expenditures,
1st Quarter 1992 to 1st Quarter 1994

 


Figure 6: Annual Expenditures of Publicly-Assisted Families, 1998

Nevertheless, as of 1998, publicly-assisted households were spending more on transportation than any other expenditure except housing and food (Tan 2000). However, when welfare recipients are surveyed about their transportation policy preferences, they typically prefer improvements in transit service, such as more frequent service, rather than lower fares (UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies 1999).

Job Access and Welfare Recipients

Current policies aimed at increasing welfare recipients' spatial access to employment are largely predicated on the notion of a spatial mismatch between the residential location of welfare recipients in central cities and increasing job opportunities in suburban neighborhoods. To assess whether welfare recipients face a "spatial mismatch," a number of studies have examined the geographic location of welfare recipients in relation to low-wage jobs, social and employment services, and public transit. These studies find that many welfare recipients face a spatial mismatch; most cities have at least some inner-city neighborhoods where unemployment rates are high, jobs are few, and welfare recipients live distant from employment opportunities. Moreover, some studies show that improved access to jobs results in better employment outcomes for welfare recipients.

However, the spatial mismatch is likely more relevant in metropolitan areas with high levels of residential segregation and poor transportation options for reverse commuters, and less relevant in smaller, more centralized metropolitan areas (Ihlanfeldt & Sjoquist, 1998).

First proposed by John Kain (1968) in the 1960s, the spatial mismatch hypothesis was an effort by Kain and other scholars to explain the deplorable economic position of low-skilled African-Americans living in central-city areas. Proponents of the spatial mismatch hypothesis argue that the shift in the demand for labor toward suburban areas, racial discrimination in housing markets, and poor transportation linkages between city and suburb, among other factors, isolate African-Americans in poor, central-city neighborhoods. Therefore, the argument follows that joblessness and low wages among African-Americans are, in part, the result of their systematic spatial separation from low-wage job opportunities increasingly located in suburban areas. Similar to African-Americans, welfare recipients are disproportionately concentrated in central areas distant from suburban job opportunities. The merits of the spatial mismatch hypothesis have been examined in more than 75 studies and in at least 8 comprehensive literature reviews.5 With some exceptions, the evidence supports the negative effects of the spatial mismatch hypothesis on many African-Americans.

Empirical support for the spatial mismatch hypothesis has formed the intellectual foundation for the scholarship on welfare recipients and their access to jobs. Extending from the spatial mismatch hypothesis literature, researchers have produced a series of ecological studies depicting the spatial separation between welfare recipients and low-wage jobs. While not directly testing the spatial mismatch hypothesis and its application to welfare recipients, these studies rely on maps to graphically depict the location of welfare recipients, low-wage jobs, and, frequently, the public-transit service linking the two. These analyses highlight the diversity in the degree and type of spatial mismatch within and among U.S. metropolitan areas.

Table 4 summarizes some of these studies and is followed by short descriptions of the findings for select U.S. metropolitan areas. As the descriptions suggest, in some metropolitan areas, such as Detroit, welfare recipients experience a high degree of separation between residential locations in the central city and outlying suburban job opportunities. In other metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles or Boston, welfare recipients experience more localized or neighborhood level mismatches. However, in almost all cases, the studies find that many welfare recipients live in neighborhoods that are distant from low-wage jobs and poorly served by existing fixed-route, public transit.

Table 4: Degree and Type of Spatial Mismatch

City-Region

Degree of Spatial Mismatch

Type of Spatial Mismatch

Access to Public Transit

Alameda County, CA (Cervero et al. forthcoming)

Variable

Variable

Variable

Atlanta, GA

(Rich 1999; Sawicky and Moody 2000)

High

Central City-Suburb; Suburb to Suburb

Low

Boston, MA

(Lacombe 1998)

(Shen 2001)

 

High

Variable

 

Central City-Suburb

Neighborhood

 

Low

na

Chicago, IL

(Thakuriah et al. 1999; Pugh 1999)

Medium

Central City-Suburb

High

Cleveland, OH

(Bania et al. 1999)

High

Central City-Suburb

Low

Detroit, MI

(Allard and Danziger 2000; Laube, et al. 1997)

High

Central City Suburb; Suburb to Suburb

Low

Los Angeles, CA

(Blumenberg and Ong 2001)

Variable

Neighborhood

Varies by neighborhood

Milwaukee, WI

(Pawasarat 1997; Pugh 1999)

High

Central City-Suburb

Low

Philadelphia, PA

(Pugh 1999)

Medium

Neighborhood; Inner-city gaps

Low

St. Louis, Missouri (Laube et al. 1997)

Low

1.9 jobs in the city for every employed city resident

na

(1) Atlanta, Georgia

Studies suggest that welfare recipients living in Atlanta face a substantial spatial mismatch. This mismatch includes a traditional central city-suburban mismatch as well as a mismatch across suburban areas (Rich 1999). Over the past few decades, Atlanta has become a large, polycentric metropolitan region. While the suburban job market and population have grown significantly, this growth has not been uniform throughout the outer suburban rings of the metropolitan area. The majority of low-income families and welfare recipients live within the official city limits; however, a number of suburban areas are home to concentrations of low-income families. Decentralized and multi-nodal suburban growth has resulted in a metropolitan landscape characterized by wealthy suburbs abutting low-income suburbs as well as the more traditional concentration of low-income families in the central city (Rich 1999).

In 1970, the City of Atlanta had 55 percent of the region's employment, but by 1990 the City's share of employment dropped to 29 percent (Pugh 1999). Approximately 12 percent of the population but 71 percent of all TANF recipients live within the Atlanta city limits (Rich 1999). Although the region has some of the highest employment and population growth in the United States, due to limited transit service and long commutes, welfare recipients living within the city limits have difficulty traveling to the expansive exurban employment nodes. Additionally, welfare recipients who live in poor, outer-ring suburbs face many difficulties when trying to travel to jobs in dispersed suburban areas (Rich 1999; Ihlanfeldt 1993). Therefore, welfare recipients living in multi-nodal Atlanta face numerous transit and access barriers whether they live within the central city or in one of its job-poor suburbs.

(2) Chicago, Illinois

Different than most other cities studied, Chicago, which has significant exurban and suburban growth, has also experienced notable central city growth and boasts an extensive multi-nodal transit system. The extensive transportation system in Chicago coupled with a strong regional economy significantly eases the impact of the spatial mismatch. As a whole, the Chicago area population is extremely transit dependent and a large number, 25 percent of the population, already reverse commute. The employment problem in Chicago's inner city may stem more from inadequate access to information and education than from transportation barriers (Pugh 1999).

(3) Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland has experienced a declining central city while its surrounding suburban areas have dispersed, creating a large and distant blanket of suburban development. However, unlike some other cities, the net population of the Cleveland metropolitan area has declined since 1970 and new immigrant populations have not replaced the vacancies in the inner city (Bania, et al. 1999). Exacerbating the low economic regional growth is the lack of coordination between the transportation carriers that serve the eight counties that comprise the Cleveland metropolitan area, each of which operates independently (Bania, et al. 1999).

(4) Detroit, Michigan

Detroit offers a paradigmatic example of spatial mismatch in Midwestern, rustbelt cities at the end of the twentieth century. Similar to Cleveland, it has experienced significant central-city decline--a paucity of employment opportunities, decreasing population, concentrated poverty, and a large concentration of welfare recipients and families receiving other forms of public assistance--as well as extensive suburban growth (Allard and Danziger 2000; Laube, et al. 1997).

Over the past few decades, as the central city declined at an alarming rate, suburban Detroit experienced nearly all of the regional job growth (Laube, et al. 1997). The decline in central-city employment and the rise in suburban employment and population have resulted in a difficult commute for Detroit's poor, inner-city population (Laube, et al. 1997). Allard and Danziger (2000) found that areas with high concentrations of poverty and welfare receipt were farthest from employment opportunities.

(5) Los Angeles, California

Geographic data for Los Angeles show that there is a spatial mismatch between the residential locations of welfare recipients and the locations of low-wage jobs. However, the mismatch is not necessarily between central city and suburbs. Welfare recipients' access to employment varies depending on their residential location and their commute mode (Blumenberg and Ong 2001). Many welfare recipients in Los Angeles live in central-city neighborhoods adjacent to the central business district (CBD) and are able to reach many jobs within a reasonable commute by either car or public transit. In these neighborhoods, spatial access to jobs is good and high unemployment rates are likely the result of a myriad of other employment barriers (Danziger et al. forthcoming). However, some welfare recipients live in job-poor, central-city neighborhoods where, if transit-dependent, they face long and difficult commutes that limit their likelihood of finding and sustaining employment even if they are traveling to destinations within the central city (Blumenberg and Ong 2001).

(6) Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Like Atlanta and Detroit, Milwaukee has a very high incident of spatial mismatch and racial segregation. Unlike Atlanta and similar to Detroit, the spatial mismatch is limited to the classic central city-suburb dichotomy. Furthermore, the root of the extreme spatial mismatch in Milwaukee seems to have less to do with expansive suburban development, although its suburbs are expansive, than with entrenched racial tensions between the inner-city, African-American population -- 97 percent of the African-American population lives in the central-city -- and the outlying white suburban community. Among one of the most significant barriers to employment in Milwaukee is the non-coordination of central city and suburban transit providers (Pawasarat 1997).

(7) Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

While not subject to a severe spatial mismatch, welfare recipients living in Philadelphia continue to face significant spatial barriers to employment. Pugh (1999) links this to two problems -- localized or "micro" gaps in public transit and employment as well as slow job growth in the entire region. In addition to low overall growth, Philadelphia, like Detroit and Milwaukee, is extremely racially segregated. In cases where there is low regional employment growth, the studies on both Cleveland and Philadelphia suggest that adequate transportation may be extremely important (Pugh 1999).

(8) Rural Areas

Welfare recipients living in rural areas face unique challenges in making the transition into the labor market. Rural areas tend to offer fewer job opportunities; average earnings are lower in rural than urban areas; and, in some counties, available jobs are concentrated in the highly seasonal agricultural sector where the demand for labor fluctuates from month-to-month (Kaplan 1998; Weber and Duncan nd). Without local employment, rural welfare recipients may find themselves living distant from urban employment centers and in areas where public infrastructure--public transportation, social service programs, and other services--is minimal. On average, rural residents--including welfare recipients--must travel longer distances to work, to reach services, and to make household-sustaining trips (Dewees 2000).

Studies suggest that close to 40 percent of all U.S. rural residents live in areas without public transportation and another 28 percent of rural residents live in areas with low levels of transit service (Rucker 1994). Many studies assert that the opportunities of rural welfare recipients vary by community and are based on the relative access that welfare recipients have to jobs and support services (Fletcher et al. 2000). However, very little is known about the role of transportation, in particular, in limiting the employment opportunities of welfare recipients. Most of the existing evidence is anecdotal. For example in one study of welfare recipients in Iowa, a welfare participant is quoted as stating:

I could have had a job on the 15th [of the month] but I didn't have a vehicle. It takes about half an hour to 45 minutes just to get downtown on the bus. Then another 20 minutes after transferring to the appropriate bus. The buses don't even start out here until 6:15 in the morning. So how the heck can I get to work by 6:30? (Fletcher et al. 2000:15)

The unique conditions of rural areas have motivated the adoption of particular types of policies aimed at improving rural transit service. These include demand-responsive service where customers call at least 24 hours in advance to arrange an appointment to be transported to a particular site, vanpooling, the coordination of travel to a single site, and captivated-rate bus service where a bus company receives funds based on the number of recipients in the region and is required to provide services to all recipients in that region.

Conclusion

These spatial analyses of welfare recipients highlight the diversity in the degree and type of spatial mismatch within and among various U.S. metropolitan areas. In some areas, such as Detroit, welfare recipients experience a distinct central city-suburban mismatch. In other metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles and Philadelphia, welfare recipients experience a more localized or neighborhood level mismatch. While these variations are significant, the studies find that most cities have at least some inner-city neighborhoods where unemployment rates are high, jobs are few, and welfare recipients live distant from employment opportunities.

There is a growing literature that suggests that spatial isolation from jobs leads to adverse economic outcomes for welfare recipients. Ong and Blumenberg (1998) show that long distance commutes in the low-income community are related to lower earnings.

Blumenberg and Ong (1998) show that access to employment leads to lower welfare usage rates. Allard and Danziger (2000) show that access to employment opportunities is related to higher employment among Detroit welfare recipients. Finally, the research conducted by Cervero et al. (forthcoming) in Alameda County, California shows that automobile access leads to higher employment among welfare recipients; so, too, does highly accessible transit when it is within a walkable distance from residences.

Cars, Public Transit, and Welfare Recipients

In 1997 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported that 6.7 percent of all welfare recipients owned vehicles (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 1997). This figure has been widely publicized and used by federal agencies to promote the use of federal funds to enhance public transit services for welfare recipients and other low-income commuters. However, other research indicates that a higher percentage of welfare recipients have access to automobiles than initially reported and that access to cars, rather than public transit, is strongly related to positive employment outcomes. While far from a problem-free solution, cars offer flexibility in trip making which is particularly important in searching for jobs and in making child-serving trips. They also offer women personal security which is particularly important when traveling during off-peak hours when service may be limited, riders few, and waiting at dark, isolated stops is dangerous.

(1) Automobiles

Auto ownership among all households has been increasing over time. Figure 7 shows the steady decline in zero-vehicle households from 21 percent in 1969 to 8 percent in 1995 (Hu and Young 1999). Still, access to automobiles varies dramatically by income, race, ethnicity, and family structure. One-fifth of all low-income households, those with incomes below $25,000, do not own vehicles compared to only one percent of higher income households, those with incomes over $55,000 (Hu and Young 1999). African-Americans have the highest incidence of zero-vehicles, comprising approximately 12 percent of all households and 35 percent of households without vehicles (U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics 1995). Single parents are also overrepresented among zero-vehicle households, comprising 5 percent of the population and 12 percent of households without cars (U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics 1995).

 

Figure 7: Zero-Vehicle Households, 1969-1995

As Table 5 shows, car ownership rates among welfare recipients vary greatly across studies. Regardless, these figures show higher rates of auto ownership than initially reported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (1997) but much lower rates of auto ownership compared to the vehicle ownership rates of the general population.

Table 5: Welfare Recipients and Auto Ownership

Study/Source

Measure

Geographic Area

Auto Ownership or Access

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (1997)

Vehicle ownership (asset data)

Welfare recipients, U.S.

6.7%

California Department of Social Services (1999)

Vehicle ownership

Welfare recipients, California

31.5%

O'Regan and Quigley (2000)

Without auto access

Women with children receiving public assistance

43.1%

Danziger et al., (forthcoming)

Has access to a car and/or has a driver's license

Welfare recipients, urban Michigan county

53%

UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies (2000)

Own a vehicle

Welfare recipients, Los Angeles

55%

Murakami and Young (1997)

Household with vehicle

Low-income, single parent, U.S.

64%

Federman et al. (1996)

Car or truck owner

Families receiving welfare

65.3%

UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies (2000)

Travel to work in a car

Welfare recipients, Los Angeles

68%

Differences in vehicle ownership rates may be due to a number of factors. Welfare administrative data may underestimate vehicle ownership rates since they are derived from vehicle asset reports. Welfare recipients may be inclined to underreport their vehicle ownership since, in many states, welfare recipients are not eligible for benefits if the value of their vehicles exceeds a certain dollar amount. In California, this figure has been set at $4,650. Vehicle ownership data from other sources may also underestimate vehicle use since it does not incorporate access to vehicles that are owned by other household members or access to cars owned by friends, family, or neighbors. For example, in Los Angeles, while 55 percent of all welfare recipients own vehicles, 68 percent of recipients commute by car (UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies 2000).

In addition to owning fewer automobiles, low-income households typically own older, less reliable vehicles. Murakami and Young (1997) find that low-income, single parent households own vehicles that are, on average, 11 years old compared to the vehicles owned by non-low-income households that are, on average, 8 years old. In Los Angeles, 69 percent of the cars owned by welfare recipients were 10 years old or older (UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies 2000). Over one-half of all survey respondents in Los Angeles (55%) had at least one mechanical problem, and 23 percent had three or more mechanical problems over the last three months that prevented them from reaching their destinations (UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies 2000). Fifty-nine percent of welfare recipients in Los Angeles stated that mechanical problems were one of the two major problems with owning cars (UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies 2000).

Despite the problems associated with auto ownership, an increasing number of studies suggest that access to cars is associated with positive employment outcomes. Raphael and Stoll (2000) examine employment gaps across racial and ethnic groups. They find that raising minority car-ownership rates to white car-ownership rates would narrow the employment differential for Blacks and Latinos relative to Whites (Raphael and Stoll 2000). With respect to welfare recipients, Ong (1996) finds that those with automobiles have a statistically higher likelihood of employment and higher mean hours and monthly earnings compared to welfare recipients without automobiles. In an analysis of Alameda County, Cervero et al. (forthcoming) also find that car ownership significantly increases the probability that welfare recipients move from welfare into the labor market. While cars are not required for most jobs (Holzer and Danziger 1998), they may enable welfare recipients to search more widely for employment than can welfare recipients without cars (Danziger and Holzer reported in O'Regan and Quigley 2000).6 Moreover, they typically increase the number of available jobs located within a reasonable commute distance (Blumenberg and Ong 2001).

(2) Public Transit

In the face of insufficient private vehicle ownership and a general reluctance on the part of policymakers to advance automobile-centered transportation policy, public transit provides many low-income commuters with an essential service. Public transit usage among all commuters is quite low; approximately 2 percent of all trips and 3.5 percent of work trips are made on public transit (Hu and Young 1999). In contrast, the percentage of welfare recipients reliant on public transportation for their daily commute is markedly higher, close to 50 percent. (See Table 5.) For transit-dependent welfare recipients, the success of welfare reform may well rest on the level and quality of transit service in their neighborhoods.

The high percentage of transit-dependent welfare recipients suggests that there is a role for public transit in assisting welfare recipients in their work-related travel. Fixed route public transit is best suited for travel in job-rich areas with high concentrations of welfare recipients (Blumenberg and Ong 2001). If welfare recipients live in job-rich neighborhoods, public transit may allow them access to a fair number of jobs (Blumenberg and Ong 2001). Also, once transit-dependent welfare recipients move from the job search into employment and are traveling to a single employment destination, they typically travel with greater ease (UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies 2000).

While public transit has its problems, some welfare recipients find that public transit can meet their travel needs provided that service levels are high--in other words, that buses run frequently and cover a large and well-coordinated area (UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies 2000). Therefore, many of the policy discussions related to public transit center on service improvements such as increasing levels of service in low-income neighborhoods, better integrating of services between and among transit agencies, and reducing fares (American Public Transit Association 1999; Community Transportation Association of America, 1999).7 Also, recent legal actions by the NAACP-Legal Defense Fund and the Bus Riders Union against the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) in Los Angeles highlight efforts to improve transit service for low-income riders (Brown, 1998). Bus proponents argued successfully that the MTA's distribution of transit funds shifted resources to rail and away from buses and, in doing so, negatively affected the levels of transit service available to low-income riders (Brown, 1998). As a result of a consent decree, the MTA was mandated to improve bus service to low-income areas (Brown, 1998).

However, studies also reveal the many limitations of existing fixed-route public transit. During the job-search process, when low-income individuals must travel to many unknown destinations, transit may not be a viable option. In Los Angeles, transit users were twice as likely to state that their job-search trips were somewhat or very difficult compared to those traveling by car (UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies 2000). Further, evidence on the relationship between access to public transit service and employment is weak. Sanchez (1999) finds that access to public transit is positively related to the labor participation rates (average annual weeks worked) of residents in Portland and Atlanta. However, with respect to welfare recipients, access to public transit does not appear to be significantly related to employment. Cervero et al. (forthcoming) find that measures of transit service quality are not significant predictors of employment among welfare recipients in Alameda County, California. They also find that increasing the percentage of welfare recipients with cars has stronger effects on employment than improving transit mobility (Cervero et al. forthcoming). In a working paper, Ong (2001) also finds no relationship between public transit access and employment for welfare recipients in Los Angeles.

Policy and Process Evaluations

Numerous studies show that transportation is one of the major program ingredients to helping welfare recipients make successful transitions from welfare into the labor market. The results of this research formed the basis for the passage of the Job Access and Reverse Commute Grant Program, a federal program to assist states and localities in developing new or expanded transportation services that connect welfare recipients and other low-income persons to jobs and employment-related services. This program combined with other federal resources has helped to establish and/or expand numerous transportation programs and services for welfare recipients. However, the overall effectiveness of many of these programs has not been established. While there are numerous reports describing what has become known as "best practices" in the field (American Public Transit Association 1998; Community Transportation Association of America 1999; Mathematica Policy Research Inc. 1998; Reichert, 1998), formal program evaluations of these services are few. Since many of these programs have only recently been established, it may be too early to evaluate their success.

There have been a few studies that extend beyond simply describing the services provided and use data to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the program under review. One of the earliest programs, a program that preceded welfare reform, was the Bridges to Work demonstration project, a joint project of Public/Private Ventures (P/PV), a Philadelphia-based nonprofit research and program development organization, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The purpose of the project was to connect inner-city residents with suburban employment opportunities by providing job placement and transportation services to mitigate the problems created by travel to distant and unfamiliar employment locations. The demonstration project was located in nine sites and began the first of four years of operations in late 1996. As of March 1999, there were 1,960 participants, 982 of whom were eligible to receive services as part of the program. By this time, 599, or just over 61 percent, had been placed in jobs (Elliott et. al. 1999). However, it is difficult to assess the effectiveness of this particular intervention. While the research design included the random assignment of participants to experimental and control groups, at least thus far the published report does not compare results between the two groups.

A second high-profile transportation program is JOBLINKS, sixteen demonstration projects designed to test a variety of transportation strategies that help unemployed and underemployed people reach economic self-sufficiency. The project began in 1993 with funding from the Federal Transit Administration and has been administered by the Community Transportation Association of America. Goldenberg et al. (1998) evaluated the programs and concluded that the availability of transportation services enabled participants, many of them welfare recipients, to travel to jobs, interviews, and job training sites. Evaluations of these demonstration projects highlight four key factors in their success: improved and expanded service; community support; coordination among public agencies; and flexibility, responsiveness, and the serious consideration of non-traditional transportation services (Goldenberg et al. 1998; Applied Management and Planning Group 1999). Once again, the overall effectiveness of the demonstration projects is difficult to determine since a rigorous research design was not followed.

The U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) is responsible for evaluating the success and implementation of the Department of Transportation's Access to Jobs program. The initial report (U.S. General Accounting Office 1999) analyzes the implementation of the Job Access and Reverse Commute Program after its first year and, therefore, does not use performance measures to evaluate the "success" of the transit services initiated under this federal funding program. The GAO found that coalition building among federal agencies, local organizations, and federal grant recipients is essential to the provision of useful transportation services (U.S. General Accounting Office 1999; U.S. Department of Transportation 1998). While the majority of applicants for federal assistance grants were traditional transportation service providers, the program encouraged the application of "consolidated" organizations--coalitions of local organizations and agencies, who utilized existing transportation services to round out their own services (U.S. General Accounting Office 1999). The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) further encouraged the development of locally-appropriate solutions, facilitated by the coming together of numerous area stakeholders (U.S. Department of Transportation 1998).

In nearly all of the programs, transportation service providers relied upon the existing infrastructure and directed the DOT grants towards expanding and improving services, such as increasing the hours and frequency of services provided (U.S. General Accounting Office 1999). Among the other services provided by grantees were additional lines, demand-responsive service, improved connections, van and shuttle service, limited carpooling and ridesharing, increased marketing information, and access to childcare and other social service agencies. In response to the GAO report, the DOT moved away from welcoming consolidated grant applications to actively encouraging transit providers and local organizations and agencies to work together to coordinate services (U.S. General Accounting Office 1999).

While some program evaluations focus on successful attempts to increase public transportation services, Waller and Hughes (1999) critique the institutional reliance on public transit systems as the only viable solution to low-income job access. They cite the institutional reliance on public transportation as a lazy willingness to provide service that is "good enough" and thereby perpetuates the disadvantaged position of the urban underclass (Waller and Hughes 1999). While Waller and Hughes (1999) fail to find truly successful paratransit programs, they have found successful attempts to facilitate private automobile ownership. They note that 43 states lifted automobile asset limitations and a number of local programs offer insurance assistance to ease the purchase or lease of vehicles and allow the use of TANF funds for automobile repair (Waller and Hughes 1999). Policy recommendations include the following: welfare eligibility based on income, not based on current or partial receipt of assistance; revised asset limitations to allow for each household worker to own a car; public-private partnerships; and the use of non-welfare-to-work funds for transit funding, so as to eliminate overlap between TANF and welfare-to-work funds.

Nearly all of the program evaluations stressed similar elements necessary to the provision of effective transportation services for welfare recipients. These elements include expanded and improved transit service; coordination among agencies; increased access to information; the inclusion of some paratransit alternatives, such as vanpools and ridesharing; and, to a lesser extent, vehicle purchase assistance (U.S. Department of Transportation 1998; U.S. General Accounting Office 1999; Waller and Hughes 1999).

Travel Behavior and Needs of Welfare Recipients: Focus Group Findings

In late summer of 2000, we organized a series of focus groups in Fresno County to initiate our examination of the transportation barriers facing welfare recipients. The interviews were arranged with the assistance of the Fresno County Department of Social Services, although no agency personnel were present during the interviews themselves. Welfare participants were invited to participate in focus groups following a job-search workshop or a welfare intake session. Welfare participants volunteered their participation and were offered Target gift certificates upon completion of the focus group.

A total of 81 individuals participated in the focus groups, which were held in offices of the Fresno County Department of Employment and Temporary Assistance (DETA) or in career centers located in the cities of Fresno, Reedley and Kerman. (See Figure 1 for the location of these cities.) We asked focus group participants to fill out a short written questionnaire and then to engage in informal discussions around a number of transportation-related topics, including mode of travel, commute time, and commute ease or difficulty. The focus groups were conducted in a discussion format, allowing participants to talk freely without the constraints imposed by a formal survey.

The focus group transcripts are included in Appendix Four. Overall the focus groups highlight the following issues:

The majority of focus group participants relied on public transportation as their means for routine travel including their search for employment.

The majority of focus group participants reported difficulties traveling to and from work-related destinations.

Focus group participants were concerned about the quality and quantity of public transit service particularly in rural areas.

Respondents from rural areas reported more transportation-related difficulties than did urban respondents.

The comments made by focus group participants were essential in developing the formal survey instrument used for the analysis presented in Chapter Four of this report.

Profile of Focus Group Participants

To establish the basic profile of focus group participants, we asked participants to fill out a short written survey. The survey included the date and location of the focus group, basic demographic characteristics (such as race/ethnicity, sex, and age) and a few transportation questions, including whether they owned a car, their relative access to cars, and their perceptions of their ease or difficulty of travel. Table 1 summarizes the information from this survey. The major distinction among the six focus groups lies in the nature of participants' involvement in the welfare program. The participants in two of the focus groups were new enrollees who had just completed an orientation to the requirements of the welfare program. The participants in the other four focus groups were involved in job-search programs intended to help them find employment.8

As indicated by the data presented in Table 6, most of the participants were involved in job-search workshops (65); the remaining 16 participants were contacted at welfare intake sessions. The welfare intake interviewees were female and slightly younger on average than those interviewed at the job search workshops. Overall, 71 percent of focus group participants was female with an average age of approximately 29.

Table 6: Focus Group Participant Characteristics

Location

Date

Number of survey responses

Type of Participants

% Female

Mean Age

(1) Suburban Fresno

8/21/00

11

Job program

64%

27.8

(2) Reedley

8/21/00

11

Job program

73%

33.4

(3) Fresno (Intake Office)

8/22/00

16 (2 focus groups)

Welfare intake

100%

26.8

(4) Central Fresno

8/23/00

20

Job program

30%

30.6

(5) Kerman

8/23/00

23

Job program

87%

28

Total

 

81

 

71%

29.1

Table 7 presents data on the ethnicity of the focus group participants. Approximately 50 percent were white, and the remainder were Latino, African-American, of mixed racial or ethnic backgrounds, or from other racial backgrounds. One notable omission from the focus groups was Asians--particularly Hmong, ethnic Cambodians who comprise a sizeable percentage of the Fresno County caseload. The underrepresentation of Hmong welfare recipients in the focus groups may be due to a number of factors. It may be due to a self-selection bias, an underlying reason why Hmong welfare recipients might be less likely to volunteer their participation. The bias could occur if Hmong welfare recipients are less likely than other racial or ethnic groups to be involved in the initial phases of the welfare-to-work program. Or it may be due to the particular geographic location of the focus groups, perhaps outside of the neighborhoods in which Hmong welfare recipients travel.

Table 7: Ethnicity of Focus Group Participants

Location

White

Latino

African-American

Mixed

Other

(1) Suburban Fresno

30%

10%

20%

 

40%

(2) Reedley

70%

10%

 

10%

10%

(3) Fresno (Intake Office)

44%

44%

12%

 

 

(4) Central Fresno

35%

35%

9%

 

 

(5) Kerman

82%

9%

9%

 

 

Total

53%

21. 5%

10%

4%

11%

N

43

18

8

3

9

When questioned about car ownership, a majority of focus group participants reported that they do not own automobiles. The data presented in Table 8 show small differences in auto ownership rates across the focus groups. Auto ownership rates were significantly higher among participants in the Reedley focus group than in the others, perhaps because Reedley is located the furthest distance from the Fresno/Clovis area. Also, participants' reluctance to report auto-related assets may downwardly bias ownership data. According to state law, welfare recipients are not eligible for benefits if they own automobiles worth greater than $4,650.

However, auto ownership data by themselves underestimate the number of welfare recipients who travel by car. The data presented in Table 9 show that nearly half of those respondents who said they did not own cars can sometimes or usually borrow cars from friends or relatives. Clearly, access to automobiles either through ownership or borrowing is an important aspect of welfare recipients' transportation resources.

Table 8: Car Ownership (by focus group site)

Location

Yes

No

(1) Suburban Fresno

36%

64%

(2) Reedley

45%

55%

(3) Fresno (Intake Office)

38%

62%

(4) Central Fresno

30%

70%

(5) Kerman

39%

61%

Total

38%

62%

N

31

50

Table 9: Access to Automobiles

Can respondents who do not
own cars borrow them?

 

%

N

Yes, usually

23%

19

Sometimes

33%

27

No

43%

35

The data presented in Table 10 suggest that a majority of focus group participants (57%) report at least some difficulty traveling to and from job-related activities. Not surprisingly, welfare recipients living in outlying areas such as Reedley and Kerman report the greatest travel difficulties. In contrast, those living in Fresno have an easier time traveling to job-related activities. However, these findings may also be biased by recipients' program status. Those recipients participating in the Fresno focus groups are only just entering the program and may have little experience upon which to base their responses. Therefore, they may underestimate the difficulties associated with a daily commute. Finally, the data presented in Table 11 suggest that recipients who own cars are apparently much less likely to report substantial problems traveling to job-related activities.

Table 10: Ease of Travel (by focus group site)

Reported difficulty of "finding a way" to job-related activities

 

No problem

A little difficult

Very difficult

Impossible

(1) Suburban Fresno

36%

28%

28%

9%

(2) Reedley

40%

30%

30%

--

(3) Fresno (Intake Office)

79%

14%

7%

--

(4) Central Fresno

32%

52%

16%

--

(5) Kerman

33%

38%

14%

14%

Total

43%

35%

17%

5%

N

35

28

14

4

Table 11: Ease of Travel and Car Ownership

Ease of Travel

Own car

Do not own car

N

No problem

64%

30%

35

A little difficult

25%

40%

28

Very difficult

11%

21%

14

Impossible

0%

9%

5

N

31

50

81

Focus Group Findings

Despite their different locations and participants, the focus groups highlight a number of common findings regarding welfare recipients and their transportation patterns and needs.

Primary Commute Mode

The majority of focus group participants relied on public transportation as their means for routine travel, including their search for employment. However, a significant percentage (38%) own automobiles. As expected, in some of the more rural parts of the county such as Reedley, focus groups participants were more reliant on automobiles. This may be due to the nature of public transportation in Reedley, which is dial-a-ride service. Transit riders may have to schedule their rides well in advance and many participants feel that this sort of service is not reliable.

Problems with Public Transportation

Some aspects of the public transit system seem to work quite well for welfare recipients living in the City of Fresno. Most participants report that bus stops are located close to their homes, that they are familiar with bus routes and know how to use the system, and that they feel safe using the bus. One participant declared her positive feelings about the Fresno transit system by stating, "I like the bus because I don't like traffic and the A/C is nice."

Although some participants state that they are satisfied with current bus service, it is possible that they have not yet tried to commute to jobs on a regular basis. Other transit users report serious shortcomings in the quality and quantity of transit service in Fresno County. Welfare recipients living in areas outside of the cities of Fresno and Clovis appear to face the greatest transportation barriers. Focus group participants cited a number of problems with the county's transit system. Many felt that the lack of an adequate bus system reduced their chances of obtaining or keeping jobs. Among the more significant problems were the following:

Infrequent service--Some respondents feel that the bus schedules entail lengthy waits and rides to employment sites.

Limited hours of service--Some respondents reported that the buses did not run on nights and weekends when they need to work. One welfare recipient stated, "On the weekends, also the buses don't run late, only till 8-9, and they start running later on the weekends. Also, on Sundays, a lot of buses don't even run." Another reported, "Every Sunday is hourly, so it is hard to take the bus that day."

Unreliable service--Some respondents report that the bus is frequently off schedule, resulting in tardiness to work or other appointments.

Length of time required to access employment-related destinations--Many respondents report that bus rides to prospective employers entail lengthy rides that may deter them from these jobs.

Stigmatization of transit-dependent riders--Some respondents state that they were regarded unfavorably by employers who believed that transit riders were more likely to be late. One participant stated, "I worked in the mall, and this one girl came in who was riding the bus. We already had four who were riding the bus. My manager didn't hire this woman because she was on the bus; he said he needed someone with reliable transportation, and I can't consider that reliable."

Limited transit service in rural areas--Some respondents from Reedley and Kerman reported wholly inadequate public transportation connecting their cities to employment opportunities elsewhere in the county. One participant agreed that "inside the city, the bus is good; rurally, it's not so good." When asked "how many would take public transit..." from Reedley to Fresno, one participant responded, "There is none." Another participant from Kerman stated, "The buses don't start till nine and you have to be there by then." Not surprisingly, rural recipients report having limited access to better employment opportunities in the City of Fresno where most of the jobs in the county are concentrated.

Transit Costs--Very few welfare recipients stated any concern regarding the costs of public transit. However, one participant was worried about her ability to afford public transit once she was no longer on welfare. She stated, "See, when you get off this, you don't get the help no more. That makes it a problem too, 'cause then you're working minimum wage and you have to have a bus pass too."

Private Transportation

Many participants without cars reported wanting to have cars, and those who relied on cars reported very few transportation problems. However, some focus group participants expressed problems associated with relying on friends for rides. One person said, "People start avoiding you," which could lead to becoming ostracized.

Child-Serving Trips

Some respondents report that they must also find transportation for their children, which can add time and trouble to the process of getting to and from work. Many respondents without recent workforce history may discount the problems associated with getting their children to and from daycare, school, and other activities. Additionally, some welfare recipients reported on the difficulties of taking children on public transit. One participant stated, "It's really hard if it's crowded--people don't want to move." In particular, a number of participants commented on how difficult it was to negotiate public transit with a stroller. One stated, "It's hard because of the stroller." Asked what policymakers could do to make it easier to travel with children on public transit, one respondent stated, "Make the aisles wider for the strollers."

Urban and Rural Differences

On the whole, respondents from rural areas reported more transportation-related difficulties than did their urban counterparts. Rural respondents were not optimistic about finding employment in their own communities. Yet they also felt that public transportation to Fresno was not a viable option, or at least not a very desirable one.

Program Participation and Transportation Barriers

The focus groups were conducted with two types of participants: new inductees (who, at the time of the focus groups, were attending orientation sessions) and those attending sessions at career centers. The responses to the interview suggest that those respondents entering the program were noticeably more sanguine about the challenges posed by transportation than those who were participating in the career center programming. Thus, experience with the employment process--and experience with the welfare program itself--may pose significant differences to the experiences, behaviors, and attitudes of participants.

A Survey of Fresno County
Welfare Recipients

The following section reports on the travel behavior of welfare recipients in Fresno County with limited comparisons to working-age adults, low-income single parents, and welfare recipients in Los Angeles. The analysis is based on a survey of 502 welfare recipients in Fresno County.

As Table 12 shows, welfare recipients in Fresno are similar, in many respects, to the two low-income comparison groups. They are disproportionately young, female, heads of households with a high-school degree or less. Approximately 50 percent of Fresno survey respondents are employed, and just over 50 percent own automobiles. Welfare recipients in Fresno are more likely to be working and have cars than welfare recipients in Los Angeles or than low-income, single parents.

The survey data for Fresno reveal the following significant findings related to transportation.

Welfare recipients with cars--and particularly those with unlimited access to cars--are less likely to report difficulty when searching for and traveling to work compared to welfare recipients who travel by other means.

In comparison with other racial and ethnic groups, African-Americans have the least access to automobiles.

Relative to welfare recipients who travel by car, those who are reliant on public transit are twice as likely to report their commute to and from work as difficult.

Welfare recipients who are actively searching for employment report greater travel difficulties than employed welfare recipients.

A high percentage of welfare recipients work weekends, variable schedules, and, therefore, travel during off-peak hours.

Most welfare recipients find that their travel to childcare is relatively easy; however, welfare recipients who use childcare centers and homes have more difficulty traveling than those who use relatives, friends, or neighbors.

Controlling for other factors, statistical models show that employment rates are positively related to unlimited access to automobiles and living in urban areas.

Controlling for other factors, statistical models show that welfare recipients' perceptions of their travel difficulties are associated with a lack of access to automobiles, job search, and difficulties with auto insurance.

Table 12: Demographic Characteristics--U.S., Los Angeles, and Fresno

Characteristics

All Working-Age Adults*

Low-Income

Single Parents*

LA GAIN

Participants*

Fresno

Survey***

 

U.S.

U.S.

Los Angeles

Fresno

Type of Household

 

 

 

 

Single-parent

7%

100%

81%

76%

Two-parent

45%

0%

19%

24%

Other

48%

0%

0%

0%

 

 

 

 

 

Urban/Rural

 

 

 

 

Urban

63%**

 

 

77.5%

Rural

37%**

 

 

22.5%

 

 

 

 

 

Education Level

 

 

 

 

Less than H.S. Degree

13%

33%

42%

41%

H.S. Degree or GED

27%

48%

26%

25%

More than H.S. Degree

42%

19%

33%

35%

Unknown

18%

0%

0%

0%

 

 

 

 

 

Sex

 

 

 

 

Female

50%

91%

93%

78%

Male

50%

9%

7%

22%

 

 

 

 

 

Employment Status

 

 

 

 

Employed

82%

50%

51%

56%

Unemployed/Not working

18%

59%

49%

44%

Age

 

 

 

 

18-30

31%

46%

37%

38%

31-44

41%

44%

44%

49%

45+

28%

10%

11%

13%

Not Reported

0%

0%

8%

 

 

 

 

 

 

Car Ownership

 

 

 

 

Own a Car

92%

53%

55%

57%

Do Not Own a Car

8%

47%

45%

43%

The following section is divided into three parts. The first part of the chapter examines the travel behavior of welfare recipients; this analysis includes discussion of travel to job-related activities and travel to childcare. The second part of the chapter examines mode-specific travel and focuses on welfare recipients' use of automobiles and public transit. The final section concludes with an analysis of the relationship between transportation barriers and two outcome measures--employment and ease of travel.

The Travel Behavior of Welfare Recipients in Fresno

Table 13 summarizes the data on the travel behavior of welfare recipients in Fresno County compared to all working-age adults in the U.S., low-income single parents in the U.S., and welfare recipients in Los Angeles. The Fresno data for this table were derived from an abbreviated travel diary wherein welfare recipients were asked to describe the first five trips that they had made on the day prior to the interview. These data show that welfare recipients in Fresno are more highly dependent on cars compared to the other two low-income comparison groups. For example, in Los Angeles 60 percent of all welfare recipients commute by automobile (either as drivers or as passengers) compared to 86 percent of all welfare recipients in Fresno. As Figure 8 shows, transit usage is typically higher in metropolitan areas with higher population densities and more extensive transit networks (Hu and Young 1999). Only 7 percent of all welfare recipients in Fresno commute by transit compared to 26 percent in Los Angeles.

Table 13: Travel Behavior Comparison--Data from the National Personal Transportation Survey, Los Angeles Transportation Needs Assessment, and the Fresno Survey

 

All Working-Age Adults*

Low-Income Single Parents*

LA GAIN
Participants*

Fresno Welfare Recipient Survey**

 

U.S.

U.S.

Los Angeles

Fresno

Destination

 

 

 

1,720 trips

Work

18%

9%

11%

9%

Home

33%

33%

36%

33%

Shopping

14%

15%

13%

22%

Other

35%

44%

40%

22%

 

 

 

 

 

Trip Mode

 

 

 

 

Car Driver

76%

50%

48%

60%

Car Passenger

16%

22%

16%

17%

Public Transit

3%

14%

18%

10%

Walk

4%

13%

16%

13%

Other

1%

2%

1%

1%

 

 

 

 

 

Work Trip Mode

 

 

 

 

Car Driver

83%

55%

50%

68%

Car Passenger

9%

21%

10%

18%

Public Transit

4%

16%

26%

7%

Walk

4%

8%

7%

6%

Other

1%

0%

2%

1%

Figure 8: Percent Annual Transit Trips Per Household by MSA Size

Among our sample, 56 percent were employed at the time of the interview, 21 percent were actively looking for work, and another 24 percent were unemployed (not working and not searching for employment). A small percentage (9%) of the trips made in a given day by all welfare recipients was to employment sites; even for working welfare recipients, only 15 percent of all trips were work-related. The remaining trips were to home, shopping, and other destinations. This figure is consistent with data for the other low-income comparison groups represented in Table 13.

Table 14 presents some of the travel behavior figures by welfare-to-work stage. Employed recipients show the highest percentage of work-related travel and travel to childcare. Among employed recipients, 15 percent of all trips are to job sites. Also, the data show that a slightly higher percentage of employed recipients rely on cars than do welfare recipients who are searching for employment. However, a much higher percentage of those employed perceive travel to be easy compared to those who are job searching.

Table 14: Travel and Welfare-to-Work Stage*

 

Employed

Job Search

Unemployed/Not Searching

N

278

104

118

Travel by Car

75%

73%

na

Travel is Easy

76%

52%

na

Number of Trips per Day

3.6

3.6

3.1

Type of Trips

 

 

 

Work

15%

1%

.6%

Job Search

0%

3%

0%

Childcare

8%

7%

6%

Home

33%

44%

47%

Shopping

20%

23%

26%

Other

20%

13%

12%

Total # Trips

979

370

371

*These figures are based on the trips reported as part of the abbreviated travel diary.

Welfare recipients' place of residence also influences their perceptions of their ease of travel. Seventy-one percent of all urban residents found their travel to be easy compared to 64 percent of rural residents. Most survey respondents (52%) live and work in the Fresno-Clovis urban area where welfare recipients appear to have access to jobs within a reasonable commute. While only three percent of respondents live in rural areas and commute into the Fresno-Clovis area, 15 percent live and work in rural areas. Interestingly, close to 30 percent of all respondents live in Fresno-Clovis and commute to work destinations outside of the urban area.

Among welfare recipients who were employed, a high percentage worked variable schedules or hours in which they were required to travel during non-peak periods when public transit service is less available. Table 15 shows that more than 15 percent of all respondents work more than one job and, therefore, have to travel to multiple destinations, perhaps in the same day. Fifty-seven percent of all respondents travel to work during the peak and 43 percent travel home during the peak. Finally, 43 percent of welfare recipients frequently work during the weekends when transit service in some areas is at a reduced or even minimal schedule. (See Appendix Seven for transit travel schedules).

Table 15: Work Schedule

Work Schedule

Percentage of Employed

% Work More than One Job

15.4%

Frequently Works Weekends

43.4%

Variable Hours

35.9%

Employment Begins between 7:00 and 10:00

57%

Employment Ends between 4:00 and 6:00

43%

Total Employed

278

Not only do welfare recipients have responsibility for their own transportation, but also they are responsible for transporting their children, who typically need some type of care while parents are working or looking for employment. As the focus groups data show, travel for and with children can be cumbersome. Therefore, survey respondents were asked to describe their childcare arrangements and their childcare-related travel for non-school-aged children. The following are the major findings related to childcare:

Forty percent of all welfare recipients with young children report that they do not use childcare; this figure increases to 50 percent among rural welfare recipients.

Working welfare recipients are more likely to use formalized care (such as daycare centers) and paid care than welfare recipients who are unemployed.

Most welfare recipients find it easy to travel to childcare.

Travel for childcare is the most difficult for welfare recipients who are searching for employment and those using formal childcare centers.

The presence of more than one young child in the family does not increase welfare recipients' travel difficulties.

Among welfare recipients in our sample, 44 percent had non-school-aged children. Among these families, 42 percent did not use any type of childcare; twenty-four percent paid a relative, friend, or neighbor to care for their young children; eighteen percent used unpaid care; and only 16 percent used some form of center-based care--either a licensed daycare center or a family childcare center. As Table 16 shows, welfare recipients' use of childcare varies by employment status. Compared to other welfare recipients, those who were employment are more likely to use care and are more likely to use formal providers such as childcare centers. For example, 70 percent of non-working/non-searching recipients used no childcare compared to 24 percent of employed recipients. Fifty-five percent of working welfare recipients paid someone to care for their children compared to approximately 25 percent of unemployed welfare recipients. Employment status affects the ability of welfare recipients to pay for care and, therefore, their child care usage rates; it also influences the type of child care providers that recipients use.

Table 16: Type of Childcare by Employment Status

Type of Childcare

Total

Employed

Job Searching

Not Working/ Not Searching

Unpaid Relative, Friend, Neighbor

39

21%

19%

10%

Paid Relative, Friend, Neighbor

52

34%

13%

12%

Daycare Centers and Homes

28

17%

10%

7%

Other

9

5%

3%

2%

No Childcare

94

23%

56%

70%

Total (with young children)

222

115

50

55

Place of residence also appears related to the type of childcare that welfare recipients' use. Although the sample of rural welfare recipients with small children is low, it appears that they are more likely to go without childcare and are less likely to use formal daycare centers or homes. The child care opportunities and constraints of rural welfare recipients is a topic that needs additional study.

Table 17: Type of Childcare by Place of Residence

Type of Childcare

Urban

Rural

Total

Unpaid Relative, Friend, Neighbor

19%

14%

39

Paid Relative, Friend, Neighbor

23%

26%

52

Daycare Centers and Homes

15%

8%

28

Other

4%

5%

9

No Childcare

40%

50%

94

Total

177

45

222

Employment increases the likelihood that welfare recipients use paid childcare. And, as Table 18 shows, 76 percent of employed welfare recipients view their travel to childcare as easy. In contrast, welfare recipients who are looking for employment find traveling to childcare to be the most difficult. Twenty-four percent of employed recipients found it difficult to travel to and from childcare compared to 42 percent who were searching for employment. Perhaps those with easy travel to childcare are more likely to look for or to keep jobs, or perhaps those with employment have the resources to better manage their complicated travel arrangements. Also, those who are employed may view childcare travel as less difficult because they have more unlimited access to cars compared to welfare recipients who are looking for employment.

Table 18: Ease of Travel to Childcare by Employment Status

Ease of Travel

Employed

Job Searching

Not Working/Not Searching

Total

Easy

76%

58%

72%

156

Difficult

24%

42%

28%

62

Total

133

46

39

218

The type of childcare that welfare recipients use is related to welfare recipients' perceptions of their ease or difficulty of travel. Most welfare recipients find that their travel to daycare is relatively easy, perhaps because many walk their children to their childcare providers or, related, because many rely on relatives, friends or neighbors for care. However, welfare recipients who use childcare centers and homes have more difficult travel than those who use relatives, friends, and neighbors. As Table 19 shows, 25 percent of recipients who rely on daycare centers or family homes report having difficult travel compared to 19 percent of those who use relatives, friends, and neighbors.

Table 19: Ease of Travel by Childcare Type

Type of Childcare

Easy

Difficult

N

Unpaid Relative, Friend, Neighbor

81%

19%

34

Paid Relative, Friend, Neighbor

81%

19%

40

Daycare Centers and Homes

74%

26%

25

Welfare recipients' ease of travel for childcare purposes may also be affected by the number of young children in the household, particularly if parents use multiple providers. It is common to find families in which a family member cares for infants, preschool children are enrolled in daycare centers, and older children attend afterschool programs. In our sample, 17 percent of children aged two and over attend daycare centers compared to 11 percent of children under the age of two. The most common type of childcare for those under the age of two is a paid relative or friend. Table 20 presents data on ease of travel by number of young children and shows that the number of children does not increase the difficulty of travel; in fact, just the opposite is true. This finding may be due to the fact that the survey asked only about non-school-aged children and that the majority of households with more than one young child were not likely to use childcare at all. Moreover, with one exception, the households with multiple children in care utilized the same type of childcare for all of their children.

Table 20: Ease of Travel by Number of Children

Number of Young Children

Easy

Difficult

N

One Child Present

70%

30%

140

More than One Child Present

74%

26%

79

Overall, welfare recipients in Fresno County do not appear to have major difficulties traveling to childcare. However, it is difficult to interpret this finding since many welfare recipients--even many working welfare recipients--do not use childcare, a troubling finding by itself. Among respondents who use childcare, those who were job searching and those who relied on childcare centers or family daycare centers report the greatest travel difficulties.

Welfare Recipients, Automobiles, and Public Transit

(1) Welfare Recipients and Automobiles

Studies show that access to cars increases employment outcomes (Danziger et al. forthcoming; Ong 1996, Ong, forthcoming). However, "access to automobiles" is highly variable--by race, by the amount of access that welfare recipients have to automobiles, and by the reliability of the vehicle itself. The findings from this study show that welfare recipients with reliable access to cars have the fewest transportation problems. However, the majority of those with cars in their households have limited access to these cars. In other words, although there may be cars in the household, they may not have access to them whenever necessary.

With respect to auto use, the survey revealed the following findings:

Most welfare recipients commute by car.

African-Americans are more likely to use public transit and less likely to use cars compared to Hispanic, White, and Southeast Asian welfare recipients.

A greater percentage of non-Hispanic white welfare recipients have unlimited access to household cars compared to Hispanics, African-Americans, and Southeast Asians.

Welfare recipients with unlimited access to cars are less likely to report difficulties searching for and traveling to work.

Welfare recipients who are employed are more likely to have unlimited access to household cars.

Welfare recipients are more likely to favor programs that aid in car ownership over other programs such as help with insurance costs.

Welfare recipients' access to automobiles is based on more than simply the ownership of vehicles or the presence of cars in the household. For this analysis, welfare recipients are considered to have unlimited access to household cars if they own vehicles or can use household cars any time they wish. They have limited access to cars if there are household cars that they can use frequently. The next category includes welfare recipients who may not have cars in their households but are able to borrow cars. The final category are welfare recipients who live in households without cars and who have difficulty borrowing them. Table 21 shows that 27 percent of drivers compared to 4 percent of car passengers have unlimited access to household cars. However, most welfare recipients--even most drivers--have limited access to vehicles. In these cases, there are cars in the household but frequently they are shared with other drivers.

Table 21: Auto Access for Welfare-To-Work Recipients,
Fresno County, 2001

Auto Access

All Recipients

Drivers

Car Passengers

Unlimited access to a household car

80

27%

4%

Limited access to a household car

288

70%

49%

No household car but borrowed car

34

1%

12%

No household car and unable to borrow

88

2%

35%

Total

490

199

50

Access to and use of automobiles varies by race and ethnicity; however, in all cases a majority of welfare recipients travel by car. Table 22 shows the transportation mode of welfare recipients traveling to employment or for job search. The data show that a higher percentage of African-Americans walk and use public transit compared to the other three racial/ethnic groups. African-Americans are also the most likely to live in zero-vehicle households; forty-five percent of all African-American households in the sample do not have automobiles. In contrast, Southeast Asians are almost exclusively reliant on cars. Ninety-two percent of Southeast Asian respondents travel by car and close to 90 percent have cars in their households.

Table 22: Transportation Mode of Job-Related Travel by Race

Mode

Hispanic

White

African-American

SE Asian

Total

Walk

5%

10%

13%

5%

32

Car*

79%

74%

58%

92%

338

Transit

16%

16%

29%

3%

75

Total

240

86

70

49

445

Table 23 shows welfare recipients' relative access to cars by race and ethnicity. Hispanic welfare recipients travel by car in slightly higher percentages than non-Hispanic whites. However, non-Hispanic whites have the most "unlimited" access to automobiles. Moreover, while most Southeast Asian welfare recipients use automobiles for their travel, they tend to have limited access to them. Southeast Asian welfare recipients tend to live in two-parent households and, therefore, likely compete with other family or household members for use of household cars.

Table 23: Level of Auto Access by Race

Auto Access

Hispanic

White

Black

SE Asian

Total

Unlimited access to a household car

17%

25%

10%

7%

80

Limited access to a household car

60%

53%

46%

85%

288

No household car but borrowed car

6%

9%

12%

2%

34

No household car and unable to borrow

18%

14%

32%

6%

88

Total

249

93

78

56

490

Welfare recipients' perceptions of the ease or difficulty of travel are related to their relative access to automobiles. As Table 24 shows, welfare recipients who have unlimited access to cars find it the least difficult to travel or search for work. As access to cars decline, welfare recipients' perceptions of their difficulty increase. For example, 86 percent of welfare recipients with unlimited access to cars perceive traveling to or searching for work as easy compared to only 55 percent of welfare recipients who live in households without cars and have difficulty borrowing them.

Table 24: Perceptions or Barriers when Traveling to or
Searching for Work and Access to Cars

Auto Access

Easy

Difficult

N

Unlimited access to a household car

86%

14%

80

Limited access to a household car

71%

29%

288

No household car but borrowed car

65%

35%

34

No household car and unable to borrow

45%

55%

88

Total

335

155

490

As the research summarized in Chapter 2 shows, access to reliable vehicles is related to positive employment outcomes. Car ownership is correlated with increases in employment and earnings as well as reductions in welfare usage (Ong 1996; Blumenberg and Ong 1998; Cervero et al. forthcoming; Danziger et al. forthcoming; Ong forthcoming). A vehicle allows recipients to search for employment in wider geographic areas and enables welfare recipients to more easily link work, childcare, and household-serving trips.

Table 25 depicts the relationship between employment status and levels of auto access. Nineteen percent of employed welfare recipients have unlimited access to cars, and only 14 percent have no household car and cannot borrow one. In contrast, more than 20 percent of respondents who were searching for employment or unemployed/not searching had little or no access to cars. It is difficult to distinguish the direction of causality between access to automobiles and employment. Welfare recipients may secure employment because they have unlimited access to cars, or they may purchase cars because they have employment.

Table 25: Employment Status and Level of Auto Access

Auto Access

Employed

Job Searching

Not Employed/Not Searching

Total

Unlimited access to a household car

19%

10%

16%

80

Limited access to a household car

61%

58%

54%

288

No household car but borrowed car

6%

7%

9%

34

No household car and unable to borrow

14%

26%

21%

88

Total

275

104

111

490

Respondents were also asked about their policy preferences related to cars. They were first asked to identify the car program or policy that would be most beneficial to them. Their choices included programs to help with car loans, car maintenance, insurance, and parking ticket clearance. Next, they were asked to identify the program that would be the least helpful to them. As Table 26 shows, car loans were the most popular policy preference regardless of the mode by which welfare recipients travel. However, car passengers revealed the strongest preference for car loans and car drivers the least (since many already own cars). Affordability is clearly an obstacle to car ownership. When asked to identify the main barrier to car ownership, approximately 64 percent of respondents stated that they could not afford to purchase an automobile. Given the concern with affordability, it is not surprising that many welfare recipients prefer car loans to other policy alternatives. Even drivers tend to prefer car loans, perhaps because many own old, unreliable vehicles needing replacement. Approximately 70 percent of car owners in the sample had vehicles that were over 10 years old; on average, these older cars break down twice as frequently as newer automobiles.9

Table 26: Auto Policy Preferences for Drivers, Car
Passengers and Transit Users

 

All Respondents

Drivers

Car Passengers

Transit

Car Loan

42%

37%

60%

48%

Maintenance/Road Assistance

20%

22%

17%

14%

Lower Liability Insurance Costs

25%

28%

19%

21%

Parking Ticket Clearance

5%

7%

0%

9%

None

6%

4%

4%

7%

Total

492

214

48

42

Table 27 shows that a sizeable percentage of welfare recipients are also concerned about maintenance and insurance costs. In a separate question, car owners were asked to identify the two biggest problems associated with car ownership. Sixty-three percent were concerned about maintenance, 48 percent about the cost of gasoline, and 34 percent about insurance costs.

Table 27: Problems with Car Ownership

Problems with Owning a Car

N

%

Maintenance problems/costs

178

63%

Insurance costs

95

34%

Do not have a California driver's license

10

3%

Problems with parking tickets and other violations

2

.8%

Cost of gasoline

135

48%

(2) Welfare Recipients and Public Transit

Fresno County has three major types of transit service--intra-city service in the larger urban area and a few smaller cities, inter-city service that transports riders from outlying areas into the City of Fresno, and demand-responsive service or dial-a-ride service that serves rural areas. As Table 28 shows, transit use varies by how it is measured and also by type of travel. Among employed welfare recipients, only 13 percent commute on public transit; this percentage increases to 27 percent among welfare recipients engaged in job search. An even higher percentage of the sample, 31 percent, had used public transit to make at least one trip during the week prior to the survey. These figures suggest that some welfare participants "transportation package," using multiple types of transportation for different types of trips or on different days.

Table 28: Transit Use

Transit Measures

N

Transit Use

Employed Respondents

 

 

Commute from home to work

64

13%

Commute from work to home

65

14%

Job Searching Respondents

 

 

Job Search

61

27%

All Respondents

 

 

Took bus 1+ days last week

152

31%

Source: Fresno Welfare Recipient Survey.

The sample size of welfare recipients who rely on public transit is quite small, so the results should be taken with some caution. However, the survey suggests the following:

Most welfare recipients commute to job-related destinations by car; however, rural residents are much less likely to use public transit than urban residents. Seventeen percent of urban residents commute to work-related destinations on public transit compared to only 3 percent of rural residents.

Compared to those who commute by car, transit users find that traveling to or searching for work is more difficult. As Table 29 shows, 19 percent of welfare recipients who drive report that their travel is difficult compared to 64 percent of those who travel by public transit.

Many transit users state that transit is not their optimal choice of travel. Eighty-five percent state that they use public transit because it is the only transportation available and not because it is convenient.

Respondents who took at least one trip on public transit during the week prior to the survey were asked a series of questions about their transit travel. Table 30 shows that on average these trips took more than an hour and the average wait time for the bus was close to 30 minutes.

However, most transit users do not seem concerned with either safety or crowding. Sixty-one percent of respondents reported never feeling threatened while waiting or riding the bus and over fifty percent stated that buses never passed them wiMthout stopping.

Table 29: Work-Related Trips and Ease of Travel by Mode

 

Driver

Car Passengers

Transit Riders

Easy

81%

56%

36%

Difficult

19%

44%

64%

Total

239

71

103

Table 30: Public Transit

Public Transit Measures

Sample

N

Outcome

Average travel time from home to destination

Used transit last week

152

70 minutes

Average travel from destination to home

Used transit last week

152

74 minutes

% traveling 30 minutes or less from home to destination

Used transit last week

152

41%

Average wait time

Used transit last week

152

26 minutes

1+ Transfers

 

 

 

 

Used transit last week

152

65%

 

Used transit for employment or job search

80

72%

% homes are more than one block from closest bus stop

Employed or job search

80

50%

% workplace is more than one block from closest bus stop

Employed

64

44%

Respondents were asked about their policy preferences related to public transit; their responses are reported in Table 31. Similar to the auto questions, respondents were asked to identify the types of transit programs or policies that would be most and least beneficial to them. Their choices included a free transit pass, more frequent bus service, emergency rides homes, and a free shuttle or vanpool. Respondents overwhelmingly preferred a shuttle van service that would take them to and from work. Among current transit riders, 20 percent preferred an unlimited transit pass even though welfare recipients are currently eligible for free bus passes. The county currently offers programs to help ease the transportation needs of welfare recipients; however, these subsidies are undersubscribed. Only 11 percent of working or job searching respondents received bus passes, and 8 percent received mileage reimbursements. Overall approximately 22 percent of all respondents who were eligible for transportation subsidies received them.

Table 31: Transit Policy Preferences by Mode

Policy Options

Drivers

Car Passengers

Transit Riders

Unlimited Transit Pass

13%

11%

20%

More Frequent Bus Service

14%

13%

15%

Emergency Lift Home From Work

5%

6%

0%

Shuttle Van Service To And From Work

64%

68%

63%

None

4%

3%

1%

Total

259

83

76

Employment and Access to Transportation

Many factors influence welfare recipients' ability to find and retain employment. A number of studies have examined the presence of barriers and their relationship to employment outcomes among welfare recipients. These studies typically center on a single employment barrier--poor job skills, physical or mental health problems, domestic violence, or inadequate employment support systems such as childcare and transportation. A few studies emphasize the presence of multiple barriers to employment (Olson and Pavetti 1996; Speiglman et al. 1999; Danziger et. al. forthcoming).

In this report, we focus on transportation barriers and examine their relationship to two outcome measures--the employment rate and welfare recipients' perceptions of their ease of travel. The first model presented in Table 33 uses logistic regression to model the employment rate as a function of age, education, the number of small children, race/ethnicity, unlimited access to a household car, ability to borrow a car, age of the vehicle, and residential location. The logistic regression takes the following functional form:

 

where Emp = working at the time of the survey; Bk = a set of 10 independent variables and : = the random error term. Table 32 defines the variables used in these analyses.

Table 32: Definition of Variables Used in Logistic Analysis

Variables

Definition

Dependent Variables

 

Employment

Employed at the time of the survey (1), job searching or unemployed at time of survey (0)

Difficult Travel

Travel for employment or job search is difficult (1), travel for employment or job search is easy (0)

Independent Variables

 

Age

Age of adult participant

Education

H.S. degree or more (1), less than a H.S. degree (0)

# of small children

Number of children 5 and under

# of children

Number of children under 18

Job search

Searching for employment (1), not searching (0)

Asian

Asian (1), Not Asian (0)

Black

Black (1), Not Black (0)

Hispanic

Hispanic (1), Not Hispanic (0)

Unlimited access to car

Unlimited Access to Car (1), Limited or No Access to Car (0)

Ability to borrow car

Ability to borrow a car (1), unable to borrow car (0)

Old Car

Car is 10 years or older (1), car is less than 10 years old (0)

Subsidy

Receives a transportation subsidy (1), does not receive subsidy (0)

Insure

Biggest problem with owning a car is insurance costs (1), insurance is not the biggest problem (0)

Rural

Lives outside Fresno or Clovis (1), lives in Fresno or Clovis (0)

Model 1 shows that holding constant for a number of characteristics related to the probability of employment, having unlimited access to automobiles is strongly associated with being employed. Additionally, having an older car reduces the likelihood of employment, but the ability to borrow cars is not a statistically significant predictor of employment. Additionally, living in a rural location within the county is negatively related to employment. Finally, the traditional human capital variables such as age and education are both positively associated with employment rates.

Table 33: Transportation and Barriers to Employment

MODEL 1: Barriers to Employment

 

Parameter

Std. Error

Odds Ratio

Intercept

-1.4579**

0.5874

 

Age

0.0214*

0.0129

1.022

Education

0.3616*

0.216

1.436

# of Small Children

0.0812

0.1243

1.085

Asian

1.1112**

0.4361

3.038

Black

0.3958

0.3165

1.486

Hispanic

0.5624**

0.2521

1.755

Unlimited Access to Car

1.178***

0.2527

3.248

Ability to Borrow Car

0.0693

0.2525

1.072

Old Car

-0.5565**

0.2593

0.573

Rural

-0.4121*

0.2437

0.662

 

 

 

 

-2 Log Likelihood

 

648.5

 

Chi-Square (df)

 

40.9 (10)

 

# of observations

 

458

 

*p<.10, **p<.05, ***p<.01

The next two models presented in Table 34 also use logistic regression; these models predict ease of travel for all respondents and then separately for respondents with cars in their households.10 The model takes on a similar functional form to the previous model:

 

where Difficult = welfare recipients' perception of the difficulty they have traveling for employment or job search; Bk = a set of 9 independent variables and : = the random error term. The findings show that once again, having unlimited access to cars is strongly associated with the perception of "easy" travel. Additionally, both models show that welfare recipients perceive their job search travel as much more difficult than their travel for employment. Asian welfare recipients appear to report more difficulty with their travel compared to other racial and ethnic groups. And finally, among welfare recipients with cars in their households, those who identify automobile insurance as a problem also report more difficulty with their travel.

In these models, a rural residential living location does not appear to influence welfare recipients' ease of travel. This finding may be due to the lower employment rates among rural welfare recipients. In other words, those recipients with the greatest transportation difficulties may be least likely to find employment and, therefore, may be less likely to travel at all. The finding may also be due to rural welfare participants' greater reliance on automobiles. Finally, the ease of travel among rural welfare participants may also be affected by the geographic location of their employment. Fifteen percent of all survey respondents live and work outside of the Fresno-Clovis metropolitan area. Only three percent of respondents live outside the metropolitan area and make the, perhaps, long commute into the Fresno-Clovis metropolitan area.

Additionally, the receipt of public transportation subsidies also does not influence welfare recipients' ease of travel, although the coefficient is positive. This finding is difficult to interpret since less than one quarter of welfare recipients receive these subsidies and those who receive assistance may also be the recipients with the greatest need.

Table 34: Ease of Travel

 

MODEL 2

All Respondents

MODEL 3

Cars in Household

 

Parameter

Std. Error

Odds Ratio

Parameter

Std. Error

Odds Ratio

Intercept

-1.0522***

0.3421

 

-1.8986

0.446

 

# of Children

0.119**

0.0599

1.126

0.1134*

0.0688

1.12

Asian

0.7553*

0.4502

2.128

1.1034**

0.5326

3.014

Black

-0.0789

0.3852

0.924

0.8385

0.5193

2.313

Hispanic

0.4084

0.3035

1.504

0.5618

0.3906

1.754

Job Search

0.7794***

0.2591

2.18

0.6823**

0.3294

1.978

Unlimited Access to Car

-1.3797***

0.2506

0.252

-1.3472***

0.3015

0.26

Ability to Borrow Car

-0.4137

0.3067

0.661

 

 

 

Subsidy

0.05

0.27

1.051

0.3876

0.3451

1.473

Insure

 

 

 

0.9332***

0.3292

2.543

Rural

0.167

0.2753

1.182

0.4487

0.326

1.566

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-2 Log Likelihood

 

545.6

 

 

376.5

 

Chi-Square (df)

 

64.9 (9)

 

 

49.3 (9)

 

# of observations

 

433

 

 

337

 

*p<.10, **p<.05, ***p<.01

Meeting the Transportation Needs of Welfare Recipients in Fresno

The study of welfare and transportation in Fresno County shows that some of the transportation barriers facing welfare recipients are experienced by urban and rural residents alike. The study also reveals some of the unique conditions faced by welfare recipients living in smaller urban areas (such as the cities of Fresno and Clovis) and those living in small towns and rural areas outside of the metropolitan area. The following sections highlight the key findings from this study and conclude with a set of policy recommendations to strengthen transportation services and programs for welfare recipients.

Cars. Despite concerns by many policymakers regarding the environmental externalities associated with driving, cars are clearly an important component of welfare recipients' travel. This research shows that welfare recipients with cars--and particularly those with unfettered access to cars--are less likely to report difficulty when searching for and traveling to work in comparison to welfakre recipients who travel by other means. Recipients with cars are also much more likely to be employed.

Access to automobiles is highly variable across racial and ethnic groups. African-Americans are more likely to use public transit and less likely to use cars compared to Hispanic, White, and Southeast Asian welfare recipients. A higher percentage of non-Hispanic white welfare recipients have unlimited access to household cars compared to Hispanics, African-Americans, and Southeast Asians. Also, access to automobiles may vary by the reliability of the automobiles themselves. Sixty-three percent of all car owners in the sample stated that one of the biggest problems with car ownership was maintenance problems and costs.

Public Transit. Most welfare recipients commute to job-related destinations by car; however, rural residents are much less likely to use public transit than urban residents. Seventeen percent of urban residents commute to work-related destinations on public transit compared to only 3 percent of rural residents. This can be explained by the higher levels of transit service in Fresno-Clovis, shorter travel times, and proximity to bus stops. In contrast, it is difficult to rely on transit in rural areas not only because there is less service but also, more importantly, because travel times can be lengthy. The difficulty rural welfare recipients have reaching jobs may be reflected in their lower employment rates compared to urban welfare recipients.

Overall, only a small percentage of welfare recipients commute to work on public transit (13%). However, in the week prior to the survey, 30 percent of the sample used public transit for at least one trip. Among this group of recipients, the average travel time was approximately 70 minutes although 41 percent traveled less than 30 minutes. The long average travel time may be due to the fact that 65 percent of these transit users had to make at least one transfer to reach their destinations. The average wait time at the bus stop was approximately 26 minutes.

Job Search. Welfare recipients have different travel needs based on the types of program-related activities in which they are engaged. In particular, those welfare recipients looking for employment report the greatest travel difficulties. Searching for employment typically requires welfare recipients to make numerous stops, perhaps at many different and unfamiliar locations.

Time of Travel. Among employed welfare recipients, a high percentage worked variable schedules or hours in which they were required to travel during non-peak periods when public transit service is less available. Forty-three percent of all respondents travel to work and 57 percent commute home during off peak periods. Moreover, 43 percent of welfare recipients frequently work during the weekends when transit service in some areas is at a reduced or even minimal schedule.

Residential Location--Place of Work. Among working welfare recipients, a majority (52%) live and work in the Fresno-Clovis urban area. Only three percent of respondents live in rural areas and commute into the Fresno-Clovis area; in contrast, 15 percent both live and work in rural areas or small cities outside Fresno-Clovis. Interestingly, close to 30 percent of all respondents live in Fresno-Clovis and commute to work destinations outside of the urban area.

Childcare. The findings with respect to travel to childcare are less clear, perhaps because many welfare recipients, even many who are employed, use no childcare at all. However the evidence suggests that while most welfare recipients find that their travel to childcare is relatively easy, welfare recipients who use childcare centers and homes report greater difficulty traveling than those who rely on relatives, friends, or neighbors for care. Rural welfare recipients are also less likely to use childcare than urban welfare recipients. While this fact reduces welfare recipients' travel to childcare providers, it may also contribute to their high unemployment rates. To increase employment rates among rural welfare recipients, policymakers will likely have to address childcare and transportation needs simultaneously.

Transportation Subsidies. Approximately 22 percent of all survey respondents who engaged in work-related travel received a transportation subsidy from the County.

Stated Policy Preferences. The top car-related policy preference among all respondents, including respondents who currently drive automobiles, is assistance in purchasing automobiles. Second in importance was lower cost liability insurance. In terms of public transit, survey respondents overwhelmingly preferred a shuttle service that would take them to and from work.

Policy Recommendations. The findings from this study suggest the following five types of policy solutions:

Auto programs to facilitate ease of travel particularly among welfare recipients who are looking for jobs, welfare recipients who commute from Fresno-Clovis to rural areas, and welfare recipients who own unreliable vehicles;

A special emphasis on programs to aid welfare participants while they search for employment;

Targeted investments in urban public transit which may include extending service hours and, perhaps, experimenting with non-fixed route service to large employment sites outside of the metropolitan area;

Increasing the supply of childcare services, particularly in rural areas of the county; and

Administrative efforts to ensure that those who qualify for transportation subsidies receive them.

The targeted application of each of these policies will enable welfare recipients to both look for and regularly commute to employment and other employment-related destinations.

Appendix One: Recent Research on Transportation and Welfare Recipeints

Area of Research

Study

Population

Travel Behavior of Welfare Recipients and Low-Income Commuters

UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies (2000)

Murakami and Young (1997)

Rosenbloom (1994)

 

McGuckin and Murakami (1999)


Presser (1995)

Presser and Cox (1997)

Welfare Recipients
(Los Angeles)


Low-Income, Single Parents (U.S.)

Urban Working Women; Urban Low-Income Working Women; Female-headed Households (U.S.)

Women, Female-Headed Households (U.S.)


Women with Pre-School Children (U.S.)

Less-Educated Women (U.S.)

Transportation Expenditures

Passero (1996)


Tan (2000)

Households Receiving Public Assistance (U.S.)

Households Receiving Public Assistance (U.S.)

Spatial Mismatch

Allard and Danziger (2000)

Bania et al. (1999)

Blumenberg and Ong (forthcoming)

Cervero et al. (forthcoming)

Ihlanfeldt and Sjoquist (1998)

Lacombe (1998)

Laube et al. (1997)

Pugh (1999)

Rich (1999)

Sawicki and Moody (2000)

Detroit


Cleveland

Los Angeles

Alameda County/SF Bay Area


Literature review


Boston

Hartford, St. Louis, Detroit

Literature review

Atlanta

Atlanta

Relationship Between Job Access and Employment Outcomes

Allard and Danziger (2000)

Blumenberg and Ong (1998)

Cervero et al. (forthcoming)

Ong and Blumenberg (1998)

Welfare Recipients (Detroit, MI)


Welfare Recipients (Los Angeles, CA)

Welfare Recipients (Alameda County/SF Bay Area, CA)

Welfare Recipients (Los Angeles, CA)

Cars

Cervero et al. (forthcoming)

Ong (1996)

Ong (forthcoming)

 

Welfare Recipients (Alameda County/SF Bay Area, CA)

Welfare Recipients (California)

Welfare Recipients (Los Angeles)

Public Transit

Cervero et al. (forthcoming)

Sanchez (1999)

Welfare Recipients (Alameda County, SF Bay Area)

All Residents (Portland, OR)

Program Evaluation

Applied Management and Planning Group (1999)

U.S. General Accounting Office, (1999)

Goldenberg et al. (1998)

U.S. Department of Transportation (1998)

Waller and Hughes (1999)

 

Appendix Two: Survey Methodology

To examine the travel behavior and needs of welfare recipients, we conducted a telephone survey of 502 welfare recipients in Fresno County. Our sample was drawn from county administrative records for July of 2000. The survey was administered in May and June of 2001 and conducted in Spanish, English, and Hmong.

The survey instrument included four types of questions. The first section of the survey included an abbreviated travel diary where we asked welfare recipients to describe the first five trips that they took on the previous day. Welfare recipients reported on their destinations and their travel modes. We then asked recipients questions about their travel related to work, job search, and childcare. The next section of the survey included questions related to automobiles and public transit. Finally, we asked recipients to rank some auto-related and transit-related policies and programs that would best meet their travel needs. The text of the complete survey instrument is included in Appendix Five. The survey data were geocoded, assigned spatial attributes, in order to determine the characteristics of the neighborhoods in which welfare recipients live such as whether they live in urban or rural areas.

Table 35 presents a comparison of the demographic characteristics of survey respondents compared to the random sample, all Fresno cases in July of 2000, and all Fresno CalWORKs Recipients as of June 1999 (including children). The sample is very reflective of the Fresno cases. We oversampled among Hmong welfare recipients; therefore, our sample includes a higher percentage of Hmong respondents compared to their percentage among all cases. Since Hmong recipients are overwhelmingly two-parent households, the sample also shows a higher percentage of two-parent households. In the analysis, the data are weighted to accurately reflect the characteristics of the Fresno welfare population.

Table 35: Demographic Characteristics of Survey Respondents

Comparison of Characteristics

(unweighted)

 

Fresno CalWORKs Recipients

Fresno Cases

Random Sample

Fresno Survey Respondents

 

30-Jun-99

July 2000

July 2000

July 2000

Sex

 

 

 

 

Male

 

22.3%

26.6%

28.3%

Female

 

77.7%

73.4%

71.7%

 

 

 

 

 

Case Aid Type

 

 

 

 

Single-parent

67.0%

74.9%

72.3%

71.5%

Two-parent

23.0%

25%

27.6%

28.5%

Other

10.0%

.10

.07%

 

 

 

 

 

 

Primary Language

 

 

 

 

English

76.0%

87.3%

85%

81.5%

Spanish

17.0%

8.6%

7.6%

12.0%

SE Asian

6.0%

3.5%

5.9%

5.8%

Hmong

 

2.8%

5.3%

5.8%

Other

1.0%

0.6%

1.5%

0.7%

 

 

 

 

 

Race/Ethnicity

 

 

 

 

White

14.7%

19.0%

17.7%

18.2%

Black

7.4%

16.0%

14.5%

10.2%

Hispanic

62.6%

50.7%

46.6%

47.8%

Southeast Asian

14.9%

11.7%

18.8%

20.8%

Hmong

8.4%

8.4%

16.0%

19.8%

Other

0.4%

2.7%

2.4%

3.0%

 

 

 

 

 

Educational Level

 

 

 

 

No H.S or GED

60.0%

 

 

45%

H.S. Graduate

26.0%

 

 

19%

GED Certificate

7.0%

 

 

4%

Some College

2.0%

 

 

29%

College Graduate

1.0%

 

 

3%

Vocational Certificate

4.0%

 

 

 

The survey was administered by the Social Research Laboratory (SRL) at Fresno State University using the random sample of welfare recipients described above. The sample was imported into the Sawtooth CI3 software program, a computer program designed to administer telephone surveys. Letters were mailed to welfare recipients in our sample in English, Spanish, and Hmong. The letter is contained in Appendix Six. The letter described the purpose of the study, requested their participation, and offered them a $15.00 gift certificate to Target once they had completed the interview. Interviewers followed up on these letters by phoning the welfare recipients in the sample and requesting their participation. To increase the number of male respondents, interviewers asked for the male head of household in cases that were pre-identified as two-parent households. The survey--the instrument as well as the administrative software--was tested prior to the full implementation of the study. To insure a distribution of interviews across all seven days of the week, interviews were conducted Monday through Sunday.

Table 36 presents the response rate. Unfortunately, the data were relatively old. The administrative data from which the sample was drawn were from July of 2000, and the survey was implemented during May/June of 2001; therefore, the sample contained many telephone numbers that were disconnected or where welfare recipients were no longer at the number. Administrative staff of the Fresno County Department of Employment and Temporary Assistance helped search for updated phone numbers for welfare recipients; however, the older data negatively affected the overall response rate. The response rate was approximately 43 percent. However, this figure underestimates the true response rate since many of the "call backs" (87) were telephone numbers where interviewers never reached a person or an answering machine; it is likely that they, too, were non-working numbers.

Table 36 : Response Rate

Not eligible

N

%

Disconnects

718

52.2%

Fax or modem

45

3.3%

Business

66

4.8%

Pay phone

5

0.4%

No longer at this number

542

39.4%

Total

1376

100%

 

 

 

Eligible

 

 

Refusals

92

7.9%

Call backs

570

49.0%

Completions

502

43.1%

Total

1164

100%

Appendix Three: Focus Group Methodology

As a means to formulate an appropriate survey instrument and to enhance understanding of the micro-level nexus between welfare recipients and transportation, a series of six focus group interviews were conducted in Fresno County during the period of August 21-23, 2000. The groups, which ranged in size between 8 and 23 recipients, consisted of a total of 81 welfare clients in various stages of progression between aid and participation in the paid workforce. The interview groups do not comprise a random sample, and the results discussed here do not necessarily reflect upon the population of welfare clients in Fresno County.

The interviews were arranged with the assistance of the Fresno County Department of Social Services, although no agency personnel were present during the interviews themselves. The interview sessions lasted approximately 45 minutes and were conducted using a semi-structured list of discussion topics. Focus group participants were encouraged to express their experiences with and attitudes toward transportation and seeking employment.

Appendix Four: Focus Group Transcript

[Note: transcripts omit some unintelligible and group responses]

Session One 8/21/00 (conducted in a career center in Fresno)

Q. What I'm hoping to learn from you is learn a little bit more about your transportation. What I'd first like to do is have you tell me how you get around.

R. Public Transit, bus.
Bus.
Car.
Bus.
Bus.
Bus.
Car.
Bus.
Car.
Car.
Bus.

Q. So a lot of you take public transportation. Let me ask you this then: in terms of getting to the program today, is the answer you gave me the same answer?

R. Yes.

What about jobs that you're looking for? How do you get there? Same method of transportation. How do you feel about the bus service around here?

R. You have to wait a long time.

Q. Do the buses go to the areas where the jobs are?

R. They go everywhere, sometimes you have to transfer but they do get around. I put out a resume and got a callback. I can't go to that job because I couldn't get to the interview.

Q. Have any of you ever wanted to apply for a job or take a job but couldn't because of the bus?

R. Only for swing shift or graveyard.

Inside the city, the bus is good. Rurally, it's not so good.
(Inaudible)

Q. When you think about looking for a job, are you going to be thinking about the bus schedules before you start looking for a job?

You need the bus to get you to work; you need to make sure it gets there on time.

Q. I don't know exactly what this program is--are you already looking for a job?

R. I'm ready to look.

Generally speaking, how reliable is the public transportation around here?

A lot of time it's late.

Q. How many of you were late today because of the bus?

R. 1, 2 Sometimes, when the bus comes, the bus doesn't name every time it stops. You have to gauge between the main stops.

Does this program or the county or anyone help you with bus fare?

Yes.

Q. Suppose if you had a choice, would you rather have a car?

R. Yes.

Q. How far away are you from getting a car?

R. I need to get my license.

Q. Those of you who are taking the bus, do you have a license?

R. Suspended.

Q. How long for you to save up for a car after you get a job?

R. Six to eight months.

Q. Is getting a car going to be one of your priorities?

R. Yes.

Q. Is anyone happy with just public transportation?

R. No.

Q. Would you say this area is pretty spread out in terms of where you live and the jobs you want?

R. All the jobs are downtown, and the only housing down there is high rent.

Q. Can we go around the room and generally tell me how far from downtown you live?

R. Forty minutes by bus.
Twenty minutes by bus.
Fifteen minutes.
Fifteen minutes.
Thirty minutes by car, hour by bus.
Fifteen minutes.
One hour by bus.
Ten to fifteen minutes car, 45 bus.

Are there any other areas of town that have a lot of jobs besides downtown?

No.

Q. Are any of you considering jobs in the Clovis area?

R. Maybe.

Q. How is bus service to Clovis?

R. The bus only goes by every 45 minutes. They have a different bus system.

Those of you without a car or a license, do you sometimes have to borrow a car?

Yes.

Q. Let me show of hands, those with licenses?

R. Half of the room (six or seven).

Q. When you want to get somewhere on the bus, do you call the bus company? Do you have a schedule? Do you just wait?

R. Read the schedules. Eleven had to call once.

Q. Is schedule of info easy to understand?

R. It's kind of hard--it only lists some stops and you have to guesstimate the rest of the time.

Q. How many of you have children?

R. All of us.

Q. How many of you need to take your kids somewhere everyday?

R. Most of us.

Q. How many of your kids have to take the bus?

R. Three.

Q. How many of you drive your kids to daycare?

R. Three.

The rest I guess walk or are in school.

R. On the weekends, also the buses don't run late, only til eight to nine, and they start running later on the weekends. Also, on Sundays, a lot of buses don't even run. When you think about the process of looking for a job, how big of an obstacle is transportation?

Q. It's okay. If it's raining, there's no shelter most of the time. You can't go into work like that.

Q. Have you ever had an employer turn you down because they didn't think you could get there or maybe because you weren't getting there?

R. They might not tell you. I worked in the mall, and this one girl came in who was riding the bus, we already had four who were riding the bus. My manager didn't hire this woman because she was on the bus. He said he needed someone with reliable transportation and I can't consider that reliable.

Session Two 8/21/00 (conducted in a career center in rural Reedley)

Q. So we're here in Reedley, I'd first like to ask all of you where you live in respect to where we are today and how you got here today?

A. Reedley, five miles, my mom drove me.
Drove, 12 miles.
I have my own car, about two to three miles.
(Inaudible)
Fifteen miles, car.
Two miles, ride from a friend.
Three to four miles, drove.
Borrowed a car, about two to three miles.

Q. I want to ask the same questions, except more generally speaking (like an interview) how would you get there?

R. Take my car.
Walking.
Borrow a car.

Q. So pretty much the same as how you got here today. How about public transportation?

R. Transit. It doesn't go all over town though.

Q. How many of you regularly use the bus/van?

R. Sometimes. (Few) Most of the people don't use it very often.

Q. As you're thinking about this program, and you're thinking about getting a job? Where do you think you'll end up applying?

R. Out of town.

Q. Where? Fresno?

R. Anywhere.
Selma.
Around here somewhere.

Q. Where would you like to work, or end up looking?

R. Anywhere.

Q. Fresno, around here?

R. Around here.
Anywhere. Not too far because I like good attendance.
Anywhere.

Q. How many of you have a valid driver's license?

R. (4 of 12 don't)

Q. If you're thinking about going to Fresno to apply for a job, how would you get there?

Q. 1/2 of you would.

Q. How many would take public transportation to Fresno?

R. There is none.

Q. Raise your hand if you or your spouse owns a car?

R. Seven of you.

Q. Has transportation ever created problems for you in the past in terms of getting or keeping a job?

R. I had a job at the Fresno City Police Department, (inaudible).

Q. So if you're not getting paid much, going to Fresno is going to cost a lot. So realistically, a lot of you are going to have to... (inaudible). How many of you have children?

R. All of you.

Q. Do you have to take them to childcare?

R. One to two.

If you were to get a job, full-time, would you need to consider daycare? How many of you have alternate arrangements?

Most of you would have alternate arrangements.

Q. So those of you who didn't drive yourself here and got rides with somebody, does that create problems after a while?

R. People start avoiding you.

Q. Have you ever had a situation, where you thought you had a car and it fell through and it created problems?

R. Yes.

Q. You would work in Fresno, but without a car it'll be really tough--how do you think you'll get there? Are you going to buy a car right away?

R. Yes.

Q. Those of you without a car, is that a big priority?

R. (Inaudible.) I like this program, because it helps me get my job and a license, so I don't go back to jail.

Q. What kind of things does this program do for you?

R. They give you gas money if you can get a ride.

Q. What about for jobs and interviews?

R. They'll take you (we were told). But you haven't gotten to that point yet.
Not too many programs will do that.

Q. Going back to public transportation, do you know how to access it? Do you just call it up and it'll pick you up? How many of you have had a bad experience where it doesn't work the way it's supposed to work?

R. Many of us.

Q. So the way it works, you call in advance.

R. You call and say that you need it by so and so, but there is no guarantee you'll be on time.

Q. Does anybody see the dial-a-ride as a possible get-to-work-everyday alternative?

R. No one.

Q. Does it work on the weekends also?

R. We don't know. It doesn't work on Sunday, maybe Saturdays.

Q. If they were to ask how to improve dial-a-ride?

R. Make the hours longer and later. Make more of them.

Q. How many of you have owned a car in the past that don't own a car?

R. One.

Q. When you think about getting a good job, do you think getting a car is going to be pretty important?

R. Yes.

Q. Is that going to be the first big thing you buy?

R. Almost all of you.

Q. Are you all getting home the same way you got here?

R. Yes.

Q. When you think about the jobs you'll be applying for, how far are you willing to go given your present transportation situation? Can any of you get past Reedley?

R. One (my parents will drive me).

Q. So if you go that far, you do need a car, public transportation won't work?

R. That's right.

Q. Any other things you can think of that would facilitate you getting a job in terms of public transportation?

R. No....

Session Three 08/22/00 (conducted after an orientation session at Fresno County DSS, Fresno)

Q. First thing I want to ask you, I want to go around the room and ask each of you how you got here today, so I'll start with you since you're done. You took the bus--how long did it take you to get here?

R. An hour and a half.

Q. An hour and a half. Wow.

R. We got picked up and we walked to the bus stop and then 30 minutes or 20 minutes of waiting time.

Q. Did you have to transfer, or...?

R. No, I'm fortunate.

Q. You're lucky, no transfer but it took you an hour and a half altogether. Wow. What about you, how'd you get here?

R. I have my own car.

Q. You have your own car. How long of a drive was it?

R. I live in Reedley, so...

I was in Reedley yesterday.

Q. Oh really?
(Laughter.)

Q. Yep. How long did it take you to get here?

R. I don't know, I wasn't counting.

Q. Well, was it a short ride, or...

R. No I had to take the bus from my sister Sue way out by Howard Street.

Q. So you weren't...

R. I had to take the nine and then get off...

Q. So it took a while.

R. Yeah, it took an hour.

Q. Okay, what about you?

R. I got a ride.

Q. You got a ride, okay. How long did it take?

R. Fifteen minutes probably.

Q. You have a car. And you got a ride from somebody.

R. In my own car, 20 minutes,

Q. Okay.

R. She was with me.

Q. Um, let me ask you another question. You didn't want to still go out there did you?

R. She's my daughter.

Q. So she's not a participant.

R. Yes she is.

Q. Okay.

R. I'm with her. I'm not a participant. I'm her mom.

Q. You're her mom, she's a participant. I got it. Okay, let's see... How many of you have a car? Of your own? Either that or your husband's or something like that?

R. (Two people reply they have their own.)

Q. How many of you have a driver's license?

R. (Three people with license, one with expired license.)

Q. When you think about when you're gonna go out and hopefully look for a job as part of this process that you're in... How do you figure you're gonna get around to go look for a job or to say you need to get an application?

R. Take the bus.

Walk or take a bus.

Walk or take the bus.

Drive.

Walk or take a bus.

Go with her or take the bus.

Q. How reliable is her?

R. When she doesn't have to work.

Q. When she doesn't have to work so. What about you?

R. Bus.

Drive.

Walk or take the bus or ride a bike.

Q. Okay. Um, how far from where you live do you think you'd be willing to go to work given, particularly those of you who are riding this bus?

R. Up to an hour. An hour bus ride to get to work and an hour back. No more than an hour.

Q. What about you? You driving? How far were you driving?

R. About an hour.

Q. What about you? About an hour--you sure?

R. An hour or an hour and a half is fine. If I were driving, 'cause when I did have a car I wouldn't drive more than a half an hour.

Q. You were willing to...

R. Forty-five minutes. An hour or an hour and a half.

Q. Um, what kinds of problems do you have getting around on the bus these days? Those of you who take the bus?

R. Having to leave earlier.

Missing the bus.

Getting to work an hour early because that's when the bus runs.

Bus breakdowns.

Q. What else? Any other problems?

R. Stroller. Folding up the stroller.

Q. Is there room on the bus for strollers?

R. No. No. No.

Q. Any other problems with the bus? Let's say, imagine you got a 9 to 5 or 8 to 5 kind of a job. Uh, would you use the bus to get back and forth, you think? Assuming it's somewhere near.

R. I do.

(Inaudible because of crying baby)

Annoying.

Q. Those of you who ride the bus. I'd imagine most of you would prefer having a car?

R. Oh yeah.

Q. Does anybody not want to have a car?

R. I don't want the car payment, but I'll take the car.

Q. Okay, yeah. Well, when you think about getting a better job or a job at all, is one of the things that you're thinking about buying once you get some money saved up hopefully a car, is that a priority?

R. Definitely. Well, I have back child support so I can't even get my license until...

Q. Is a car a priority? Yeah, how big of a priority is getting a car for you?

R. Not at the top.

Probably a priority.

Q. So it's a priority, but not the priority. Okay, um, when you ride the bus, do you feel safe?

R. Not real...

Q. You don't feel safe?

R. Somebody like me who used to work at night, I don't have to go downtown, but...
Ah. Wicked evil.

Q. Anybody else have any safety issues with the bus?

R. When the door slams on you. When they put those cameras on, there's like three or four cameras on the bus.

Q. Okay.

R. There's one when you walk in, there's one right behind the bus driver and then there's one halfway back. The newer ones are the ones with the crushed velvet seat things there's a sign there with a camera and directly behind the driver. I mean on the ones I've gotten on.

Q. Has anybody ever had a problem, um, where you were late a lot because of the bus being late, and had problems with getting a job or losing a job that you have, have you ever been in that situation? You've never been in that situation?

R. I almost got kicked out of childcare.

Yeah, I've had that happen to me.

And if I'd gotten kicked out of childcare I would have lost a job here.
So it got close, but not there.

Q. How many of you live in Fresno city or pretty close to Fresno city?

What am I supposed to say? I don't know where you live? Well, I guess not..

Q. Where do you live?

R. Oh, Fresno, yeah. I live in Fresno. You say in Fresno city, and I thought you might've been...

Q. I'm sorry, okay. Fresno city. So you're the only one who lives in the state here.

R. No, I lived in Oklahoma.

Q. Oh, okay.

R. Well, I'm living back down here. I am from Fresno, and I was raised in this place.

Q. So you're moving here.

R. No, I'm supposed to be going back to Oklahoma last week. I ended having to stay here, so that's why I'm here now. I'm trying to find a job.

Q. Okay, so where you're staying here, is it gonna be in Fresno city?

R. Yeah.

Q. Okay. Gotcha. Just a couple of more things. You all have children right? Now when you start a new job, are you gonna have issues in terms of transporting your child to someplace to be taken care of either with a relative or daycare. Can we go around the room... What are you gonna do?

R. A little transit picks him up.

Q. A little transit picks him up. That's nice.

R. My daughter is 15-years old, so she goes to school.

Q. What about you?

R. What are you saying?

Q. Well, how are you gonna deal with transporting your child?

R. Well, it's gonna depend what time of night it is.

Q. Uh-huh. But you might need to take your child somewhere? You don't know? And how will he/she get there? How old is your child?

R. Two.

Q. So you're gonna have to take your child and...

R. A lot of work.

Q. Overtime. I hear you. Okay. Okay, what about you?

R. I'm just a neighbor, so I don't have to anymore. I used to have to get out of the house two hours before I'd have to be at work so I could take her.

Q. I see. What about you?

R. He's 12, and they have that latchkey program, so all I have to do is call the police department and get his place and these are the hours he'll be by himself until I get home. They send officers prying thru the latchkey program.

Q. I'm sure he's pretty good at self-regulating.

R. Oh, he knows not to open the door; he knows not to turn the burners on.

Q. Okay, those of you, going back to the bus again, those of you who take the bus, do you have any problems understanding when and where it goes, you know, schedule things? Is that an issue for you?

R. Not anymore. I used to...

Q. You got a job on weekends or evenings, do you think the bus would work for you?

R. No. They just handed out this thing about 6 p.m. ... um...

Q. How many of you get rides from somebody, don't have your own car but you pretty much get rides, is it you?

R. All the time you mean?

Q. Pretty frequently. Raise your hand if you're in that situation where you're kinda getting rides from people?

R. Just you two?

Q. What happens if you lose your ride? Is it a solid, dependable ride?

R. Yeah.

Q. Just one more thing? Do you think about possibly getting a job and getting to that job and getting back, what would you like to see that would be better? Other than somebody just giving you a brand new car or something like that, what kind of things could help make it easier for you to get to and from work?

R. One thing would be nice is if gas prices would go down.

Q. Okay, for those of you who have cars?

R. The bus passes.

Q. But you get a bus pass with this program, right?

R. Yeah, they provide you with a bus pass, and they give you the money to purchase one.

Q. How often does that happen?

R. That's once a month. Well, you've got to renew them.

Q. Okay.

R. See, when you get off this, you don't get the help no more. That makes it a problem too cause then you're working minimum wage and you have to buy a bus pass too.

Q. Then think about all this stuff that we've talked about and now thinking about that you're gonna be looking for a job and hopefully getting one--how big in your mind of a problem is the transportation angle? I mean, you've got other problems I'd imagine about what job you're gonna get and how you're gonna get all these things, but just thinking about getting to and from work, do you see that as a small problem, a big problem, not much of a problem?

R. Not much of a problem.

I wouldn't have no problem. I've been going.

We have to do it otherwise...

Not a major challenge.

Q. So you're concerned a little bit.

R. I feel upset, I don't appreciate having to waste four hours on the bus each day 'cause I have to take my daughter to...

Q. Any other comments on things you'd like to see or other issues?

R. I think the bus should run every 10 or 15 minutes.

And it should be free.
They should bring out more buses if we're gonna pay all that tax money out of our pockets.

Q. Okay.

R. Spend it on something useful.

Q. What about transfers? Are those very difficult around here?

R. No.

A. Where do you think the best jobs around in this area are? Or you don't think of it in terms of an area?

R. Probably not in Fresno.

Q. Well, in Fresno. If you had to be in Fresno?

R. I don't know, in town somewhere. You don't really know. So you're gonna go where there's a job. So location is secondary.

<end of session>

Session Four 08/22/00 (conducted after an orientation session at Fresno County DSS, Fresno)

Q. How did you get here today?

R. The Bus.

Got a ride.

Q. How far away do you live?

R. Two miles

Two and a half miles

Q. When you go places, do you take the bus? Drive?

R. Bus.

Bus and rides.

Q. How did you get a ride today?

R. Called my friend.

Q. Did you have difficulties with the bus today?

R. The bus is late or early.

Sometimes when you think they're gonna be on time, something delays them.

Q. I saw some of the presentation you sat through. It looks like you're going to be out looking for a job soon--how do you think you'll be getting around for that?

R. The bus.

Get a ride.

Q. How far from where you live do you think you'd like to work?

R. Anywhere down King's Canyon (it's close to her house).

Four or five miles, max.

Q. What problems with the bus service do you have?

R. It's early or late all the time.

Same thing.

It needs later hours for people who work late.

Q. Do you ever feel unsafe on the bus?

R. No, I feel safe.

Me too.

Q. Do you know the bus schedule well or do you have to research it?

R. I know it well.

I know the one I use well.

Q. Have either of you had jobs before where you had to commute everyday via the bus?

R Yes, sometimes I would get to work late because of the bus tardiness (it would stop for the train).

I haven't.

Q. Are both of you thinking about buying a car soon?

R. I have one, but I can't drive it.

I'd like to have one.

Q. How big of a priority is it for you?

R. I want a house first.

Q. You both have children, right?

R. Well, I'm pregnant.

Q. When you have a job, do you have a caretaker?

R. My grandmother.

Q. Okay, no worries about daycare transportation then.

R. Right.

Well, I haven't thought about daycare yet (other woman).

Q. How far away from the bus stop do you live?

R. About a half mile.

There's one in front of my apartment.

Q. If you had to work on weekends, how would the bus work?

R. Every Sunday is hourly, so it is hard to take the bus that day.

Q. As you think about the idea of getting a new job, are you worried about transportation making you late for work?

R. I think I'll be okay. I'm always on time.

I just take an earlier bus, so I can be on time.

Q. Are there particular times when the buses are crowded?

R. Sometimes the buses are so packed, they have to pass people up.

They should probably have extra buses running then.

It's usually the afternoon when school gets out.

The wheelchairs take up a lot of room.

Q. If there was a really good job that you could get, would you be willing to move to a different part of town?

R. If it seemed like a stable job, I would.

Me too. I wouldn't want to lose it.

Q. Have you ever heard of anyone losing a job because they kept being late because of the bus being late?

R. Yes. My friend, he was always late.

I haven't known anyone like that.

Q. What would you define as a good job, through a wage rate?

R. Twelve dollars per hour.
Nine dollars per hour.

Q. Are there a lot of jobs in your neighborhood?

R. Yes, there are some.

There are a few.

(......crying baby.....)

Q. Thank you. Good luck.

Next session:

Q. How did you get here today, and how far away are you, and how long did it take you to get here?

R. I live across the street.

I live 10 minutes away. I drove (has a car).

Drove my own car.

Borrowed a car from my girlfriend. I live 10 minutes away.

I took the bus. I live an hour away via bus.

Q. On a typical day, what transportation do you use?

R. I ask my grandma to drive me, or I take the bus.

I drive.

I drive, and I also bike.

I borrow my sister's car.

I ask my mom.

Q. How many of you have driver's licenses?

R. No.

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

No.

Q. I saw the presentation you sat through. What you'll be doing over the next while is looking for a job--how do you think you'll be getting to look for one, those without cars?

R. My mother will take me or the bus.

I'll be borrowing a car.

I'll take a bus.

Q As you're thinking about applying for jobs, how far away from where you live now do you think you're willing to go for your job?

R. Depends on childcare, etc....

Q. Well, how long of a bus ride could you guys without cars deal with?

R. Twenty minutes.

One hour.

Q. Even those with cars, do you have bus experience?

R. In L.A.

No.

Q. What do you think of the Fresno bus system?

R. Pretty good.

I think it should run all night; it runs till 10:00 p.m.

Q. Would you not apply for a night job then?

R. Well, if someone could pick my up I would.

Q. Do you have any other impressions about the bus? Is it usually on time?

R. When school gets out, it's packed.

It's usually on time.

I like the bus because I don't like traffic and the A/C is nice.

Q. Do you feel safe on the bus?

R. Yes.

Yes.

Q. Have you ever missed an appointment or showed up late to work because of the bus?

R. No.

No.

Q. As you think about another job, do you worry about transportation issues for childcare?

R. I'll be taking her to a childcare.

My grandma will take her on the way to work.

My mom watches her.

My boyfriend's niece takes care of them.

UCLA: How do you feel about cars?

R. I like them. I have access to them through my boyfriend.

Q. Is your boyfriend always there?

R. Yes.

Q. Those of you who take the bus, do you have problems with the schedules?

R. No.

Q. Do any of you think about working in Fresno?

R. I do work in Fresno. I travel through Bakersfield to get there

UCLA: What about at night--how is the bus?

R. (Laughter.)

Q. Would any of you consider working any place outside of Fresno, like
Clovis, or is it too far?

R. Yes, too far.

If it's a good job.

Q. I understand they have a different bus system?

R. Yes, we'd have to transfer.

Q. Have you ever done that?

R. No.

Q. Any other issues?

R. We need more stop signs; people don't stop.

Q. I was going to ask: as you think about looking for your next job, how big
of a problem do you consider the transportation side of it? (For those with
no car.)

R. It'll be okay.

UCLA: How comfortable do you feel getting around?

R. Yes, we're okay.

Q. Do you transfer? Is it a problem?

R. It's annoying, but okay. They don't cross at the same time sometimes.

UCLA: How easy is it to travel with kids on the bus?

R. It's hard because of the stroller.

It's really hard if it's crowded; people don't want to move.

Q. Is there something they can do to make it easier to travel with kids?

R. Make the aisles wider for the strollers

Q. How long does it take to get on a bus across town?

R. A half-hour to 45 minutes on a good day

Q. Are the buses crowded at particular times?

R. When school gets out.

UCLA: How close do you live to the bus stops?

R. Not far at all.

I have to walk about 10 or 15 minutes.

One block.

Right down the road from me.

Q. Thank you.

<end of session>

Session Six 08/23/2000 (conducted at a career center, downtown Fresno)

Q. Ready to start. And the first thing I want to do is ask you how you got here today and how long it took and if you had any problems getting here more or less on time, or things like that? Let's start right in the back of the room there. You sir.

R. No. Twenty-five minutes.

Q. On the bus.

R. I was early.

Q. Good. How about you?

R. Forty-five minutes.

Q. Did you take the bus? Did you have any problems? Was the bus late? You didn't know when it was gonna be there, so you had to sit there and wait?

R. I'm always late.

Q. Okay, why were you late?

R. I was on Telegraph Avenue in Belmont and couldn't get the bus 'cause of the coffee and the cigarette 'cause of the driver. I got passed up by a bus trying to run. I had to get on a later bus.

R. It takes me about 45 to 1 hour to get here.

Q. How about you?

R. Five to ten minutes. My grandfather drove me.

Q. Okay, you got a ride?

R. Yeah, somebody's van.

Q. How about you?

R. I got a ride.

Q. And you?

R. Twenty to twenty-five minutes by bus.

Q. No problems?

R. No.

Q. How about you?

R. Ridesharing in a van.

Q. Is that like a public transportation thing?

R. It's just today. No, everyday during this program.

Q. You?

R. Thirty minutes.

Q. Okay.

R. Three hours.

Q. Where'd you come from? SF?

R. I had to take two buses.

Q. How about you?

R. I got a ride?

Q. How long?

R. No problem.

Q. You?

R. Ten minutes. I got dropped off.

Q. You?

R. I got dropped off. Fifteen minutes.

Q. And you?

R. Twenty-five minutes. One bus. No problems.

Q. You?

R. A van. About 10 minutes.

Q. Okay, how many people got the van?

R. Four of us.

Q. How about you?

R. An hour and 15 minutes.

Q. You take a bus?

R. It just takes awhile.

Q. If I was to ask you how you generally get around town when you want to go somewhere, is it pretty much what you just told me? You have to take the bus or you have your car? What about you people who take the van? How do you normally get around?

R. We walk.

Q. No bus nearby where you live?

R. I got a car.

I got a truck.

We just carpool.

Q. Okay, help out.

R. We're team.
Okay, team green shirt.

Q. Um, let's see. Let me have a show of hands, how many people in the room have a valid driver's license?

Q. Next question: as you think about looking for a job and maybe looking for a job and maybe submitting an application or going to an interview, things like that, how do you think you're going to get to these job interviews and job-related things like that? Pretty much the same way you got here today?

R. Yes.

Borrow a car.

Get a ride from the program.

Q. Are most of you planning on that? What about after you get the job--how are you gonna get to and from work?

R. I got my own Chevy Truck.

Q. But you don't have a license, I thought.

R. My old lady drives me around.

Q. Ah, your old lady, okay. Let's talk about the bus a little bit in this area. How many of you regularly use the bus to get around?

R. Five, at least half of you, many more.

Q. What do you think of the bus as a way of getting around? Do you have problems with that on a regular basis?

R. Yes.

Q. What kind of problems?

R. Slow. I'd rather spend the money to take a cab than get on the bus.

Q. But once you get a job, you're not gonna be able to afford to take a cab everyday back and forth.

R. Not every day, but I'll buy me a bike before I go on the bus.

Q. Oh, okay. What other kinds of problems do people have with the bus?

R. Loud and rude, inconsiderate people on the bus.

Q. Okay. Do you feel safe?

R. No, unsafe.

Q. What about the bus schedule? Do you know where the bus goes?

R. Yes, no.

But half the time, it's either 15 minutes late or early.

Q. So it seems to be a problem with the bus being on time.
How far or how long of a bus ride would you be willing to take to get to a good job? Just imagine in your own mind what you think a pretty good job is. How far on the bus would you be willing to ride?

R. An hour.

One and a half.

Q. Let's say you want to work in another area, let's say Clovis. I don't know; I'm not really familiar with this area. I'm actually from San Jose. Say you wanted to go to Clovis--would it be possible to take a bus?

R. Yes, if you got up early.

Q. Would you have to transfer to a different bus system? So how long roughly?

One and a half, yes?

R. I'm from San Jose. Are they gonna bring the light rail system out here, please?

Q. Well, I'm not in charge of it. That's up to the city and county.

Q. Those of you who said you got a ride from somebody--are you planning to use these same kinds of rides to get to and from your job once you get a job, do you think?

R. Yes, sir.

Q. Okay.

R. Till I get a license.

Q. I imagine everybody wants to get a license and get a car, and we'll talk about that too, but for the time being we don't have a car and a license. Do you have problems with the reliability of asking a friend or your spouse or your girlfriend or whoever to give you a ride?

R. Sometimes they're unavailable.

Q. What about you?

R. I've got a lot of friends with cars.

Q. Okay, you've got a back-up system. As you think about this process of going out and getting a job and so forth, in your mind, is transportation a big problem, or a big challenge as part of it or are you more worried about the other things like getting qualified and getting the interview? Is transportation a big thing or not?

R. There's a lot of problems with my kids who ride the bus.

Q. Yeah, I'm gonna ask about that too.

R. Not everyone has a car or friends with cars or you can't get a hold of them, so you're pretty much having to find the buses and stuff like that.

Q. Has anybody in here ever lost a job or not been able to get a job because of the transportation issues?

R. No.

I had so many absentees that my boss asked me to resign.

Q. Anybody else?

R. They won't give me a job 'cause they knew I was gonna take the bus.

Q. Do you feel like that?

R. I've never had a job before; maybe it's because of the transportation.

Q. Okay, basically I understand you all have children. How does having children work in terms of transportation? How many of you are going to have to take your children first and then go somewhere else on a regular basis?

R. My lady has her own car, and I have my own truck.

Q. Okay.

R. My kid goes to a daycare center.

Q. Anybody else?

R. I do. My babysitter really goes out of her way for me; I don't pay her for her gasoline mileage. She takes the kids up and drops them off. Sometimes she has to take my kids on the bus.

Q. Well, that's a good deal. It's nice of her to do that.

R. I have to drop them off at school.

Q. But you have a car. Right?

R. Yeah.

Q. Anybody else? Problems with transporting your children?
Just a couple more quick questions. Thinking about the bus system, what would be the best improvement to be made to that system to make it better for you?

R. Longer hours.

Twenty-four hours running time.

Q. I just learned that they have a new program where they give rides between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. Do you guys know about that?

R. Yeah.

If you have a night job, they'll pick you up and drop you off. It's shuttle service.

Free of charge.

Q. You sir?

R. Supervisors. The bus drivers need supervisors.

Q. Thank you.

<end of session>

Session Seven 08/23/00 (conducted at a career center in rural Kerman)

Q. Okay, the first thing I want to do is ask you how you got here today and how long it took to get here?

R. Five minutes. Dropped off.

My car. Five minutes.

Borrowed a car. Five minutes.

I went with my mom.

Transit. Half-hour.

I walked. Thirty minutes.

My car.

My truck.

I walked.

Five minute walk

Bus, a half-hour.

My car, my dad's car.

My car.

Transit, but it took me three hours to get home last night. I had to wait till it came and then...

My car.

Got dropped off.

Q. Okay, let me pass these out and we'll move along. Show of hands, how many people don't have a CDL?

R. Around eight.

Q. Okay, for those of you who took the transit or think you'll be taking it soon.

R. We don't know what time we'll be leaving.

Q. Those of you who do take the bus, have you ever had problems getting to a job interview or leaving or anything like that? How many of you didn't drive yourself, but got a ride with somebody? How reliable is that ride in the future?

R. Not very. My boyfriend works nights.

Q. Now, you've all got children? When you think about looking for a job or getting a job, what are you gonna be doing with your children? How many of them are going to be going to school? Daycare? Are any of you gonna have problems getting them to relatives' houses?

R. No.

Q. How far away are the jobs you're looking at? In this town?

R. I want to.

I'd like to.

Q. Realistically?

R. One hour to 45 minutes.

Q. For those of you who don't have cars?

R. You ask around at the job and see who lives by you and ask them.

Q. So many find someone else? No buses?

R. No.

Q. So, thinking about this and what you're looking at, if you're gonna find a job in Fresno, transportation is gonna be a major problem?

R. Yes

Yes.

Yes.

The buses don't start till nine and you have to be there by then.

Q. When does it start?

R. At nine.

Q. At nine?

R. Yeah. They're trying to start some program.

Q. So realistically, it sounds like a lot of you can't find a job in Fresno.

R. Yep. The solution would be a better bus system.

Q. Those of you who live in San Joaquin, how far is that?

R. Twenty-five miles.

There's no jobs in that area.

Q. Would you look in this town?

R. Yeah.

Q. Those of you without cars, is getting a car a priority?

R. Yes.

Yes.

Q. Has anybody here ever had a job and tried to get around without a car?

R. Friends.

Didn't work too well.

[tape recorder malfunctioned at this point]

Appendix Five: Survey Instrument

SHELLO My name is ________ and I'm calling from the Social Research Laboratory at California State University Fresno on behalf of UCLA. Have I reached [READ RESPONDENT'S PHONE NUMBER]?

SHELLO2 Have I reached [READ RESPONDENT'S NUMBER]? Hello, this is ____________, calling from the Social Research Lab at Fresno State. Recently, we started an interview with [CONTACT NAME] and I'm calling back to complete that interview. Is [CONTACT NAME] available?

INTRO We're conducting a survey in Fresno County to learn how transportation can be improved for people moving from public assistance to work. We would like to hear what you think about this issue.

Your participation is completely voluntary and your responses will be completely confidential. Also, you would only have to respond to the questions that you feel comfortable with and you are free to skip past any questions.

If you complete the survey, we'll mail you a $15 gift certificate to Target. I can go through it right now. It should only take about 15 minutes, depending on how much you have to say.

INTRO2 Is it alright to ask you these questions now?

1. YES

2. NO

Q:TRANS1 Most of the questions I'll ask you are about transportation and how you get to and from your different activities. For starters, though, we'd like to get a general sense of what makes it hard for you to get a job or keep a job you already have.

Q:PROBS What would you say are the two biggest problems with finding a job?

NOTE: IF NOT LOOKING FOR A JOB, STATE "NOT LOOKING

FOR JOB"

Q:PROBS2 What would you say are the two biggest problems keeping the job you have now?

NOTE: IF RESPONDENT DOES NOT HAVE A JOB, STATE "DOES NOT HAVE A JOB"

Q:TRANS2 Now, I'm going to ask you some questions about transportation and the trips you make each day. We'd like to get an idea of how you get around. I am going to ask you about the places you went on the most recent day that you left your house. We're interested in how you got to where you were going, even if you walked there. I'd like to know about all the trips you made, so even if you stopped at the grocery store on the way somewhere, that's a separate trip too. Even if you left home to go to the post office and came right back, that's a trip -- actually, it's two trips: a trip to the post office and a trip home. To make the survey go faster, we'll stop after five trips.

Q1 First, did you leave home yesterday?

1. YES

2. NO

7. DON'T KNOW

9. REFUSED

IF (ANS = 1) SKIPTO TIMEB

TIMEA When did you leave your home? Was it two days ago, three days ago, four days ago, or five or more days ago?

1. TWO DAYS AGO

2. THREE DAYS AGO

3. FOUR DAYS AGO

4. FIVE DAYS OR MORE AGO

7. DON'T KNOW

9. REFUSED

TIMEB What day of the week was it?

1. MONDAY

2. TUESDAY

3. WEDNESDAY

4. THURSDAY

5. FRIDAY

6. SATURDAY

7. SUNDAY

8. DON'T KNOW

9. REFUSED

TIME1: On that day, do you remember roughly when you first left the house?

TIME>

1258. DON'T KNOW

1259. REFUSED

TIME2: Was that AM or PM?

1. AM

2. PM

7. DK

9. REFUSED

Q2 Where did you go?

INTERVIEWER: DO NOT PROMPT.

1. WORK

2. LOOKING FOR A JOB, PICKING UP A JOB APPLICATION,

APPLYING FOR A JOB

3. CHILDCARE / AFTER SCHOOL CARE OR ACTIVITY

4. CALWORKS OFFICE, JOB CLUB, SCHOOL, OR OTHER SOCIAL SERVICE

5. SHOPPING

6. OTHER ________________________________________________

7. DON'T KNOW

9. REFUSED

Q2A How did you get there? Did you...

1. Walk

2. Drive my own car

3. Drove a car that I borrowed from a relative for friend

4. Got a ride

5. Bus, or

6. Other (taxi / bicycle / ______________ )

7. DON'T KNOW

9. REFUSED

Q2B How long did you stay there?

HOURS AND MINUTES>

1257. STAYED THERE REST OF DAY [WENT NOWHERE ELSE, NOT EVEN HOME]

1258. DON'T KNOW

1259. REFUSED

Q3 Where did you go next?

INTERVIEWER: DO NOT PROMPT.

0. NOWHERE. I STAYED WHERE I WAS FOR REST OF DAY

1. WORK

2. LOOKING FOR A JOB, PICKING UP A JOB APPLICATION, APPLYING FOR A JOB

3. CHILDCARE / AFTER SCHOOL CARE OR ACTIVITY

4. CALWORKS OFFICE, JOB CLUB, SCHOOL, OR OTHER SOCIAL SERVICE

OFFICE

5. SHOPPING

6. HOME

7. OTHER ________________________________________________

8. DON'T KNOW

9. REFUSED

Q3A How did you get there? Did you...

1. Walk

2. Drive my own car

3. Drove a car that I borrowed from a relative or friend

4. Got a ride

5. Bus, or

6. Other (taxi / bicycle / ______________ )

7. DON'T KNOW

8. NOT APPLICABLE/DIDN'T GO ANYWHERE

9. REFUSED

Q3B How long did you stay there?

HOURS AND MINUTES>

1257. STAYED THERE REST OF DAY [WENT NOWHERE ELSE, NOT EVEN HOME]

1258. DON'T KNOW

1259. REFUSED

Q4 Where did you go next?

INTERVIEWER: DO NOT PROMPT.

0. NOWHERE. I STAYED WHERE I WAS FOR REST OF DAY

1. WORK

2. LOOKING FOR A JOB, PICKING UP A JOB APPLICATION,

APPLYING FOR A JOB

3. CHILDCARE / AFTER SCHOOL CARE OR ACTIVITY

4. CALWORKS OFFICE, JOB CLUB, SCHOOL, OR OTHER SOCIAL SERVICE OFFICE

5. SHOPPING

6. HOME

7. OTHER ________________________________________________

8. DON'T KNOW

9. REFUSED

Q4A How did you get there? Did you...

1. Walk

2. Drive my own car

3. Drove a car that I borrowed from a relative or friend

4. Got a ride

5. Bus, or

6. Other (taxi / bicycle / ______________ )

7. DON'T KNOW

8. NOT APPLICABLE/DIDN'T GO ANYWHERE

9. REFUSED

Q4B How long did you stay there?

HOURS AND MINUTES>

1257. STAYED THERE REST OF DAY [WENT NOWHERE ELSE, NOT EVEN HOME]

1258. DON'T KNOW

1259. REFUSED

Q5 Where did you go next?

INTERVIEWER: DO NOT PROMPT.

0. NOWHERE. I STAYED WHERE I WAS FOR REST OF DAY

1. WORK

2. LOOKING FOR A JOB, PICKING UP A JOB APPLICATION,

APPLYING FOR A JOB

3. CHILDCARE / AFTER SCHOOL CARE OR ACTIVITY

4. CALWORKS OFFICE, JOB CLUB, SCHOOL, OR OTHER SOCIAL SERVICE OFFICE

5. SHOPPING

6. HOME

7. OTHER ________________________________________________

8. DON'T KNOW

9. REFUSED

Q5A How did you get there?

Did you...

1. Walk

2. Drive my own car

3. Drove a car that I borrowed from a relative or friend

4. Got a ride

5. Bus, or

6. Other (taxi / bicycle / ______________ )

7. DON'T KNOW

8. NOT APPLICABLE/DIDN'T GO ANYWHERE

9. REFUSED

Q5B How long did you stay there?

HOURS AND MINUTES>

1257. STAYED THERE REST OF DAY [WENT NOWHERE ELSE, NOT EVEN HOME]

1258. DON'T KNOW

1259. REFUSED

Q6 Okay, this is the last trip. We're almost done with this section.
Where did you go next?

INTERVIEWER: DO NOT PROMPT.

0. NOWHERE. I STAYED WHERE I WAS FOR REST OF DAY

1. WORK

2. LOOKING FOR A JOB, PICKING UP A JOB APPLICATION,

APPLYING FOR A JOB

3. CHILDCARE / AFTER SCHOOL CARE OR ACTIVITY

4. CALWORKS OFFICE, JOB CLUB, SCHOOL, OR OTHER SOCIAL SERVICE

OFFICE

5. SHOPPING

6. HOME

7. OTHER ________________________________________________

8. DON'T KNOW

9. REFUSED

 

Q6A How did you get there? Did you...

1. Walk

2. Drive my own car

3. Drove a car that I borrowed from a relative or friend

4. Got a ride

5. Bus, or

6. Other (taxi / bicycle / ______________ )

7. DON'T KNOW

8. NOT APPLICABLE/DIDN'T GO ANYWHERE

9. REFUSED

Q6B How long did you stay there?

HOURS AND MINUTES>

1257. STAYED THERE REST OF DAY [WENT NOWHERE ELSE, NOT EVEN HOME]

1258. DON'T KNOW

1259. REFUSED

Q7 Would you say that in general it was easy or difficult to get around on that day?

Q7_1 Easy

Q7_2 Difficult

Q7_3 Both

Q7_4 Don't Know

Q7_5 Refused

Q8 What would you say made getting around yesterday?

TRANS3 The trips that you make for work or childcare or to look for a job are very important for understanding your transportation needs. I would like to ask you some more detailed questions about some of these activities.

PRESS "3" TO CONTINUE

Q9 Are you currently working?

1. YES

2. NO

7. DK

9. REFUSED

Q10 Do you currently hold more than one job?

1. YES

2. NO

7. DON'T KNOW

9. REFUSED

Q10A Have you ever worked?

1. YES

2. NO

7. DK

9. REFUSED

TRANS4 Okay. Please answer the following questions about your main job. That's the job where you work the most hours. Or if you're not currently working answer these questions about the last job that you had.

PRESS "4" TO CONTINUE

Q11 What city do you work in?

1. CONTINUE

7. DON'T KNOW

9. REFUSED

Q11A ENTER THE NAME OF THE CITY

QSTREET We don't need to know the address where you work, but could you tell me the name of the street where you work?

[PLEASE CONFIRM SPELLING!]

[PRESS ENTER TWICE IF RESPONDENT REFUSES]

QSTREETA We don't need to know the address where you work, but could you tell me the name of the street where you work?

QXSTREET And what is the nearest cross street?

Q14 Can you tell me the zip code at your job?

ZIP>

99998. DON'T KNOW

99999. REFUSED

Q15 How often (do/did) you work weekends? Would you say that
you work...

 

1. Never

2. Occasionally or Sometimes.

3. Very often.

4. Always

7. DK

9. REFUSED

Q16 (Do/did) you always work the same hours?

1. YES.

2. NO, MY WORK SCHEDULE CHANGES.

7. DK

9. REFUSED

Q17 What time (are/were) you usually scheduled to begin work?

TIME>

1258. DON'T KNOW

1259. REFUSED

Q17A Is that AM or PM?

1. AM

2. PM

7. DK

9. REFUSED

Q18 What time (are/were) you usually scheduled to end work?

TIME>

1258. DON'T KNOW

1259. REFUSED

Q18A Is that AM or PM?

1. AM

2. PM

7. DK

9. REFUSED

Q19 How (do/did) you usually get from home to work?

1. WORK AT HOME

2. WALK

3. DRIVE MY OWN CAR

4. DRIVE A CAR THAT I BORROWED FROM A RELATIVE OR FRIEND

5. GET A RIDE FROM SOMEONE

6. BUS

7. OTHER (TAXI / BICYCLE / ______________ )

8. DON'T KNOW

9. REFUSED

Q20 How many blocks is the closest bus stop from your house?

BLOCKS>

98. DK

99. REFUSED

 

Q21 What bus lines do you usually take to get there?

Q21A How many bus transfers do you make?

NUMBER>

98. DON'T KNOW

99. REFUSED

Q22 How (do/did) you usually get home from work?

PUT EMPHASIS ON "HOME FROM WORK" TO DISTINGUISH IT FROM PREVIOUS QUESTION

1. WORK AT HOME

2. WALK

3. DRIVE MY OWN CAR

4. DRIVE A CAR THAT I BORROWED FROM A RELATIVE OR FRIEND

5. GET A RIDE FROM SOMEONE

6. BUS

7. OTHER (TAXI / BICYCLE / ______________ )

8. DON'T KNOW

9. REFUSED

Q23 How many blocks is the closest bus stop from your workplace?

BLOCKS>

98. DK

99. REFUSED

 

Q24 What bus lines do you usually take to get home?

Q24A How many bus transfers do you make?

NUMBER>

98. DON'T KNOW

99. REFUSED

Q24B How did you find your current job?

1. EMPLOYMENT AGENCY

2. CONTACTED EMPLOYER DIRECTLY

3. WANT ADS IN THE NEWSPAPER

4. FRIENDS

5. OTHER

7. DON'T KNOW

9. REFUSED

Q25 (1-5) Would you say that in general it's easy or difficult to get to and from work?

Q25_1 EASY

Q25_2 DIFFICULT

Q25_3 BOTH

Q25_4 DON'T KNOW

Q25_5 REFUSED

Q26 What would you say makes getting to and from work [easy,
difficult, both]?

 

Q27 Are you currently looking for a job?

1. YES

2. NO

7. DK

9. REFUSED

Q27A What are you doing to look for a job?

1. CHECKING WITH EMPLOYMENT AGENCIES

2. CONTACTING EMPLOYERS

3. ANSWERING WANT ADS

4. CHECKING WITH FRIENDS

5. OTHER

7. DON'T KNOW

9. REFUSED

Q28 Have you had to make a trip anywhere in the last week to look for a job, such as going to Job Club, picking up a job application or whatever?

NOTE: "IN THE LAST WEEK" MEANS ANYTIME IN THE LAST

SEVEN DAYS.

1. YES

2. NO

7. DK

9. REFUSED

 

Q29 The last time that you left your home to do something to find a job, how did you get there?

NOTE: JOG MEMORY IF NECESSARY: SUCH AS GOING TO JOB CLUB, AN EMPLOYMENT CENTER OR AGENCY, GOING ON AN INTERVIEW, PICKING UP JOB APP, GOING DOOR TO DOOR.

1. WALK

2. DRIVE MY OWN CAR

3. DRIVE A CAR THAT I BORROWED FROM A RELATIVE OR FRIEND

4. GET A RIDE FROM SOMEONE

5. BUS

6. OTHER (TAXI / BICYCLE / ______________ )

8. DON'T KNOW

9. NO RESPONSE

Q29A How many blocks was the closest bus stop from your house?

BLOCKS>

98. DK

99. REFUSED

Q29B How many bus transfers do you make?

NUMBER>

98. DON'T KNOW

99. REFUSED

Q30 (1-5) Would you say that it was easy or difficult for you to travel to your last appointment to look for a job, an interview, or pick up an application?

Q30_1 EASY

Q30_2 DIFFICULT

Q30_3 BOTH

Q30_4 DON'T KNOW

Q30_5 REFUSED

Q31 What made the trip [easy, difficult, both]?

TRANS5 I'm going to ask you some questions now about trips made by children in your household. We're trying to learn what transportation improvements would benefit children too.

PRESS "5" TO CONTINUE

Q32 How many children under age 18 live in your household? This includes infants too.

INTERVIEWER: "CHILDREN IN THE HOUSEHOLD" INCLUDES THE RESPONDENT'S OWN CHILDREN AND ANY CHILDREN THEY ARE LEGALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR, TECHNICALLY, "ANY CHILD ON THE WELFARE CASE."

NUMBER>

Q33 We're going to ask you some transportation questions about children from your family that are 5 years of age or younger.

PRESS 1 TO CONTINUE

Q33A First, how many children 5 and younger live in your household?

NOTE: IF MORE THAN 5 CHILDREN AGE 5 AND YOUNGER, ENTER "5"

Q33B Let's start with the youngest child. What is his or her name?

Q34 How old is [Name] ?

ENTER 0 FOR REFUSED

Q35 Is [Name] in school?

1. YES

2. NO

7. DK

9. REFUSED

Q36 Do you currently use some kind of childcare for [Name]?

This could include unpaid childcare or babysitting by a relative or friend.

1. YES

2. NO

7. DK

9. REFUSED

Q37 What type of care do you use most often for [Name]? Do you use...

1. Unpaid relative, friend or neighbor

2. Paid relative, friend or neighbor

3. Day care center

4. Day care home

5. Other _______________

7. DK

9. REFUSED

Q38 Who usually takes [Name] to childcare?

NOTE: DO NOT PROMPT.

1. CHILD IS CARED FOR IN HOME.

2. I DO

3. MY SPOUSE DOES

4. SOMEONE ELSE DOES

5. VARIES

6. OTHER

7. DK

9. REFUSED

Q39 What transportation do you usually use to take [Name] to childcare?

1. BUS

2. WALK

3. CAR

4. OTHER ______________

7. DON'T KNOW

9. REFUSED

Q40 Who usually picks [Name] up from childcare?

1. CHILD IS CARED FOR IN HOME.

2. I DO

3. MY SPOUSE DOES

4. SOMEONE ELSE DOES

5. VARIES

6. OTHER

7. DK

9. REFUSED

Q41 Once you pickup [Name] from childcare what transportation do you usually use to get home or wherever you go next?
1. BUS

2. WALK

3. CAR

4. OTHER ______________

7. DON'T KNOW

9. REFUSED

QC2A Now let's talk about the second oldest child. What is his or her name?

QC2B How old is [Name]?

ENTER 0 FOR REFUSED

QC2C Is [Name] in school?

1. YES

2. NO

7. DK

9. REFUSED

 

QC2D Do you currently use some kind of childcare for [Name]? This could include unpaid childcare or babysitting by a relative or friend.

1. YES

2. NO

7. DK

9. REFUSED

QC2E What type of care do you use most often for [Name]? Do you use...

1. Unpaid relative, friend or neighbor

2. Paid relative, friend or neighbor

3. Day care center

4. Day care home

5. Other _______________

7. DK

9. REFUSED

QC2F Who usually takes [Name] to childcare?

NOTE: DO NOT PROMPT.

1. CHILD IS CARED FOR IN HOME.

2. I DO

3. MY SPOUSE DOES

4. SOMEONE ELSE DOES

5. VARIES

6. OTHER

7. DK

9. REFUSED

QC2G What transportation do you usually use to take [Name] to childcare?

1. BUS

2. WALK

3. CAR

4. OTHER ______________

7. DON'T KNOW

9. REFUSED

QC2H Who usually picks up [Name] from childcare?

1. CHILD IS CARED FOR IN HOME.

2. I DO

3. MY SPOUSE DOES

4. SOMEONE ELSE DOES

5. VARIES

6. OTHER

7. DK

9. REFUSED

QC2I Once you pick up [Name] from childcare, what transportation do you usually use to get home or wherever you go next?

1. BUS

2. WALK

3. CAR

4. OTHER ______________

7. DON'T KNOW

9. REFUSED

QC3A Now let's talk about the third oldest child. What is his or her name?

QC3B How old is [Name] ?

ENTER 0 FOR REFUSED

QC3C Is [Name] in school?

1. YES

2. NO

7. DK

9. REFUSED

QC3D Do you currently use some kind of childcare for [Name]? This could include unpaid childcare or babysitting by a relative or friend.

1. YES

2. NO

7. DK

9. REFUSED

QC3E What type of care do you use most often for [Name] ? Do you use...

1. Unpaid relative, friend or neighbor

2. Paid relative, friend or neighbor

3. Day care center

4. Day care home

5. Other _______________

7. DK

9. REFUSED

QC3F Who usually takes [Name] to childcare?

NOTE: DO NOT PROMPT.

1. CHILD IS CARED FOR IN HOME.

2. I DO

3. MY SPOUSE DOES

4. SOMEONE ELSE DOES

5. VARIES

6. OTHER

7. DK

9. REFUSED

QC3G What transportation do you usually use to take [Name] to childcare?

1. BUS

2. WALK

3. CAR

4. OTHER ______________

7. DON'T KNOW

9. REFUSED

 

QC3H Who usually picks up [Name] from childcare?

1. CHILD IS CARED FOR IN HOME.

2. I DO

3. MY SPOUSE DOES

4. SOMEONE ELSE DOES

5. VARIES

6. OTHER

7. DK

9. REFUSED

QC3I Once you pick [Name] up from childcare, what transportation do you usually use to get home or wherever you go next?

1. BUS

2. WALK

3. CAR

4. OTHER ______________

7. DON'T KNOW

9. REFUSED

QC4A Now let's talk about the fourth oldest child. What is his or her name?

QC4B How old is [Name]?

ENTER 0 FOR REFUSED

Is [Name] in school?

1. YES

2. NO

7. DK

9. REFUSED

QC4D Do you currently use some kind of childcare for [Name]? This could include unpaid childcare or babysitting by a relative or friend.

1. YES

2. NO

7. DK

9. REFUSED

QC4E What type of care do you use most often for [Name]? Do you use...

1. Unpaid relative, friend or neighbor

2. Paid relative, friend or neighbor

3. Day care center

4. Day care home

5. Other _______________

7. DK

9. REFUSED

QC4F Who usually takes [Name] to childcare?

NOTE: DO NOT PROMPT.

1. CHILD IS CARED FOR IN HOME.

2. I DO

3. MY SPOUSE DOES

4. SOMEONE ELSE DOES

5. VARIES

6. OTHER

7. DK

9. REFUSED

QC4G What transportation do you usually use to take [Name] to childcare?

1. BUS

2. WALK

3. CAR

4. OTHER ______________

7. DON'T KNOW

9. REFUSED

QC4H Who usually picks [Name] up from childcare?

1. CHILD IS CARED FOR IN HOME.

2. I DO

3. MY SPOUSE DOES

4. SOMEONE ELSE DOES

5. VARIES

6. OTHER

7. DK

9. REFUSED

QC4I Once you pick up [Name] from childcare, what transportation do you usually use to get home or wherever you go next?

1. BUS

2. WALK

3. CAR

4. OTHER ______________

7. DON'T KNOW

9. REFUSED

QC5A Now let's talk about the fifth oldest child. What is his or her name?

QC5B How old is [Name]?

ENTER 0 FOR REFUSED

QC5C Is [Name] in school?

1. YES

2. NO

7. DK

9. REFUSED

QC5D Do you currently use some kind of childcare for [Name]? This could include unpaid childcare or babysitting by a relative or friend.

1. YES

2. NO

7. DK

9. REFUSED

QC5E What type of care do you use most often for [Name]? Do you use...

1. Unpaid relative, friend or neighbor

2. Paid relative, friend or neighbor

3. Day care center

4. Day care home

5. Other _______________

7. DK

9. REFUSED

QC5F Who usually takes [Name] to childcare?

NOTE: DO NOT PROMPT.

1. CHILD IS CARED FOR IN HOME.

2. I DO

3. MY SPOUSE DOES

4. SOMEONE ELSE DOES

5. VARIES

6. OTHER

7. DK

9. REFUSED

QC5G What transportation do you usually use to take [Name] to childcare?

1. BUS

2. WALK

3. CAR

4. OTHER ______________

7. DON'T KNOW

9. REFUSED

QC5H Who usually picks up [Name] from childcare?

1. CHILD IS CARED FOR IN HOME.

2. I DO

3. MY SPOUSE DOES

4. SOMEONE ELSE DOES

5. VARIES

6. OTHER

7. DK

9. REFUSED

QC5I Once you pick [Name] up from childcare, what transportation do you usually use to get home or wherever you go next?

1. BUS

2. WALK

3. CAR

4. OTHER ______________

7. DON'T KNOW

9. REFUSED

Q52 Would you say that in general it's easy or difficult to get to and from childcare activities?

52_1 EASY

52_2 DIFFICULT

52_3 BOTH

52_4 DON'T KNOW

52_5 REFUSED

Q53 What would you say makes getting to and from childcare activities [Easy/Difficult/Both]?

Q54 What would make this easier?

Q:TRANS6 Thanks for your answers so far. We've made a lot of progress. I am going to ask you some questions about any cars, trucks or other vehicles that are used by your household. I want to remind you that your answers are completely confidential.

PRESS "6" TO CONTINUE

Q55A How many licensed drivers, including yourself, live in your household?

ENTER 8 FOR DON'T KNOW AND 9 FOR REFUSED.

Q55B How many cars are there in your household?

ENTER 8 FOR DON'T KNOW AND 9 FOR REFUSED.

Q55 Do you know how to drive?

1. YES

2. NO

7. DK

9. REFUSED

Q56 Do you have a valid California driver's license?

1. YES

2. NO

7. DK

9. REFUSED

Q56A Did you own a car a year ago?

1. YES

2. NO

7. DON'T KNOW

9. REFUSED

Q57 How many vehicles (including cars, vans, trucks) do you own
currently?

NUMBER>

8. DK

9. REFUSED

TRANS7 Okay, please answer these questions about the vehicle you use
most often.

PRESS "7" TO CONTINUE

Q58 Is your vehicle 10 years old or older?

1. YES, 10 YEARS OR OLDER

2. NO, UNDER 10 YEARS

7. DK

9. REFUSED

Q59 How often would you say you can use the car? Would you say...

1. Whenever you want?

2. A few hours a day for you to use?

3. 1 - 3 day(s) per week for you to use?

4. 4 - 6 days per week?

5. IT DEPENDS

6. OTHER __________________

7. DK

9. REFUSED

Q60 How many times in the last 3 months has the car failed to get you where you needed to go because of mechanical problems?

NUMBER>

98. DON'T KNOW

99. REFUSED

Q62 What are the two biggest problems you have with owning a car?

NOTE: DO NOT PROMPT.

Q62_1 Maintenance problems/costs

Q62_2 Insurance costs

Q62_3 Do not have a California driver's license

Q62_4 Problems with parking tickets and other violations

Q62_5 Cost of gasoline

Q62_6 Other #1

Q62_7 Other #2

Q62_8 DK

Q62_9 REFUSED

Q62_10 EXIT

Q63 What keeps you from owning a car?

NOTE: DO NOT PROMPT.

Q63_1 I don't want one

Q63_2 Don't need one

Q63_3 Can't afford to buy one

Q63_4 Can't afford insurance

Q63_5 Do not have a valid California license

Q63_6 Too many tickets/violations to pay for

Q63_7 Other (Please specify):_____________

Q63_8 DK

Q63_9 REFUSED

Q63_10 EXIT

Q64 How often have you borrowed a car or other vehicle in the last month?

1. None

2. 1 to 2

3. 3 to 4

4. 5 to 6

5. 7 to 8

6. 9 to 10

7. More than 10 times

8. DK

9. REFUSED

Q65 If you had to borrow a car today for some reason, how easy or difficult would it be? Would you say...

1. Very difficult

2. Somewhat difficult

3. Somewhat easy

4. Very easy

7. DK

9. REFUSED

Q:TRANS8 We are almost at the end of the survey. Thanks for your patience. To finish up, I'd like to ask you some questions about your experience with the area's public transit system.

PRESS "8" TO CONTINUE

Q67 How many days out of seven did you take the bus last week?

NUMBER>

8. DK

9. REFUSED

TRANS9 Okay, I'd like to ask you some questions about the last bus trip you took.

PRESS "9" TO CONTINUE

Q68 The last time you took the bus to go somewhere, where did you go?

TO JOG THEIR MEMORY, PROBE BY ASKING:

WHAT WAS THE PURPOSE OF THE TRIP?

WHAT PART OF THE CITY DID YOU GO TO?

WHAT TYPE OF PLACE DID YOU GO TO?

Q68A On this last bus trip, did you use the bus because it was convenient or it was the only transportation option available?

1. CONVENIENT

2. ONLY TRANSPORTATION OPTION AVAILABLE

7. DON'T KNOW

9. REFUSED

Q69 When you started that trip, approximately how long did you spend waiting for the bus?

INTERVIEWER: WAITING TIME IS DESIRED ONLY FOR THE FIRST BUS THEY TOOK.

HOURS AND MINUTES>

1258. DON'T KNOW

1259. REFUSED

Q70 During your trip, how many transfers did you make?

1. None.

2. One transfer.

3. Two transfers.

4. Three transfers.

5. Four or more transfers.

7. DK

9. REFUSED

Q71 Approximately how long did it take you in total, to get to where you were going?

HOURS AND MINUTES>

1258. DON'T KNOW

1259. REFUSED

Q72 For that trip, did you take the bus to get back home?

1. YES

2. NO

7. DK

9. REFUSED

Q73 On the way home, how many transfers did you make?

1. None.

2. One transfer.

3. Two transfers.

4. Three transfers.

5. Four or more transfers.

7. DK

9. REFUSED

Q74 Approximately how long did it take you in total to get to home from where you were?

HOURS AND MINUTES>

1258. DON'T KNOW

1259. REFUSED

Q76 In general, when you are waiting for the bus, would you say that the bus you want Never, Occasionally, Very Often, or Always passes you by at the bus stop?

1. NEVER

2. OCCASIONALLY / SOMETIMES

3. VERY OFTEN

4. ALWAYS

7. DK

9. REFUSED

Q77 Would you say that you feel unsafe or threatened Never, Occasionally, Very Often, or Always while waiting at the bus stop or riding on the bus?

1. NEVER

2. OCCASIONALLY / SOMETIMES

3. VERY OFTEN

4. ALWAYS

7. DK

9. REFUSED

Q78 How does the lack of safety affect how you use the bus?

Q79 Do you use a monthly bus pass?

1. YES

2. NO

7. DK

9. REFUSED

Q80 Why don't you use a monthly bus pass?

Q81 We'd like to know if you receive any assistance from the county for your transportation costs. Do you receive any of the following types of assistance from the county?

81_1 Free bus pass

81_2 Free tokens

81_3 Mileage reimbursement

81_4 Anything else / other __________________

81_5 NONE

81_6 DK

81_7 REFUSED

81_8 EXIT

Q82 What are the two biggest problems with using the bus?

Q83 What would make it easier for you to use the bus?

TRANS10 As I said when we began the survey, some counties are trying to decide what are some useful transportation programs. We'd like to know your opinion on some of these programs.

PRESS "1" TO CONTINUE

Q84 I'm going to list four possible public transportation programs that might be of use to you. After I read them, please tell me which service would be most helpful to you.

1. A transit pass that lets you ride for free any time on any public transit system in Fresno County

2. More frequent bus service (for example, buses that run every 15 to 30 minutes)

3. A lift home from work if you need to get home in case of an emergency

4. Shuttle/van that picks you up from home, drops you at work, and takes you home at the end of the day

5. NONE

6. DON'T KNOW

7. REFUSED

Q84A I also want to know which of the three remaining programs would be least useful to you. I will read the remaining options to you again.

1. A transit pass that lets you ride for free any time on any public transit system in Fresno County

2. More frequent bus service (for example, buses that run every 15 to 30 minutes)

3. A lift home from work if you need to get home in case of an emergency

4. Shuttle/van that picks you up from home, drops you at work, and takes you home at the end of the day

5. NONE

6. DON'T KNOW

7. REFUSED

Q85 Is there anything we didn't list that you think would help you get around more easily?

Q86 Some counties are considering programs for car ownership. I am going to read you four options. Can you tell me which program would be most helpful to you?

1. A program to help you get a car loan.

1. A program to help you maintain a car and provide emergency road service.

1. A program to enable you to buy liability insurance at a lower cost.

1. A program to help you clear parking tickets.

1. NONE

1. DK

1. REFUSED

Q86a I also want to know which of the three remaining programs would be least important or least useful to you. I will read the remaining options to you again.

1. A program to help you get a car loan.

1. A program to help you maintain a car and provide emergency road service.

1. A program to enable you to buy liability insurance at a lower cost.

1. A program to help you clear parking tickets.

1. NONE

1. DK

1. REFUSED

Q87 Okay, we are nearly at the end of the survey. I'd like to ask if you have any other comments about your transportation needs. We've covered a lot of questions, but maybe we have left something out. Is there anything else about your transportation needs you can tell us?

Q88 Before I hang up, I need three simple facts about you. Besides yourself, how many other people over 18 live in your household?

NUMBER>

98. DK

99. REFUSED

Q89 How much school have you completed?

1. No school attended

2. Kindergarten

3. 1st - 4th grade

4. 5th - 8th grade

5. Some high school

6. GED

7. High school degree

8. Completed some college level courses

9. Associate degree

19. Bachelors degree or higher

20. DK

21. REFUSED

Q90 How would you identify your race or ethnicity? WOULD YOU SAY YOU ARE ...

1. HISPANIC

2. WHITE

3. BLACK

4. HMONG

5. LAOTIAN

6. CAMBODIAN

7. OTHER

9. REFUSED

IF NATIONALITY IS GIVEN (E.G., ITALIAN, AMERICAN, LEBANESE, IRISH) OR A NON-RESPONSIVE ANSWER (E.G., HUMAN RACE), RE-ASK, SAYING:

"Which of these categories would you consider yourself to be?" AND REREAD THE CATEGORIES

Q90A Would you describe yourself as being Hispanic or Latino?

1. YES

2. NO

7. DON'T KNOW

9. REFUSED

Q91 I'm going to read you a list of CALWORK's programs and activities. Please tell which of these programs and activities you are currently involved in.

Q91_1 Job club/job search (TRAINING ON HOW TO SEARH FOR OR GET A JOB)

Q91_2 Jobs 2000

Q91_3 Assessment

Q91_4 Job training program

Q91_5 Life skills training, parenting, child development classes

Q91_6 Adult education or GED classes

Q91_7 ESL classes (ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE)

Q91_8 College course work

Q91_9 Unpaid work experience or volunteer work

Q91_10 Other job skills programs

Q91_11 Domestic violence, substance abuse, or mental health services

Q91_12 Other

Q91_13 NONE

Q91_14 DON'T KNOW

Q91_15 REFUSED

Q:CNCLDE Okay, GREAT! Thanks for staying with me and completing the survey. Your answers will be extremely helpful to the County. Again, to thank you, we are sending a gift certificate to Target. You should expect to receive the gift certificate in the next week.

Q:ICADDRS To make sure you receive your Target gift certificate, can we please verify your current home address. Our records indicate your address is [address]. Is this correct?

1. YES

2. NO

Q:NEWADDRS Can we please have your current home address, or the address you would like the card mailed to. Please start with your street address.

Q:NEWCITY And the city?

Q:NEWZIP And the zip code?

Q:NOADDRS To make sure you receive your Target gift certificate, can we please have your current home address, or the address you would like the card mailed to. Please start with your street address.

Q:NOCITY And the city?

Q:NOZIP And the zip code?

Q:CNCLDE2 That concludes our survey. Thank you very much for your participation.

PLEASE RECORD THE GENDER OF THE RESPONDENT

1. MALE

2. FEMALE

3. COULDN'T TELL

Q:ICLANG LANGUAGE OF INTERVIEW:

1. ENGLISH

2. SPANISH

3. MIX OF SPANISH AND ENGLISH

HMONG

MIX OF HMONG AND ENGLISH

Q:SCALLBK2 When would be a better time for us to call you back?

Q:SCALLBK1 When can we call back to reach you?

Q:QUOTFULL I'm sorry, but we have filled our quota for now.

Thank you for your time. Goodbye.

Appendix Six: Survey Letter

We are asking you to participate in an important research study on transportation issues facing CalWORKs recipients. We're conducting a survey in Fresno County to learn how transportation can be improved for people moving from welfare to work. We would like to hear what you think about this issue.

If you agree to take part in this study, we will ask you to participate in a short telephone survey. The survey will ask you how you travel around the county, the types of transportation barriers that you face, and the types of programs or services that might be helpful to you. The survey will take approximately 20 minutes to complete. To thank you for your participation and time, we will give you a gift certificate to Target worth $15.00.

Any information that is obtained in connection with this study and that can be identified with you will remain confidential and will be disclosed only with your permission or as required by law. You can choose whether to be in this study or not. If you volunteer to be in this study, you may withdraw at any time without consequences of any kind. You may also refuse to answer any questions you don't want to answer. The investigator may withdraw you from this research if circumstances arise which warrant doing so.

The study is being conducted by Professors Evelyn Blumenberg and Brian Taylor from the School of Public Policy and Social Research at the University of California, Los Angeles. If you have any questions or concerns about the research or you do not wish to participate in this study, please contact Professor Blumenberg (310-825-1803).

We hope that you are willing to participate in this study and look forward to talking to you soon.

Sincerely,

Evelyn Blumenberg, Assistant Professor

Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies

UCLA School of Public Policy and Social Research

University of California, Los Angeles

Appendix Seven: Transit Service Days

 

Transit Service Days

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekdays

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fresno

Clovis

Auberry

Coalinga

Firebaugh

Fowler

Friant

Huron

Kerman

Kingsburg

Laton

 

 

 

 

In-city

Intercity

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5:00 -- 6:00 am

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6:00 -- 7:00 am

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7:00 -- 8:00 am

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8:00 -- 9:00 am

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9:00 -- 10:00 am

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10:00 -- 11:00 am

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11:00 -- 12:00 am

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12:00 -- 1:00 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1:00 -- 2:00 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2:00 -- 3:00 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3:00 -- 4:00 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4:00 -- 5:00 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5:00 -- 6:00 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6:00 -- 7:00 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transit Service Days

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekdays (cont'd)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mendota

Orange Cove

Parlier

Reedley

Sanger

San Joaquin

Selma

S. Sierra

Southeast

Westside

 

 

In-city

Intercity

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5:00 -- 6:00 am

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6:00 -- 7:00 am

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7:00 -- 8:00 am

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8:00 -- 9:00 am

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9:00 -- 10:00 am

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by appointment

 

10:00 -- 11:00 am

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11:00 -- 12:00 am

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12:00 -- 1:00 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1:00 -- 2:00 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2:00 -- 3:00 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3:00 -- 4:00 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4:00 -- 5:00 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5:00 -- 6:00 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6:00 -- 7:00 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Fresno County Rural Transit Agency, Transit Service Day, Hours and Fares

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transit Service Days

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekends

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fresno

Fresno

Clovis Round-Up

Coalinga Intercity

Kingsburg

Selma

S. Sierra

 

Saturday

Sunday

Saturday

Saturday

Saturday

Saturday

Sat. and Sun.

5:00 -- 6:00 am

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6:00 -- 7:00 am

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7:00 -- 8:00 am

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8:00 -- 9:00 am

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9:00 -- 10:00 am

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10:00 -- 11:00 am

 

 

 

 

 

 

by appointment

11:00 -- 12:00 am

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12:00 -- 1:00 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1:00 -- 2:00 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2:00 -- 3:00 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3:00 -- 4:00 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4:00 -- 5:00 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5:00 -- 6:00 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6:00 -- 7:00 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Fresno County Rural Transit Agency, Transit Service Day, Hours and Fares

 

 

 

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Abbreviations and Acronyms

 

AFDC

Aid to Families with Dependent Children

CalWORKs

California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids

DETA

Department of Employment and Temporary Assistance

GAO

General Accounting Office

GED

General Education Development

HUD

Housing and Urban Development

LA GAIN Program

Los Angeles county-based program that provides employment-related services to CalWORKs recipients to help them find employment

NAACP

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

MAS

Metropolitan Area Size

NPTS

Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey

P/PV

Public/Private Ventures

SMH

Spatial mismatch hypothesis

SRL

Social Research Laboratory

TANF

Temporary Assistance to Needy Families

 

About the Authors

Evelyn Blumenberg, Ph.D.

Evelyn Blumenberg, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Urban Planning at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she teaches courses on planning history and theory, urban policy, gender and urban planning, and social policy.

 

Dr. Blumenberg received her Ph.D. in Urban Planning from UCLA. Her research interests include transportation of the disadvantaged, rural and urban transportation planning, and labor and industrial relations.

 

Peter Haas, Ph.D.

Peter Haas, Ph.D. is a Professor of Political Science at San José State University, and is also Education Director at the Mineta Transportation Institute.

 

He received a B.A. from Valparaiso University, an M.A. from Kent State University, and a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Haas' research interests include evaluation of pilot programs, public participation, state and regional transportation and public support for transit programs.

 

 


1. The other Central Valley counties include Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, Placer, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Shasta, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Tulare, Yolo, and Yuba (Umbach, 1998).

2. The employment data are from the 1998 American Business Directory produced by American Business Information (ABI), Inc.

3. Counties have discretion over the types of programs and services that they provide. Therefore, transportation-related programs offered in Fresno County may or may not be offered in other counties around the state.

4. For this analysis, a household is considered low-income if it has 1-2 persons with income less than $10,000, 3-4 persons with income under $20,000, or 5 or more persons with income less than $25,000. All other households are categorized as non-low income.

5. The findings of these studies are summarized in a series of comprehensive literature reviews on the topic (Holzer 1991; Ihlanfeldt 1992; Jencks and Mayer 1990; Kain 1992; Moss and Tilly 1991; Wheeler 1990; Ihlanfeldt and Sjoquist 1998; Preston and McLafferty 1999).

6. The transportation barriers are much greater for transit-dependent welfare participants engaged in job search compared to other phases of the welfare program (UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies 2000).

7. Most studies show that welfare participants prefer improved services to lower fares (UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies 2000; Wachs and Taylor 1998).

8. Two of the Fresno focus groups were held on the same day and included the same population, welfare recipients in the intake process. The figures for th

9. Survey respondents reported that cars that were 10 years old or older had 2.4 breakdowns in the previous three months compared to one breakdown for cars that were less than 10 years old.

10. The sample of transit users is too small to run a separate regression model for this subgroup.