The less you earn, the more you spend for commuting? Sifting out inequity in mobility from regional factors

Authors: Minju Lee*, University of Seoul, In Kwon Park*, University of Seoul
Topics: Urban and Regional Planning, Quantitative Methods, Urban Geography
Keywords: mobility equity, spatial mismatch, commuting, forced mobility, transportation
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Estherwood, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Do low-income workers spend more time for commuting? The spatial mismatch hypothesis suggests that job opportunities for low-income households tend to be located far away from their homes (Kain, 1968), implying inequity in transportation, so-called ‘forced mobility.’ It explains that while low-income workers are stuck in the inner city, new jobs are created in the suburbs due to decentralization, limiting their accessibilities to jobs. However, many developing countries have followed a different trajectory of urban development. In Korea, a rapid urbanization and redevelopment process has created a fragmented urban landscape that some parts of a city still hold job centers mixed with low-income households while other parts have seen new job centers and the rich displacing the poor from the center to the fringe. As this variation in spatial organization is not fully considered, empirics have obtained ambiguous results on the relationship between income and commuting, unlike the clear message of theory. In this study, we sift out the varied regional factors from the relationship between commuting and personal factors by comparing the behaviors of individuals commuting to different city-centers within Seoul, the capital city of Korea. The results not only verify the inequity in commuting time, but also show that the inequity can be mitigated or worsened by regional attributes such as housing affordability, job type, and public transportation. These results suggest some policy implications for achieving social equity in terms of transportation and spatial structure of the city.

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