An analysis of commuting distance and job accessibility for residents in a US legacy city

Authors: Nan Ding*, University at Buffalo
Topics: Urban Geography, Transportation Geography, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: job accessibility, low-wage jobs, commuting distance sensitivity, conditional distance decay, LEHD
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: 8217, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Job accessibility have been examined over the years, especially in older industrial cities. While research point toward spatial mismatch, contradictory results have been found regarding job accessibility of low-wage workers. This paper examines the location of jobs for city residents, who are low-wage workers belonging to different age groups and industry sectors. This paper has three related objectives: analyze to what extent can city residents work in the city; examine the job accessibility and its spatial distribution for low-wage workers, and explore the correlation between job accessibility and commuting distance. The Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics (LEHD) dataset is used to calculate job-specific distance decay parameters and job accessibility. Suitable jobs are controlled by income, age, and industry sector. A conditional distance decay function based on commuting distance sensitivity is introduced and applied to job accessibility. Distance affects job accessibility only beyond a certain threshold, which varies by worker characteristics. Results show that residents seeking low-wage jobs still face difficulty in finding jobs in the city. Job accessibility is unevenly distributed across the city, but poor/high minority-populated neighborhoods do not face locational disadvantage. Distance decay functions do not change the relative job accessibility score but affect the spatial patterns of job accessibility. Commuting distance is negatively associated with job accessibility for all income levels. Future studies need to understand the process that will inform residents about job opportunities so that accessibility can translate into employment.

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