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DO TRANSIT-DEPENDENT NEIGHBORHOODS RECEIVE INFERIOR BUS ACCESS? A NEIGHBORHOOD ANALYSIS IN FOUR U.S. CITIES

Authors


Kirstin Wells, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Research Department, 230 S. LaSalle St., Chicago, IL 60604. E-mail: kirstin.wells@chi.frb.org.

Abstract

ABSTRACT: Intrajurisdictional delivery of publicly provided services often results in observable service level differences that vary by spatial subunit (neighborhood). These variations are related to the sociodemographic characteristics of neighborhoods and have been hypothesized in prior literature to be the result of bias against or favoritism toward certain neighborhoods. Using path regression, this paper examines publicly provided bus service in four cities—Asheville, North Carolina; Charlotte, North Carolina; Mobile, Alabama; and Richmond, Virginia—to examine whether the socioeconomic character of a neighborhood is related to the share of municipal bus service it receives. With this analysis, we test an expanded version of Lineberry's underclass hypothesis. Specifically, do transit-dependent neighborhoods, or those with a high percentage of non-Caucasian, low-income, elderly, or student residents receive inferior bus service? Findings confirm prior research that both standard rules and bias are present in service delivery decisions.

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