Around the Institute

Getting to Work: Improving Public Transportation for America’s Workers, Employers and Economies

October 2, 2014

Lack of affordable, reliable, and efficient transportation options is one of the most common challenges for low-income workers and job seekers, and, by extension, their employers. Americans spend an average of 18 percent of household income on transportation and the poorest one-fifth of families spend more than twice as much; the vast majority of these transportation costs are for buying, operating, and maintaining an automobile.

Public transportation can be a much cheaper option, but millions of workers lack access to buses and trains, the routes often do not efficiently connect workers from their homes to their jobs (and stops in between such as child care), and budgets for public transportation are consistently under threat. However, improved and expanded public transportation remains an important part of the solution to helping low- and moderate-income workers get to work and helping employers get access to the workforces they need.

Panelists will discuss the specific transportation challenges workers face, creative and cost effective solutions being explored and implemented across the country, and examples of how communities, organizations, and employers have mobilized to address this critical workforce issue.

Joan Byron, director of policy, Pratt Center for Community Development
Anita Hairston, associate director, PolicyLink
Yvonne Hunter, chair, Friends of Transit, and Leader in the employer-driven campaign, Transit Means Business
Beverly A. Scott, Ph.D., general manager, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) and administrator, MassDOT Rail & Transit administrator

Moderated by:
Emily Badger, reporter, The Washington Post