Transportation Insecurity: Developing a Measure to Capture an Understudied Dimension of Poverty

January 13, 2017

Crowd at train stopThis project aims to develop the Transportation Security Index, a tool that operationalizes transportation insecurity by measuring an individual’s ability to get to the places he/she needs to go regardless of transportation used or area of residence.

Transportation is an often-overlooked dimension of poverty. For example, problems with transportation have been shown to exacerbate multiple symptoms of poverty (e.g. poor mental health outcomes, low levels of access to services, difficulty securing employment). However, no existing measurements in the federal suite of material hardship measures accounts for problems with transportation. This project aims to develop the Transportation Security Index, a tool that operationalizes transportation insecurity by measuring an individual’s ability to get to the places she needs to go regardless of transportation used or area of residence. It will be made available for use by researchers, policy makers, and community groups interested in examining the causes and consequences of transportation insecurity and its relationship to poverty and may also be used to evaluate how transportation-related policies and programs affect socio-economic mobility.

Alexandra K. Murphy, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology & Faculty Associate, Population Studies Center, University of Michigan
Jamie Griffin, PhD, Assistant Research Scientist, Survey Research Center, University of Michigan
Alix Gould-Werth, PhD, Adjunct Assistant Research Scientist, Population Studies Center, University of Michigan & Researcher, Mathematica Policy Research