Public Transit as a Tool for Reducing Urban Segregation

Last week the Atlantic Cities reported in an article titled “Why Segregation is Bad for Everyone” on a study recently released by Urban Studies that examines the role of segregation in cities. The research indicates that when segregation (based on race, income level, job type, etc.) exists in a specific area, the entire region suffers. And everyone in the region suffers, not just those in the group being marginalized. This is because cities function better with diversity, and so do economies. Integration and interaction between different racial groups, income levels, and job types helps businesses support and complement each other and can also help spur innovation.

arch busSprawl and limited transportation options were listed as some of the top contributors to segregation. Lack of transportation can make it difficult for workers to access jobs and sprawl can exacerbate that problem, especially for reverse commuters – those commuting from the city to the suburbs for work. While working to improve affordable housing near jobs and increasing job growth overall can certainly help the situation, improving transportation and mobility might be the best solution. Essentially, expanding public transit could be one of the best untapped tools for reducing segregation.

Sound familiar? Citizens for Modern Transit has been working to improve and expand public transit in the St. Louis region for many of the reasons outlined in the Atlantic Cities article. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, when it comes to transit –  Some of us ride it. All of us need it.

Read the full article from the Atlantic Cities here.