The Public Interest

Transportation and poverty

John F. Kain & John R. Meyer

Winter 1970

WIDESPREAD concern about the problems of poverty and race has led to a proliferation of schemes for reducing the unemployment, increasing the incomes, and generally improving the well-being of disadvantaged groups in our society. Prominent among these are several that would use transportation to increase the employment opportunities of the poor. The concept that inadequate transportation must be numbered among the disadvantages of the poor and that improved mobility, particularly as it improves access to jobs, could increase their self-sufficiency was publicized widely in the aftermath of the Watts riots in 1965. The McCone Commission report on the causes of the riots concluded that “the most serious immediate problem [facing] the Negro in our community is employment....“ The commission suggested that, although a serious lack of skill and overt discrimination are major causes of high Negro unemployment, inadequate and costly public transportation also limit Negro employment opportunities...

Download a PDF of the full article.


to your National Affairs subscriber account.

Already a subscriber? Activate your account.


Unlimited access to intelligent essays on the nation’s affairs.

Subscribe to National Affairs.