Transport and Social Exclusion

J. Hine, University of Ulster, Newtownabbey, UK
& 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Reverse Commute Problem Travel from inner cities to suburban locations. Social Exclusion Nonparticipation in normal activities of society. Transport Disadvantage Poor access to transport.

The link between transport provision, policy, and social exclusion is complex, but it is also clear that there are powerful synergies with poverty, sustainable develop ment, and the regeneration of communities. Social ex clusion is closely associated with ‘social justice’ and ‘accessibility’, terms that have been cited in the literature for a considerable time now. More recently, studies in the fields of human geography and transport studies have demonstrated that the link between transport and social exclusion is essentially related to differential levels of access to modes of transport, often referred to as trans port disadvantage, and poor access to goods and services. More recently, research efforts focused on linkages with well being and aspects of quality of life which make it difficult for people to participate fully in society. A number of factors are seen to contribute to social ex clusion; it is clear that access to transport is central to all these. These include differentials in education, training opportunity and attainment, socioeconomic circum stances, local environment as well as access to infor mation and physical accessibility to a wide range of opportunities, including employment, shopping, and recreation. Internationally, attention has been focused on low income neighborhoods and where social and economic changes have resulted in joblessness; the concentration of vulnerable people in deprived neighborhoods; family breakdown; poor core public services and public service failure; and the declining popularity of social housing. The problem in these areas has been compounded by a lack of attention to links between poor neighborhoods in urban centers and local and regional economies, and the links between planning and economic development which can accentuate the barriers to work, education, and childcare. In the US, a significant form of social exclusion can be found in the isolation of poor inner city residents from jobs that are increasingly located in the suburbs and the urban fringe. This has resulted in the reverse

commute problem among these groups. Transport dis advantage can also be acute in informal settlements and favelas where poor transport links emphasize economic and social dislocation. A greater understanding of the geographical/spatial nature of social exclusion is critical to the delivery of transport solutions. The use of geographic information system (GIS) and accessibility measurement has become an important research and policy development area. New research areas have developed from this, including the analysis of activity spaces and social networks, and as sessments of the impact of new information technology on travel.

Defining Social Exclusion
Social exclusion has come to be accepted as a term that refers to the loss in the ability (by people or households) to fully participate in activities and society and connect with many of the jobs, services, and facilities. There is broadly an agreement in the literature that social exclusion represents a conceptual shift away from the traditional forms of explanation and should not be considered equivalent to older terms and definitions previously applied to individuals, groups, and processes considered to exist and operate outside a certain social norm – such as poverty, deprivation, and the underclass. Despite no common definition of social exclusion there is also no common definition of the dimensions and factors involved in it. But in both cases, the approaches taken by various authors, though different in detail, broadly overlap. Typically, these dimensional frameworks refer to the key areas of daily life. It is also recognized that the ability of a group or individual to participate across these dimensions could be affected by a number of factors. These include the individual’s own character istics, life events, and characteristics of the area resided in and social, civil, and political institutions of society. In sociology and studies of time use, this has been referred to as the structure of social obligations that often make travel necessary (e.g., legal, economic, and familial obligations). In terms of transport shaping patterns of social ex clusion, it is clear that there are a variety of processes that can impact on the synergies of this relationship. These processes can include: (1) the nature of time–space or ganization in households; (2) the nature of the transport system; and (3) the nature of time–space organization of


Social Exclusion and Patterns of Transport Disadvantage Internationally. for ex ample. and the elderly.) Low income families are moving into car ownership as a response to rising public transport fares and poorer levels of public transport ac cessibility to different labor and housing markets in creasingly in peripheral locations. can compound these factors. ‘economic exclusion’: refers to a situation the high monetary or temporal costs of travel can prevent or limit access to facilities or jobs and thus income. research has identified that those groups most likely to experience transport disadvantage are those on low incomes. those encumbered by heavy loads or those who do not speak the dominant language of the society. shows that over the period 1989–91 to 2004 although the number of households in the lowest real income quintile with no car has declined by 20%. health. ‘time based exclusion’: refers to a situation where other demands on time such as caring restrict the time available for travel. leisure. Low-Income Groups For Great Britain. The nature of these will differ according to gender. are: ‘physical exclusion’: refers to a situation where phys • ical barriers inhibit the accessibility of services which could be experienced by mothers with children. Indeed. these groups are those with traditionally lower levels of access to cars. process. makes access difficult. Research studies have now started to address this using travel diaries combined with social surveys and GISs. it can be argued that transport exclusion mechanisms can be peripheral to non transport mech anisms but what is important to recognize is that trans port. age. eld erly. The seven categories of ex clusion suggested by Church et al.. or frail. Walking and public transport are the dominant modes of transport for people from households on low incomes. children. and education – from people’s homes. but in particular for non car owning households in the lowest income quintile. and public sector housing. particularly by women. and children. a substantial proportion in this income group have no car – 54% in 2004 (Table 1). • • • • • • Of course. At a local level it is clear that there is a need for the identification of a selection of indicators that reflect the processes linked to social exclusion and in particular. Evidence also indicates clearly that multiply deprived households are highly intercorrelated with other factors such as low incomes. ‘exclusion from facilities’: refers to the distance from facilities – for example. fear. Race is also an important indicator of transport access and social disadvantage. (In the National Travel Survey this is measured as households within a 13 minute walk of an hourly bus service. women. ‘geographical exclusion’: refers to a situation where poor transport provision and resulting inaccessibility can create exclusion not just in rural areas but also in areas on the urban fringe. 1989/91 and 2004 1989/91 None One 24 44 55 55 46 Two or more 3 8 20 33 47 2004 None 54 37 20 11 8 One 38 47 52 46 40 Two or more 7 15 28 43 52 Lowest real-income quintile Second quintile Third quintile Fourth quintile Highest real-income quintile 73 48 25 12 7 Source: Department for Transport (2005) National Travel Survey. and ‘space exclusion’: refers to a situation where security and space management strategies can discourage so cially excluded individuals from using public trans port spaces. the idea of introducing dimensional frameworks to the debate on the links between transport and social exclusion highlights the need for approaches that can identify this range of experience. or rather the lack of access to it. Essentially. especially from those with no car. connected to trans port. and even terror influence how public spaces and public transport are used. low levels of car ownership. elderly and disabled people. shopping. the role of transport in that exclusionary Table 1 Household car ownership by income band. and economic circumstances. ‘fear based exclusion’: refers to a situation where worry. the National Travel Survey.430 Transport and Social Exclusion the facilities and opportunities individuals are seeking to access. This is despite evidence which indicates that the availability of bus services has changed little over this period in urban areas and has actually increased in rural areas. level of ability. cultural background. .

patterns of employment. travel to work costs may make taking a low income job an un economic option. the economic reality is sharply defined by the resource constraints of childcare. transport is vital to holding down a job. Young women in particular feel very unsafe after dark when using public transport. to access financial services. The restructuring of bus services to the edges of residential and commercial areas on main transport corridors could potentially have a profound effect on this group. and those from ethnic communities are more likely to fear crime while using public transport. women. and location of stops. and availability. Particularly.Transport and Social Exclusion 431 Women Women also experience exclusion in a number of ways as a result of poor public transport services. These reasons include: low incomes. Australia. little evidence to suggest the extent and nature of such service restructuring exercises on this group. women from ethnic minorities. is that services are more likely to be located on transport corridors. however.. Exclusion from Services Lack of readily available transport. for example. Disabled Disabled people are a group that also features in dis cussions surrounding the link between transport and social exclusion. cost.g. Other work has found that taxis can play a very important role in these circumstances. disabled women. the United States. Fear and Perceptions of Safety Inadequately managed and structured public transport systems can be responsible for influencing perceptions of safety and fear. There are also differences among women in terms of the experiences of specific groups (e. local services and activities are located in inaccessible places for noncar owners. buses can be a rare commodity. whether car or public transport. The consequence of this fear is that trips are either not made or that alternative arrangements are made where it is possible to avoid these situations. Perceptions of safety and fear can have significant effects on levels of personal mobility. physical layout of infrastructure and design of vehicles. public transport is often seen as unreliable with timetables that do not match up with work schedules. For young people in rural areas. Fear of interchange facilities and stations in the dark and at off peak periods. Public transport networks often do not adequately serve these out of town/edge of town lo cations. new sites for em ployment and housing are also located on the edge of towns and cities. has a clear impact on whether particular goods and services can be accessed. Cost and availability of childcare. Typically. and women living in rural areas and lone parents). Women with young children are perhaps hardest hit in this respect.g. In the case of public transport the problem. car ing responsibilities. social exclusion and its re duction through improved public transport are treated as . when confronted by low wages and an increasing proportion of part time work. older women. lack of knowledge of the local job market. This when combined with timetables that do not accommodate new forms of employment (e. There is. For younger people. The cost of public transport is often cited as a barrier to accessing further education. shift work) means that access can be problematic and that temporal barriers to job markets have been created. Policy Responses Increasingly. Personal safety when using or trying to access transport infrastructure is also a major consideration for this group. The Impact of Transport Disadvantage and Social Exclusion Barriers to Employment Poor transport access is an important barrier to em ployment opportunities. have high lighted the need for a security presence in these locations. and an unwillingness to travel outside the locality can also be barriers to employment. There is evi dence from many parts of the world that travel patterns differ by gender. Lack of personal transport and poor public transport also have been found to reduce the ability of people. and most of Africa. the de sign of the infrastructure can mitigate against the use of a local transport system. es pecially in the dark. especially for communities with low levels of car ownership. In disadvantaged housing areas. As with older people and the disabled. living in disadvantaged areas. and access to forms of travel (par ticularly access to cars). income. Older people. They suffer because for a variety of reasons they find it difficult to access public services.. work has found that the anxieties experienced when using public trans port are similar to those for adults. travel to work time. including. Sweden. Switches from bus to car are often a result of these fears and the inability of the services to meet shift patterns. In many towns and cities during the off peak (early morning and late evening) periods. There are clear issues affecting women’s transport which relate to patterns of travel. Behaviors found include avoidance of making a trip. and creates difficulties in accessing health facilities for women.

although in the UK where operators control a large part of the network there are examples of cross subsidy between routes. and. other interventions have resulted from the need to introduce concessionary travel for older and disabled people and the growth of guidance and legislation on these matters. The commercialization of local bus services. Despite this there is growing evidence of rural operators beginning to work more closely with community transport operators. the disabled. In Galway. In rural areas. the focus has often moved to the provision of fewer higher frequency or limited ser vice routes. which legislates for mainstream public transport to become accessible to the disabled and . During the rise of neoliberal policies around the world. network shrinkage has been endemic partly in response not only to higher levels of car own ership in these areas but also due to cost cutting meas ures associated with a reduction in revenue support for public transport. Improving Levels of Personal Mobility Bus policies Public transport network coverage is a key public policy issue. heralded the end of low fare policies. typically. are based around ap proaches aimed at: (1) improving levels of personal mobility. these arrangements not only maximize vehicle usage but also provide add itional revenue for the overall RBC scheme. with regard to the price and quantity of public transport. there has been limited evidence to suggest the benefits of this approach for low income groups. Targeted subsidies is another approach that is used to grant concessionary travel to pensioners. policies are in place for concessionary travel and the buying in of so cially necessary public transport services. In the US. however. A con sequence of the trend toward high frequency corridors in urban areas has been a movement away from the pro vision of socially necessary services especially in the off peak periods. For instance. it is possible for other groups to be included in a concessionary scheme on a voluntary basis. In these situations. funding support for innovative rural public transport schemes is very unusual. In rural areas. An established method of improving access to bus services is through a general or targeted subsidy. In England. voluntary transport operators. in the UK the 1985 Transport Act. (2) providing mobile key services. seen as essential by operators for future business growth.432 Transport and Social Exclusion a general policy aim at the local government level. increased funding of rural public transport in England through the Rural Bus Subsidy Grant and the Rural Bus Challenge (RBC) has encouraged innovation particularly with regard to the development of demand responsive systems and com puterized booking. the coordination of private bus operators. De regulation in Merseyside and resultant fare increases have been cited as the main cause of reduced use. Improving the accessibility of ser vices is another aspect of bus policy. and students aged up to 18 years in full time education. pressure to reduce subsidies grew. Traditionally. Ireland. Work has suggested that the cost of subsidies and fare reduction are less than has been previously thought. For example. The UK Disability Discrimination Act 1995. has resulted in the development of Metro type urban bus routes or high frequency corridors in many towns and cities. the local municipality decided to operate a regular service for transporting students to school and local in habitants to shopping and health facilities in the nearby town. Nonetheless. this trend has been less pronounced due to higher levels of subsidy. the emphasis has tended to be on capital projects for rail and the devel opment of public transport to address the reverse com mute problem for low income inner city residents trying to access jobs in the suburbs and welfare to work schemes. There is also evidence that in these RBC schemes there has been sharing of vehicles with community transport schemes. (3) nontransport solutions. In Northern Ireland. the emphasis is not on route subsidy from public funds. Research indicates that these schemes encourage travel – those with concessions travel more often and further. Also. following de regulation. Nonetheless. policy inter ventions for the transport disadvantaged in this area have emerged from the specialist transport provider who has sought to address those gaps in provision not filled by mainstream transport providers. This may reflect a lack of control over public transport op erators. and non emergency health transport operators has been used to provide a network of flexibly routed and demand re sponsive services. in the Messary Valley in Southern Crete. Until recently. children under 16. it has been clear that consultation between local authorities and community transport op erators has increased and that there has been a fostering of community transport through the joint use of com puterized booking systems. a rural transport fund has been established to integrate community transport operations with Ulsterbus services and assist with the development of social car schemes. In terms of the impact on community transport operators. Policy responses. compared to the UK. passenger transport authorities and local authorities could no longer subsidize bus ser vices except those that were deemed to be socially ne cessary and unprofitable. in other words. funding tends to only cover more regular bus operations. A fare re duction in metropolitan areas in money and time savings to passengers and other road users would outweigh the costs of the subsidy. These are often in or adjacent to areas with high proportions of public sector housing. which de regulated bus services in Great Britain. In other European countries.

ICT can allow home based working enabling people from ex cluded groups with low levels of mobility to enter the labor market. Canada. Human geography has a key role to play not only in the development of new solutions but also in the spatial analysis of these transport problems. and the US. Available evidence indicates that they are cost effective and reduce the need for specialist transport. and shops. is also an important component of this approach. such as health centers. and leisure before the impact of this new technology can be assessed. this role has expanded to shopping and leisure based trips. Specialist services are typically provided by the volun tary sector. These so lutions encompass the use of mobile services for rural communities. Two forms of taxi operation have developed. a section of the population where transport needs can be expensive. which is restricted according to specific eligibility criteria. Another specialist transport concept is the ‘service route’. including banks. The service route is a regular route network but the route is based on where the proportions of elderly and disabled people live and important destinations. Virtual Mobility and Nontransport Solutions Potentially. The objectives of dial a ride services were originally to provide a demand responsive service serv ing low density suburban areas. the ideas of basic needs and well being are powerful when the experiences of those on low incomes and in deprived communities are examined. Indeed. New ICT approaches also allow more flexible hours of working for those with caring re sponsibilities. associated with its com plexity. The adaptation of street infra structure. and voluntary car schemes. when combined with local transport strategies and quality partnerships will ensure a fleet of accessible vehicles. instead. The problem with social exclusion. the approach remains an ac cepted method of delivering services to the elderly and disabled. Nonetheless. upgrading of bus shelters. Norway. more data are required to assess the impact of online services in the areas of health. the policy has been developed favoring mode shift objectives which chal lenge habitual car use. although there has been a growth in their usage by the general population for leisure purposes. there are those taxis that are run through voluntary driver schemes and taxis operated by commercial firms. and dental sur geries. Despite this. These schemes have been effective although funding and volunteer resources do dictate their avail ability. The efficiency of dial a ride systems has been improved by computerized scheduling packages that in effect provide the operator of services with a reservation system for services. This often obscures the basic needs function of public transport and specialized com munity transport operations. many transport and accessibility problems can be addressed by non transport solutions. which is based on radial routes coming into a city or town center. health. To combat the high cost taxi card schemes exist as a subsidy for travel by this mode. This is concerned with bringing the bus service closer to the residents and as such represents a move away from traditional route planning. is how it can be used to develop policy goals. Voluntary car schemes have been concerned with transporting people for social services. Taxis and specialist transport services however. Nonetheless. Conclusion Improving levels of personal mobility through transport investment can play an important role in reducing social exclusion. Patterns of transport disadvantage are present in many towns and cities and represent a key challenge to transport policy. These schemes have been implemented internationally in Denmark. at the time of writing. Virtual mobility has been seen as a means to reduce work related travel. learning. A variety of dial a ride services are now offered by community transport operators. and services. but it also offers transport poor households op portunities to access work. hospitals. Finland. it is the examination of these transport experiences that should prompt closer examinations of the allocation of resources and the distributional consequences of these policy decisions. Taxis are the most flexible transport service and are a popular alternative to other modes of transport even though they are the most expensive form of transport in the UK. As a concept they have been around in the UK since the early 1970s. Analyses in transport and . doctors.Transport and Social Exclusion 433 wheelchair users. and the enforcement of parking in bus lanes and around bus stops. Initial experiments with this form of transport found that the services were expensive and failed to cater to dispersed trip patterns. including bus boarders and raised platforms. goods. and education purposes. The use of information communication technol ogy (ICT) now also offers opportunities for these types of resources and services to be offered remotely as in the case of banking or booked in advance of use. Trends in transport use and the operation of public transport networks however seem to downplay the im portance of accessibility to goods and services for the transport disadvantaged. dial a ride services. On average taxis are 5 to 7 times more expensive than other modes per passenger mile while those groups in the population that tend to use taxis the most also tend to be on lower incomes. These services typically consist of: group hire bus services. Essentially. The Netherlands.

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