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Learn How Local Transportation Can Improve Upward Mobility 

By Mary Malcolm

In the limited budgets afforded to government agencies, officials may find difficulty in assessing where funds need to be allocated. Local governments center their concerns around the prosperity and success of their community but these efforts may be short-sighted. While things like education, highways and roads, and social service programs are lifeline by government funding, there are unsung heroes in the assessment of what makes a great community.

1 in 10 Americans say they use public transportation on a daily or weekly basis, but 45% of Americans do not have access to safe or reliable transportation. The goal of a prosperous, successful community is in direct conflict with the lack of reliable public transportation in many cities. Reliable transportation is a major point of consideration in the procurement and securing of jobs for community members. Government officials play a considerable role in the upward mobility of citizens’, transportation being a key player as it offers job opportunities and more flexible schedules for community members. 

Read on to learn more about the link between improving upward mobility in your community and providing reliable public transport for citizens. 

What Makes Good Transportation Systems In A Community?

The community's needs should be addressed at the individual level to ensure that various aspects of governance are specifically tailored to the entire community. That being said there are fundamental characteristics that can be applied across the board, guaranteeing a successful transportation system in your municipality too. 

When determining what would make for a good transportation system, you must question what it is ultimately being employed for in the community. That is, if the purpose is to open opportunities to citizens in their job search and obtain better work, they must be able to safely and reliably attend their jobs. 

The population of the area served must also be considered; if the public transportation is intended to serve a densely populated township, the appropriate amount of buses and trains should be deployed. Inversely, if the population is less populated there should not be a surplus of transportation options, as the exorbitant buses and trains become redundant and a waste of money. Government officials bear the responsibility of knowing the needs of their community intimately and must work to address them. Therefore there is no blueprint for a successful transportation system, but assuring the cleanliness, safety, and reliability of these systems is indicative of foundational success. 

If you're interested in this article, read our other Guide on Improving Public Local Transportation

Why Is Local Public Transportation Vital For A Community?

Availability of transportation is often regarded as a luxury when, in fact, it functions as a necessity. Statistics show that while about half of communities in the United States do not have access to public transportation, 77% of those polled favored more transportation options becoming available. Think about it, people need transportation every day to get to the food store, their jobs, to pick up their children from school, and various other day-to-day activities. However, when constituents don’t have access to reliable public transportation, they are often forced to walk around town, regardless of weather or safety conditions. 

The truth is: most of the Americans without access to their own vehicles fall on the lower side of the socioeconomic scale. This means, people with less money are not always prioritized in large community systems. Ensuring community members, regardless of socioeconomic status have access to everything your community has to offer is a vital way to act as an ethical government and support citizens. 

Vitality of the community is contingent on all citizens’ ability to properly utilize the resources available; and people need to travel. Should a community not be walkable, lack of proper transportation options makes it extremely difficult for citizens to secure jobs, attend workshops, shop, and overall proves detrimental to the economy as people cannot conveniently spend locally. 

With the implementation of a reliable transportation system, constituents may then orchestrate a schedule for work while also attending to personal commitments. This also encourages money to be poured back into the community as funds for local transportation to benefit all community members

Key Opportunities Provided By Local Transportation 

Efficiency, affordability, and accessibility are going to be the key characteristics of a successful transportation system that is interested in maximizing the potential of economic and employment opportunities. 

  • Economic Opportunities 

Economic opportunities are afforded to the community when local businesses succeed and grow. There is exponential potential to show the government’s support for local businesses as the newly instated transportation system allows people to get exposure to hidden treasures in their community. Unexpected favorites will erupt from the community as foot traffic in previously inaccessible areas increases and people are able to patronize businesses for the first time. 

Government sponsored transportation will likely inspire revamp to existing routes in the community, further benefiting other commuters utilizing their own vehicles. While commuters will love this renovation, it will also give better access to those bringing imported goods, making the transportation of goods to and from markets convenient, permitting additional economic growth and development. 

On a more independent level, citizens may be presented with the opportunity for a higher paying job that would improve their quality of life, but is out of town. Granting constituents the freedom to accept jobs and advance their careers through public transport will improve upward mobility in your community and increase the local economy. 

Learn about GovPilot’s Business Registration Software here. 

  • Employment Opportunities 

A well-connected transportation network plays a pivotal role in fostering economic growth by generating job opportunities both directly and indirectly. In the transportation sector, the network creates a demand for various roles such as drivers, maintenance crews, logistics specialists, and other related professions. These direct employment opportunities not only contribute to a robust workforce but also enhance the overall efficiency of the transportation infrastructure. 

The indirect impact is equally significant, as a well-established transportation network enables businesses to expand their reach and efficiency. Citizens are able to travel to work around your community and surrounding ones more reliably, expanding constituents abilities to access further job opportunities. Additionally, companies can transport goods, access broader markets, and respond more effectively to customer demands. This expansion, in turn, leads to increased production and the need for additional manpower, thus generating employment across diverse localities. Ultimately, a well-connected transportation network acts as a catalyst for job creation, encouraging a more vibrant and interconnected economy.

Read more about Prioritizing Public Transit To Increase Accessibility To Jobs!

The Benefits of Reliable Transportation In A Community 

1. Accessibility 

Government agents should work diligently to ensure the accessibility needs and accommodations of community members are being thoroughly considered. 12.1% of U.S. adults have a mobility disability that impacts their ability to access resources in the community. The inability to drive or restrictive routing may make it very difficult to navigate a community and take advantage of all the resources that may be available. Residents are given access to a whole new list of healthcare facilities, educational institutions, employment centers, and shopping areas when they are given ample transportation options.. 

Studies indicate that increased community mobility has been correlated with enhanced physical health, mental well-being, and overall quality of life. The capacity to navigate one's local environment is anticipated to support active community engagement, an integral component of health functioning.

Read GovPilot’s Accessibility Guide.

2. Healthcare Access 

It is essential to the health of community members that there is equity in the resources the community has to offer. Depending on the size of the population, there may be several primary healthcare providers, of which may have a huge disparity in the quality of healthcare provided. Assuring that constituents are not restricted to any one physician, or are unable to access specialists due to inaccessible transportation is a responsibility that must be shouldered by the governments that represent these locales. 

Learn about GovPilot’s Health Department Software.

3. Education Access

In the same vein as healthcare providers, the quality of education between different schools, especially in major cities, may have an imbalance in the quality of education provided. Children being forced to attend a lesser quality institution because there is not a practical route or means of transportation is an injustice to our youth. What if a student tests into a notable , competitive entry school that they cannot commute to on their own?

This dilemma is not limited to schools, these principles must be applied to supplemental initiatives such as libraries, community centers, and other educational resources. In the interest of bettering our youth, it must be the consensus of the community and their representatives that no inequity is permitted, especially when it may be so readily resolved by the implementation of a transportation system the entire community would benefit from. 

Learn about our 10 Tips for Local Public Space Planning here!

4. Reduced Traffic Congestion 

Redesign and revamping current routes and roadways in the community is conducive to more practical travel. While the addition of buses, trains, and/or subways will help those who use them, it will also act like a carpool, clearing up the roads. 

Even if people do have access to their own cars, difficulty parking, gas prices, or the environmental impact all may dissuade them from driving and prefer to use public transportation options. This, in turn, reduces the amount of cars on the roadway, lessening the potential of congestion ever occurring, quickening travel times, and lessening stress associated with travel.   

Further, services like GIS Mapping Software can help your Zoning and Planning Department get a revolutionized view of the community. GIS maps can be used to assess traffic conditions, consider the number of stops, and idealize routes for city planners. These stats can then be utilized when considering how to optimize routes and travel, further improving transportation systems. Should a route increase in popularity and become more congested, redirection of vehicles via alternative routes alleviates congestion and keeps the flow of traffic more consistent with expected travel times. 

Consider our GIS Map for Government to improve municipal planning in your municipality now. 

5. Quality of Life 

The independent efforts of the aforementioned benefits of a reliable transportation system all work in tandem to cultivate a higher quality of life. With the reduced stress resulting from lessened commute times, improved access to amenities, and increased availability of higher quality healthcare and education, people are granted a new lease on life. Representatives should strive to engineer a community that maximizes community mobility that ultimately contributes to a comfortable, enjoyable living experience. Don't forget- when constituents experience a higher quality of life they are more likely to re-elect their officials!

Be sure to Improve Constituent Engagement with our guide!

Prioritize Transportation In Your Municipality

You are urged to call upon your local government officials to recognize the pivotal role that a robust public transportation infrastructure plays in shaping the future of our community. Prioritizing investments in this crucial sector is not just a matter of convenience but a strategic move towards a more sustainable, connected, and inclusive community. To learn how GovPilot can collaborate with your local government and revolutionize your township, book a consultation today!

Transportation Infrastructure FAQs

Whose responsibility is keeping public transportation safe?  

While every user of the public transportation system is expected to play a role in maintaining the safety of themselves and others, it is the government’s responsibility to monitor and protect the citizens, similar to any other government facility.

What is upward mobility?   

Upward mobility refers to the ability of an individual or family to improve their socio-economic status, often measured by advancements in income, education, or career opportunities over time. It signifies upward movement within the social and economic hierarchy. 

How is upward mobility linked to good public transportation? 

Upward mobility is linked to good public transportation as it provides individuals with increased accessibility to educational and employment opportunities, fostering economic advancement and social mobility by enabling easier access to key resources and services.

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Tags: Government Efficiency, More Money or More Problems, Constituent Experience