Public Transit Access and Income Segregation

85 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2022

See all articles by Prottoy Akbar

Prottoy Akbar

Aalto University - Department of Economics; University of Helsinki - Helsinki Graduate School of Economics

Date Written: September 3, 2022


What are the implications of mass transit improvements for residential income segregation within cities? I observe large income differences in households' usage of and residential proximity to `fast' versus `slow' transit (e.g. subways versus buses on shared lanes). Consistent with these observations, I propose a theoretical framework to characterize the relationship between travel mode choices and income segregation within cities. I find that transit improvements that would maximize transit ridership tend to reduce income segregation when improving `slow’ transit but increase income segregation when improving `fast’ transit. These results are consistent with recent trends in transit ridership and neighborhood incomes in US cities.

Keywords: Mass Transit; Public Transportation; Residential Location Choice; Income Sorting; Income Segregation

JEL Classification: R23, R28, R42, R53

Suggested Citation

Akbar, Prottoy, Public Transit Access and Income Segregation (September 3, 2022). Available at SSRN: or

Prottoy Akbar (Contact Author)

Aalto University - Department of Economics ( email )

PO Box 1210
FI-00101 Helsinki

University of Helsinki - Helsinki Graduate School of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 17 (Arkadiankatu 7)
Helsinki, FI00014

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