How do Low-Income Commuters Get to Work in US and Mexican Cities? A Comparative Empirical Assessment

Led by PISC Senior Scholar Erick Guerra, this study applied multinomial logit models to examine how metropolitan urban form, housing type, and socioeconomic factors relate to choice of commute for low-income workers in Mexico and the USA. The study found that despite socioeconomic and urban differences, there were common relationships on each side of the border such as the fact that more educated low-income workers in low-density metropolitan areas with substantial roads were more likely to drive to work. It also found that in Mexico, just 13% of low-income workers commute by car, with dense urban form strongly associated with increases in transit, non-motorised modes, and working at home.

In terms of public policy, the results of this study imply that efforts to reduce driving or promote compact development are more likely to reduce driving and be pro-poor in Mexico than in the USA. The comparison of commute behavior across the border also sheds light on the transferability of transportation and land use policies from the North to the South.

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