Highlighting Links Between Transportation and Poverty

Scenario: Local transportation nonprofit in upstate New York wants rigorous analysis examining intersections between transit and poverty to help inform and drive advocacy for improved and more equitable transit options in their city and county.


  1. Understand the extent to which transportation challenges have changed over time and how they affect low-income residents’ access to employment.
  2. Tell story in a compelling way that helps residents, policymakers, local leaders and funders recognize transportation as a critical element in anti-poverty efforts.
  3. Present findings in ways that can help drive action and advocacy in local community.

What CGR Delivered

  • Data collection and analysis of Census and Longitudinal Employed-Household Dynamics (LEHD) data to analyze and illustrate challenges and changes over time.
  • GIS analysis of how current transit options compare with driving in terms of length of commute and access to jobs.
  • Benchmarking of findings against four other upstate New York cities.
  • Attractive and easy to understand visualizations showing the limitations of the current transit system and its access to jobs.
  • Report highlighting transportation as a key equity issue with low-income workers forced to choose between expensive car ownership and very long transit commutes – resulting in limited access to the county’s jobs.

Result and Impact

Increased public awareness of how issues of transportation affect access to employment through local media reporting on report findings. Findings informed local transportation agency’s strategic planning process; draft plan has higher frequency and cross-town routes with smaller overall footprint. Report helped drive creation of new transportation working group in local poverty initiative.