Does a Rise in Income Inequality Lead to Rises in Transportation Inequality and Mobility Practice Inequality?

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2803

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Does a Rise in Income Inequality Lead to Rises in Transportation Inequality and Mobility Practice Inequality?


  • Joko Purwanto Transport & Mobility Leuven, Belgium


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Abstract:  Social and economic inequalities have sharpened in the late 20th century. During this period, Europe has witnessed a rising unemployment rate, a declining wages for the least qualified workers, a slowing of income growth, and an increasing gap between the richest and the poorest. Based on the hypothesis of the relation between socio-economic condition and mobility behaviour, it is necessary to ask how these socio-economic inequalities manifest themselves in transportation: does a rise in income inequality lead to a rise in transportation inequality and mobility practice inequality? This question is particularly relevant today as some European countries are facing high socio-economic inequalities following the financial crisis that started in 2008. Using results from transport, car ownership and mobility surveys as well as household surveys from the Paris (Île-de-France) region between eighties and late nineties, this paper tries to answer this question. The results show how inequalities in transportation and mobility practice have decreased during the period in spite of an increase in income inequalities. We find that the evolution of socio-economic inequality, most specifically income inequality was simply one of the determining factors of the evolution of inequalities in transportation and mobility practice. In fact, the most important role in that evolution is not played by the evolution of income inequality but by the evolution of elasticity between transportation and income. Reducing the effects of this elasticity should be the main target of transport policies to diminish inequality in transportation and mobility practice.

Keywords:  car ownership; income inequality; mobility practice; Paris region; social inequality; transportation; travel budget; travel costs; travel time; trips frequency

Published:   7 June 2016


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/si.v4i3.485


© Joko Purwanto. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.