Do Public Transit and Agglomeration Economies Collectively Enhance Low-skilled Job Accessibility in Portland, OR?

The spatial mismatch hypothesis states that the decentralization of jobs undermines socially disadvantaged group’s job accessibility. One potential solution is the promotion of transit-induced agglomeration economies which could enhance job accessibility for low-wage or low-skilled workers by centralizing jobs to urban areas with relatively high-density surrounding transit stations. However, the gentrification through Transit-Oriented Development could limit jobs available to the underrepresented workers in the urban central area. In this case, agglomeration may not help these workers have better access to matching jobs. To unravel these relationships, this research investigates the effect of transit-induced agglomeration on gravity-based job accessibility by transit in Portland, OR. Furthermore, this study compares the agglomeration impact on low-skilled job accessibility to the overall job accessibility. Effective density is proxy for transit-induced agglomeration economies in the analysis. The relationship is estimated with spatial econometric models to evaluate the direct effect as well as the spillover effect of agglomeration. Overall, transit-induced agglomeration brings a positive effect on job accessibility. However, agglomeration economies of one location reduces the job accessibility of their neighbors, implying that concentrating economic activities beyond a certain spatial scale may absorb job opportunities from the neighboring areas. Standardized regression results suggest that the agglomeration effect on job accessibility is weaker for low-skilled workers than all workers, calling for decision-makers’ attention to the importance of “redistributing” the agglomeration effect through progressive land use and transportation policy efforts for underrepresented workers.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; Maps; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 20p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01764154
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: TRBAM-21-01727
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Dec 23 2020 11:21AM