CRESR Seminar - Policy Forum: Tackling the transport-related barriers to employment faced by low income groups

Start date: 
Wed, 15/01/2020
Closing date: 
Wed, 15/01/2020
Sheffield Hallam University, City Campus, Cantor Building, Room 9135
Event contact: 
Emma Smith (Tel: 0114 225 3073)

3.30-5.00 pm


  • Richard Crisp and Ed Ferrari, Sheffield Hallam University
  • Jeroen Bastiaanssen, University of Leeds
  • Rod Fawcett, Transport for Greater Manchester

Abstracts & Biographies

Richard Crisp, Sheffield Hallam University


Richard Crisp is a Reader at the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR) at Sheffield Hallam University. He specialises in research on poverty, worklessness, social and spatial inequality and inclusive growth and has led projects for a range of organisations, including central government departments, local authorities and, research charities.

Ed Ferrari, Sheffield Hallam University


Ed Ferrari is Director of CRESR and was a member of the research team undertaking the Transport Barriers work for JRF. Ed's research interests are in housing markets, strategic spatial planning and transport. He has expertise in the use of spatial analysis of secondary datasets.

AbstractTackling transport-related barriers to work in low income neighbourhoods

Transport is often identified as key barrier to work but limited qualitative research has been undertaken to understand precisely how transport can constrain access to employment. This paper draws on interviews with 80 low income residents in six neighbourhoods across three city regions (Greater Manchester, Leeds City Region and Glasgow City Region) to understand how transport impacts on workless residents’ ability to look for and secure paid work. These interviews used ‘travel time maps’ showing transport costs and journey times from neighbourhood of residence to explore commuting options.
The research found that, all too often, public transport systems constrained rather than enabled access to employment due to perceived issues around limited availability, poor reliability, high costs, and safety and comfort. These transport-related barriers were often shaped and exacerbated by a wider range of factors including the casualization of the labour market; growing conditionality in the welfare benefits system; the spatial decentralisation of low wage employment; and the peripheralisation of social housing. These processes interact with household and individual level circumstances such as poor physical and mental health, caring and parenting commitments and low incomes to circumscribe capacity to commute. The paper concludes with some reflections on how policymakers may reduce transport-related barriers to work.

Jeroen Bastiaanssen, University of Leeds


Jeroen Bastiaanssen is a PhD-Student at the Institute for Transport Studies (ITS), based at the University of Leeds. In 2016 Jeroen was awarded a LARS-scholarship by the University of Leeds, where he started his PhD-research on the relationship between transport and employment outcomes in a comparative study of Great Britain and the Netherlands with prof. Karen Lucas, a world-leading expert in the area of transport-related social exclusion. The empirical findings in this research are important in that they support recent studies, implying that job seekers may benefit from public policies targeted at improving public transport accessibility, in particular in in areas with low access to employment opportunities. The findings of his research are used to inform public transport policies in West Yorkshire and the Rotterdam The Hague Metropolitan area, through close collaboration with the local transport authorities.

Abstract: Does better job accessibility help people to gain a job? The role of people transport in Great Britain

The combined decentralisation of employment and increasing concentration of traditional public transport services in the main corridors of urban centres has made it more difficult for people to access jobs, in particular when residing outside these prime accessibility areas. This is the first national study within the context of Great Britain to examine whether better public transport job accessibility, modelled at the micro-level of individuals, improves employment probabilities for individuals living in Great Britain. The study finds that better public transport job accessibility improves individual employment probabilities, in particular in metropolitan areas and smaller cities and towns with low car ownership rates and in low-income neighbourhoods. It further shows that mainly lower educated groups and young people would benefit most from better public transport job accessibility. The findings in this study are important for policymakers in that they imply that in particular job seekers who rely on public transport services may benefit from more targeted public policies to improve their accessibility to employment and thereby their social mobility.

Rod Fawcett, Transport Greater Manchester 

Rod Fawcett is Head of Policy at Transport for Greater Manchester. In his presentation he will speak about the approach Greater Manchester has adopted to transport strategy and policy in order to achieve its economic, social and environmental objectives in the context of devolution. He will also reflect on the research presented in the first two presentations.

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