[Excerpt] In the face of a persistently high unemployment rate in the Elm City, the nonprofit organization DataHaven recently released research raising questions about the relationship between public transportation and employment opportunities.
The research drew connections between transportation opportunities and unemployment rates in different neighborhoods within New Haven — ranging from 3 percent in high-income neighborhoods like Westville to as high as 20 percent in low-income neighborhoods such as Dixwell and Newhallville. The study indicated that shortened commutes increase job availability for New Haven residents.
The research has sparked conversation among local leaders surrounding a policy suggestion for improved transportation.
“We want to make sure that the people who are unemployed can get to the jobs that exist,” said Henry Fernandez LAW ’94, CEO of the consulting firm Fernandez Advisors. “If we know that the number of jobs available is going up in the greater New Haven metropolitan area, then we want to make sure that New Haven residents have access to the jobs.”
Spatial mismatch — the distance between workers and their jobs — continues to be a problem for low-income workers, said Deanna Song ’16, a Dwight Hall urban fellow, adding that faster commutes have serious implications for job access.
DataHaven is currently working with South Central Regional Council of Governments and New Haven’s chapter of the NAACP to write a report and form policy recommendations using the data, Mark Abraham ’04 said, the executive director of DataHaven.