Low Income Residents & Communities of Concern

Figure 1. The Location of “Communities of Concern” and Low-Income Residents in the Bay Area.

Three Communities of Concern - West Oakland, East Palo Alto and East San Jose - provide insight on how transit frequency impacts the ability of low-income workers to take transit to work. All these communities have a higher ratio of workers with a high school diploma or less (47% to 66%) compared to the Bay Area average (28%) (see Table 1). Thus, the need for quality jobs and access to job training is vital. Local households are more likely to have higher transportation costs than the average Bay Area family. However, despite the burden of these higher transportation costs and the number of jobs located near the three communities, many of the low-income workers living in these three areas own cars and drive to get to their jobs.

West Oakland is the outlier of these three communities, with a higher share of workers who take transit and a higher share of households who do not own a car. West Oakland has more frequent transit service and is more central to job centers connected by that transit service. These characteristics may allow more residents to take transit to work than in East Palo Alto and East San Jose. West Oakland workers are more than four times as likely to take transit to work as those in East Palo Alto and San Jose. Less than half of West Oakland residents drive to work.

Table 1. Transportation and Workforce Dynamics in Select Communities of Concern
  Residents with
High School Diploma or less
with No Cars
Jobs within
5 Miles
Residents who Drive Alone Residents who Take Transit
East San Jose66%$14,6008%375,24373%5%
East Palo Alto59%$14,25010%290,53168%5%
West Oakland47%$11,50029%664,53349%22%
Bay Area28%$10,2199%68%10%
Source: American Community Survey 2006-2010, LED 2010