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Access = Opportunity

Unreliable transportation limits access to employment and training opportunities for Memphians experiencing poverty. In Memphis, public transit alone will not be able to bridge these transportation gaps, making private transportation solutions essential to creating equitable access to living-wage jobs.

Memphis has a geographic footprint equal to New York City with only 1/12 of the population. In fact, only 1% of Memphis neighborhoods are considered “location efficient,” meaning they are compact, close to jobs and services, and offer a variety of transportation options. The lack of population density makes it challenging and cost-prohibitive for public transit to provide the coverage and frequency needed to solve the transportation gap by itself.

Currently, 3 out of every 4 jobs in Memphis cannot be reached within a 3-hour round trip using public transit options. This challenge is exacerbated for Memphians experiencing poverty. Only about 4,000 Memphians experiencing poverty (3% of the total population experiencing poverty), live near a bus service that runs at least every 15 minutes. As a result, only 2 percent of Memphians take public transit to work.

Unfortunately, most Memphians using public transit lack access to reliable private transportation solutions. Access to private transportation produces direct improvements in income and health. One study found when a family transitions from zero to one vehicle, they experience, on average, an $8,000 increase in annual income. These benefits continue as a family transitions from one to two vehicles, with an additional $6,000 average increase in annual income.

Increased access to private transportation also has measurable health benefits. In addition to greater access to public services, healthcare options, and healthy food options, a study found that patients are more likely to seek preventative care and about 50 percent less likely to miss a medical appointment if they have their own transportation.

Finally, the flexibility of private transportation reduces the stress individuals experience by allowing them to increase their involvement in family activities and elevating their quality of life.

A Global Solution to a Local Problem

Unfortunately, very few private transportation solutions exist in our city. One effective solution, however, is My City Rides, which seeks to provide an affordable and reliable private transportation option using a solution that works around the world, scooters. These 150cc motorized scooters travel main roads like Poplar and Walnut Grove, comfortably with the speed of traffic allowing individuals to own and operate a vehicle for approximately $0.14 per mile, about 75% less than a traditional sedan. For more on the workforce impact of MyCityRides check out the year two results of its Slingshot Impact Study.

Access = Opportunity