Wednesday, January 3, 2018

On my way to Washington DC

I'm flying to DC in the next few days. Thanks to the Lee Schipper Memorial Scholarship I was awarded in 2017, I am going to present part of my doctoral research at both the TRB annual meeting and Transforming Transportation. In both occasions, I will be presenting an in-progress version of the 3rd paper of my thesis, which you can read below. In case you're in DC next week and would like to grab a  coffee or beer, drop me line or a tweet.

Pereira, R. H. M., Banister, D., Schwanen, T., & Wessel, N. (2017). Distributional effects of transport policies on inequalities in access to opportunities in Rio de Janeiro. SocArXiv. doi:10.17605/OSF.IO/CGHX2. Available at

The evaluation of the social impacts of transport policies is attracting growing attention in recent years. Yet, this literature is still predominately focused on developed countries. The goal of this research is to investigate how investments in public transport networks can reshape social and geographical inequalities in access to opportunities in a developing country, using the city of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) as a case study. Recent mega-events, including the 2014 Football World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games, have triggered substantial investment in the city’s transport system. More recently, though, bus services in Rio have been rationalized and reduced as a response to a fiscal crisis and a drop in passenger demand, giving a unique opportunity to look at the distributional effects this cycle of investment and disinvestment have had on peoples’ access to educational and employment opportunities. Based on a before-and-after comparison of Rio’s public transport network, this study uses a spatial regression model and cluster analysis to estimate how accessibility gains vary across different income groups and areas of the city between April 2014 and March 2017. The results show that recent cuts in service levels have offset the potential benefits of newly added public transport infrastructure in Rio. Average access by public transport to jobs and public high-schools decreased approximately 4% and 6% in the period, respectively. Nonetheless, wealthier areas had on average small but statistically significant higher gains in access to schools and job opportunities than poorer areas. These findings suggest that, contrary to the official discourses of transport legacy, recent transport policies in Rio have exacerbated rather than reduced socio-spatial inequalities in access to opportunities.

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