Chapter 1: Introduction to the Problem

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Welfare reform legislation, enacted in 1996, requires welfare recipients to work as a condition of receiving public assistance. One of the most significant barriers to finding and maintaining employment is lack of transportation. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has prepared this report to advance the development of transportation services for recipients, and former recipients of public assistance, particularly to access jobs and job-related services.

Although this guide presents an effective step-by-step approach to the planning and implementation of job access transportation services, it is not the only method. Several community transportation programs are illustrated.

Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), as the regional umbrella for transportation planning and other services, can improve coordination among local public and private agencies developing regional approaches to welfare to work transportation.

For purposes of this study, the "target population" of job access transportation has been defined as follows:

  • Individuals participating in Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) programs or subsidized employment programs.
  • Individuals participating in other public assistance programs, such as medical assistance and access to jobs.
  • Low-income individuals at risk of needing public assistance.

Based on data availability and the desired results, it is the responsibility of localities, regions and states to refine the "target population" and the programs to implement.

This introductory chapter is a prelude to the issues surrounding welfare reform and job access planning. Subsequent chapters are as follows:

  • Chapter II - Provides an overview of job access planning.
  • Chapter III - Identifies stakeholders and their roles in the planning process.
  • Chapter IV - Identifies information needs and potential sources of data.
  • Chapter V - Describes the analysis process to identify unmet transportation needs.
  • Chapter VI - Provides potential transportation solutions and funding sources.
  • Appendix A - Provides an overview of welfare reform.
  • Appendix B - Describes one approach to creating and conducting a cost/benefit analysis.

Final Report
May 2001

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