Transit Deserts: An Analysis of Their Impact On Health and Access to Health Care
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A transit desert is defined as an area with limited transportation supply and or infrastructure, which may limit people’s ability to procure jobs, access health care, and obstructs economic mobility (Junfeng & Dillivan, 2013). The University of Texas Professor Junfeng Jiao first coined the term transit desert in 2012. Transit-dependent communities are immobile, unable to afford private transportation costs such as insurance or gas, and poverty-stricken. Using panel data of 3,974 block groups from 2013 to 2019, we investigate whether there is a relationship between vehicle availability and access to health care. We estimate the relationship between vehicle availability and various health outcome measurements, such as self-reported Unmet Medical Need, Emergency Room Visits by Children in the last 12 Months, and Last Reported Health Care Visit. We found that there is a relationship between vehicle availability and access to health; however, there are other vital factors such as not having insurance or having income below the poverty line, that transcend the effects of vehicle availability.
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