Economic Mobility for Donated Cars

Access to Jobs

Transportation, job access, and income go hand-in-hand. In order for families to gain employment, arrive at work on time, and be available for extra shifts (which translates into greater income), they need reliable transportation that provides access to suitable jobs.

Unfortunately, many families in low-income neighborhoods are at a disadvantage because public transit allows them to reach only a fraction of the jobs for which they qualify.  Here’s a look at how this plays out in some of the areas that Vehicles For Change serves*:

Baltimore Metro

In the Baltimore metro area, there are more than 80,000 low-income families without a car.

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  • In Baltimore neighborhoods where VFC families typically live, public transit allows them to reach 54 percent of all jobs in the metro area within 90-minutes.
  • However, more than half of those reachable jobs are high skill jobs, for which low-income residents don’t qualify.
  • The low- and middle- skill jobs they can reach by public transit comprise just 25 percent of metro area jobs.
D.C. Metro Area

In the D.C. Metro Area, there are more than 133,500 low-income families without a car.

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  • In Washington neighborhoods where VFC families typically live, public transit allows them to reach 46 percent of all jobs in the metro area with 90-minutes.
  • More than 65 percent of those reachable jobs are high-skill positions.
  • The low- and middle- skill jobs they can reach by public transit comprise just 16 percent of metro area jobs.

For most of us, cars remain both the fastest and most reliable way to get around. Unfortunately, families that are unable to access suitable jobs via public transportation are also unable to purchase a car on their own. Car-assistance programs such as Vehicles for Change are crucial to helping low-income families achieve financial independence.

*Source: The Brookings Institute “Missed Opportunity: Transit and Jobs in Metro.”

Access to Healthy Living & Stronger Families

For many families, car ownership impacts more than their finances. With a car, parents are able to take their children to school, day care, and doctor’s appointments. Their children have the opportunity to participate in tutoring, athletics and after-school events – all activities that are difficult to reach without a car. A 2011 survey of VFC recipients, who had their car for at least 12 months, revealed:

  • 100 percent are taking their children to after-school activities
  • 87 percent are taking their children to athletic activities
  • 81 percent are taking their children to art- and music-related opportunities
  • 75 percent are taking their children to daycare

Car ownership also helps families take better care of their health. Without a car, many families are unable to access primary care physicians or urgent care centers, so they rely on emergency medical transportation and emergency rooms for simple illnesses. Routine procedures such as checkups and immunizations are more attainable when families own a vehicle. Read more on how cars can lead to happier, healthier families. Learn more about the impact of car ownership from VFC families.

Read more research on the impact of transportation.

View news articles on transportation and low-income families.