Monday, March 16, 2009

Service Levels & Income

How about this cliche fest. The Examiner writes about how San Franciscans are tougher than the rest of the bay area when it comes to walking to transit through high crime areas. But in reading it, some of the writing made me skeptical that this was a real study or whether people didn't just take stereotypes into the paper:
In places like Oakland, Berkeley and Sunnyvale, the high-crime neighborhoods tend to scare people away from using nearby transit services, the study found. Folks had a tendency to walk less in those neighborhoods, choosing to drive instead, according to a new study from the Mineta Transportation Institute.
“In [San Francisco] neighborhoods where there was more crime, people were most likely to use transit,” said Dr. Christopher Ferrell, one of the study’s principal authors.
He added that The City’s transit services tend to be located in high-density areas, which invariably attract crime.
As expected, those who chose to live in suburban areas were more inclined to avoid walking in high-crime areas and using transit hubs within those areas. But even in a dense urban city such as Oakland, folks had a propensity to avoid public-transit hubs in high-crime neighborhoods.
Seems to me that this has nothing to do with crime but rather to do with transit service levels & income levels & self selection. What am I missing?


eddo said...

Jesus Christ. That article hurts me. Also, while Oakland is dense, it doesn't quite have the job density that San Francisco does, and people in the Bay Area are most likely to use public transit to commute to/from work.

Anyways, it's quite astonishing how it can state the obvious facts, yet come to completely different conclusions. Correlation doesn't necessarily mean causation.

Caro said...

"high-density areas, which invariably attract crime."

Huh? I'm no expert, but while high-density areas certainly sometimes have crime, it seems to me that well-designed high-density areas with a lot of foot traffic and "eyes on the street" are in fact much safer. Living in DC, I feel much more comfortable walking to a Metro station in a higher density area than one with very few people around.

Dustin said...

I think it has less to do with transit, density, crime, or anything and more to do with the fact that The Examiner is a rag that isn't worth the paper and ink required to print it.

Sorry to be so snarky, but The Examiner -- at least its D.C. edition -- really gets on my nerves, especially when it comes to how it rails against transit.

But, on a positive note, I guess it's good to have different points of view? Maybe???