Transport in Glasgow and north of England – A significant barrier to employment for many residents living in low-income neighbourhoods

This study looks at the transport issues facing out-of-work residents in six low-income neighbourhoods in the Glasgow City Region and north of England, and how these might be overcome. The summary presents findings and recommendations from the two Scottish case study areas: Port Glasgow (Inverclyde) and Castlemilk (Glasgow). A separate summary details the experiences of residents in the four case areas in England: Tackling transport-related barriers to work in England.

Residents in low-income neighbourhoods are willing to travel to work, but find commuting options constrained by unaffordable or unreliable public transport, especially when combined with the prospect of low-paid or insecure employment.

Key findings

• Transport is a significant barrier to employment for many residents living in low-income
neighbourhoods. Public transport often constrains rather than enables a return to work.
• Transport issues are directly connected to the nature and location of employment. The prospect of poorly paid and insecure work limits the range of areas where individuals look for employment. Moreover, local public transport systems have not accommodated the increasingly dispersed geography of lower-skilled employment.
• There is little evidence that residents have limited ‘spatial horizons’ – this is where localised, cultural outlooks constrain people’s perceptions of viable commutes.
• Proximity to employment in Glasgow city centre does not necessarily increase employment opportunities if the work does not match aspirations, skills or experience. Transport links to job opportunities available elsewhere are poor.
• The lower cost difference between bus and train fares in the Glasgow city region encourages use of both modes, unlike the case study areas in England where more expensive train fares mean residents tend to use bus only.


Coordinated action by the Scottish Government, local authority, including via City Region and Growth Deal partnerships, transport bodies and partner agencies is needed to ensure that:
• ‘Stronger’ models of partnership or bus franchising powers are implemented to improve the availability, reliability and affordability of public transport to make it easier to access employment. This is the aim of the Bus Services Act 2017 in England.
• Planning tools and approaches ensure that new housing and employment developments are well served by public transport that reduces the travel costs, times or distances between places of residence and work.
• Transport and employment policy are better integrated to enable employment support providers to help clients understand travel choices as part of their return to work.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Tackling transport-related barriers to employment in low-income neighbourhoods | JRF


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