Transportation and homelessness: a systematic review [2019]

Transportation disadvantage can negatively impact access to employment and educational opportunities, healthcare, and social services. Cost of transportation, in particular, has been found to prevent individuals’ upward mobility out of homelessness. Given the vulnerability of persons of color and those living below the poverty line and the negative implications of transportation disadvantage, the author undertook the current study to assess the extent to which scholars are analyzing transportation and its impact on adults experiencing homelessness. An exhaustive search yielded 3102 potentially relevant studies. Thirteen of these studies met the inclusion criteria for further analyses. A priori inclusion criteria included studies: (1) published between 1997 and December 2017 in refereed academic journals; (2) published in English; (3) sampling a population of adults who self-identify as currently or formerly homeless; (4) conducted using empirical quantitative or mixed methods (excluding purely qualitative, theoretical and policy analyses), and; (5) which analyzed transportation as a primary variable of interest. Findings of this research demonstrate that transportation is a critical, although under-researched, variable in the lives of individuals experiencing homelessness. Homelessness service providers, therefore, should work to shift the conversation from transportation as a privilege to transportation equity for all.

Erin Roark Murphy
Journal of Social Distress and the Homeless, 20 Feb 2019