Cars drive on a highway as a train enters a station in Tel Aviv, Israel November 25, 2018.
(photo credit: CORINNA KERN/REUTERS)
For the majority of Israelis, the number of places of employment accessible by public transportation is less than half of those accessible via private vehicles, according to research published by the Bank of Israel on Monday.
According to the paper written by Dr. Tanya Suhoy and Yotam Sofer of the central bank’s research department, employment opportunities accessible to some 60% of working Israelis are more than double than those available via public transportation.
In some areas, where approximately 15% of workers reside, employment options accessible to those with private vehicles can be five or more times greater than those relying on public transport.
As expected, relative accessibility declines as distance from the metropolitan core increases. Limited accessibility is especially severe in the case of peripheral Arab localities, the report showed, due to especially limited transportation services in towns often characterized by complex topography.
It was also found, however, that employers in Arab localities are behind extensive shuttle transportation services for employees, indicating the potential for public transportation to deal with challenging urban planning.
While a solution for some may be to purchase a private vehicle to significantly increase employment opportunities, the research showed a correlation between lower income and socioeconomic status of individuals and greater use of buses and organized shuttle transportation. No such correlation was found between socioeconomic status and extensive train use.
The researchers also discovered that when employees have convenient access to train services, both in proximity to home and employment, the use of private vehicles for commuting purposes declines from 82% to 68%.
Other factors impacting private-public transportation choices included the prevalence of information services for public transport options and employee eligibility for car maintenance benefits offered by employers.
Last week, a Bank of Israel research paper revealed that policy measures regarding private vehicle travel in Israel, including reduced taxes on new car purchases since 2005, have directly contributed to increased congestion on Israel’s roads.
Today, new private cars are subject to an average purchase tax of approximately 60%. In the early 2000s, the average tax exceeded 80%. Over the same period, the government has only moderately increased taxes on variable expenses, such as excise taxes on fuel, at a lower rate than the increase in household incomes, leading to increased demand for private vehicles.
In order to reduce the constant growth of private vehicle use, researcher Dr. Yoav Friedmann concluded, the government should implement a policy that raises the cost of private vehicle travel, primarily during peak times, and reduces the cost of public transportation. Furthermore, the government should align the growth rate of road infrastructure supply with the growth rate of vehicle demand.
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