Inequalities in the commuting burden: Institutional constraints and job-housing relationships in Tianjin, China

Liu, C., Cao, M., Yang, T., Ma, L., Wu, M., Cheng, L. and Ye, R. 2020. Inequalities in the commuting burden: Institutional constraints and job-housing relationships in Tianjin, China. Research in Transportation Business & Management. Advanced online publication. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rtbm.2020.100545

TitleInequalities in the commuting burden: Institutional constraints and job-housing relationships in Tianjin, China
TypeJournal article
AuthorsLiu, C., Cao, M., Yang, T., Ma, L., Wu, M., Cheng, L. and Ye, R.
Abstract

Encouraging transport equality is vital in order to create a liveable city. However, the burden of commuting has become a key concern in urban areas, particularly in developing countries. Inequalities in the commuting burden are accompanied by inequalities in housing and employment, because these institutions have a significant impact on individuals' choices of accommodation and jobs, thus shaping commuting behaviour and causing imbalances in job-housing relationships. Therefore, this paper aims to analyse the role of employment and housing system constraints in the unequal commuting burden by using Tianjin as a case study. The results of the study show that the effects of institutional factors, such as Hukou and the Danwei system, help to explain imbalances in the job-housing relationship and the unequal commuting burden. Some commuters are employed by Danweis or have Tianjin Hukou, and can, therefore, live in Danwei housing, which means that Danweis provide effective solutions for some people in terms of their accommodation, enabling them to significantly decrease the time they spend commuting. Moreover, our study provides new evidence that institutional barriers constrain the job-housing balance in the case of high-skilled immigrants, while local residents and low-skilled immigrants can avoid institutional barriers by returning to Danwei housing and choosing to live in informal housing. In terms of suggesting measures for improving commuting inequalities, commuters generally wanted to eliminate the housing benefits resulting from the legacy of the Danwei system and for equal housing subsidies to be implemented. At the same time, they appealed for improvements to be made in terms of housing benefits, the quality of public transport and mixed housing-workplace planning. This study finds that institutional discrimination causes social inequalities in relation to the commuting burden, which could continue to worsen unless the influence of institutional factors is eliminated. The findings could be used to assist planners and decision makers in developing effective strategies to promote sustainable urban development.

KeywordsTransport inequality
Transport policy and governance
Institutional constraints
Commuting burden
Job-housing relationship
Tianjin
JournalResearch in Transportation Business & Management
ISSN2210-5395
Year2020
PublisherElsevier
Accepted author manuscript
License
CC BY 4.0
File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rtbm.2020.100545
Web address (URL)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2210539520300638
Publication dates
Published online27 Aug 2020

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