Most transportation research in the United States uses cross-sectional, “snapshot” data to understand levels of car access. Might this cross-sectional approach mask considerable variation over time and within households? We use a panel dataset, the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), for the years 1999–2011 to test this question. We find that for most families, being “carless” is a temporary condition. While 13 % of families in the US are carless in any given year, only 5 % of families are carless for all seven waves of data we examine in the PSID. We also find that poor families, immigrants, and people of color (particularly, blacks) are considerably more likely to transition into and out car ownership frequently and are less likely to have a car in any survey year than are non-poor families, the US-born, and whites.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Civil and Structural Engineering
- Car ownership
- Panel data