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    TitleClass Inequality of Moving: A Preliminary Study of Transportation-Related Lifestyle and the Risk of Traffic Accidents in Taiwan
    Issue No.47
    Publish Date2021-10
    Author NameThung-hong Lin, Keng-ming Hsu, Chun-yin Lee
    AbstractTransportation systems are critical infrastructure for all countries and provide mobility accessible to all. However, some people’s mobility and risks of transportation are more equal than others. In order to explain the inequality in transportation, studies have investigated transport affordability and public transport accessibility for people of different social classes. Yet, there has been little discussion about empirically investigating the relationship between social class and the risk of transportation accidents. In Taiwan, the high mortality rate of traffic accidents, especially involving motorcycles as the major mode of transport, has been publicly criticized for years. Therefore, we investigate the relationship between social classes, modes of transport, and the risks of traffic accidents in Taiwan. Three hypotheses are derived from the international literature and empirically tested with data from the 2019 Taiwan Social Change Survey. First, the social class of Taiwanese shaped their risk of car accidents. The lower classes such as workers and farmers were exposed to and suffered from higher risk of car accidents due to their longer driving time and distance resulting from their occupational and commuting needs. Second, people from lower classes in Taiwan tended to choose motorcycles as the major daily mode of transport because of their affordability; and using a motorcycle increased their risk of suffering from traffic accidents. Third, the lower accessibility of public transport services increased the probability of people using a motorcycle, and using a motorcycle increased the risk.For the sake of concentrating on this issue, we participated in the design of the 2019 Taiwan Social Change Survey (TSCS Round 7, Year 5): Technology and Risk Society. The questionnaire asked the major mode of transport and the frequency of car accidents the respondents had experienced during the last two decades. We merge two levels of data to break through the methodological limitations of the survey. The first level is the sampled data of socioeconomic status and traffic behavior in the TSCS. The second level measuring the accessibility of public transport services is the overall traffic development information, such as the densities of mass transport stations including railways, subways and buses of the township. From Poisson regression results, it can be seen that class inequality significantly affected an individual’s choice of whether to adopt mass transit, a motorcycle, or a car as their primary mode of transport in their daily lives. Motorcycles were the main form of transportation (53%) in Taiwan. What is more, the results indicated that employers tended to drive cars; unskilled workers, self-employed individuals (including farmers), and unemployed individuals tended to ride motorcycles; and individuals who are not in the workforce tended to walk or use mass transit. In addition, the motorcyclists were significantly more prone to accidents than respondents driving cars or taking mass transit. In fact, respondents living in an area of higher density with mass rapid transit (MRT) stations tended to use the MRT and had a lower likelihood of using motorcycles; and these respondents had a lower risk of car accidents. Most important of all, the research findings may serve as a guide for transport policymakers; that is, the risk of car accidents in Taiwan could be reduced by building MRT stations and by reducing class inequalities vis-à-vis moving, the urban–rural transport gap, and motorcycle ridership.
    Keywordsclass inequality, transport disadvantage, public transport accessibility, transport affordability, traffic accident
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