It’s All About Location, Location, Location

It’s All About Location, Location, Location

How important is access to public transportation in corporate location decisions?

According to this article, access to public transportation is now a major factor as large corporations, including Amazon, McDonalds, and Caterpillar, attempt to attract and retain employees in a tight labor market.

It is especially a factor for Millennials, who have multiple job prospects and often prefer not to own a car — or cannot afford one.


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This post is based on the NPR article, ‘Talent Wants Transit’: Companies Near Transportation Gaining the Upper Hand, by D. Schaper, November 29, 2018. Image source: egdigital/Getty Images.

Discussion Questions:

1. Why do businesses prefer locations with easy access to public transportation? Is it true for all types of businesses?

Guidance: The article identifies the primary reason as attracting and retaining employees. It is important for businesses to have easy access to their markets as well. This is why the service sector typically enjoys strong economic activity in city areas with public transportation stations and stops.

As an added bonus, large cities with extensive public transportation options often have access to major airports and highways, rail, and sometimes, sea/river to facilitate the transport of goods. In other words, large cities are attractive to both manufacturing and service organizations. Some students may discuss other factors to attract employees: pay, quality of life, cost of living, etc.

2. What advantages does public transportation offer to employees and communities?

Guidance: Some advantages for employees include: increased mobility and job access to those who cannot afford a car; eliminated costs (purchase, maintenance, insurance, parking, gasoline, etc.) of buying a second or even primary vehicle; long and frustrating commutes are avoided, which frees up time; increased safety (fewer accidents); more physical activity (walking, riding bike from/to metro station); and improved social connections.

Some advantages for communities include: a spur to job growth; decreased air pollution; reduced traffic congestion; reduced traffic noise; increased tourist visits and stays.

3. What threats does public transportation face?

Guidance: There are a number, including aging infrastructure, lack of public funds for repairs and maintenance, lack of public funds to attract and train a skilled workforce, poor transit management resulting in delays at transfer points, insufficient capacity leading to crowding, inaccurate real-time information, and capacity adjustments at peak and off-peak times.

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