60% of Israelis currently travel to work in a private car, compared with 31% in 1983, while only 22% use public transport, according to a new study by Haim Bleikh published by the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel.
Focusing on commuting in Israel, the study describes the background and characteristics of the heavy loads on roads and the traffic jams that have become very frequent in recent years. Bleikh writes, "Over the last 30 years, the number of employed persons working outside their residential area has risen from 42% to 54% among Israelis of working age (as of 2016)."
At the same time, the use of private vehicles for traveling to work has increased, and "This expansion is the main cause of the strain on Israel’s road infrastructure; the number of rides has grown faster than road expansion - creating the traffic jams that have become all too familiar."
According to the study, most people in Israel travel short distances to work. Three out of every four workers aged 25-64 travel 20 kilometers or less to reach their workplaces, mostly in private vehicles, as of 2014-2016. In terms of time spent on the roads, 60% of employees reach work within 30 minutes, 30% in 31-60 minutes, and 10% travel over an hour in each direction.
91% of workers in Jerusalem work within the city, 63% in Tel Aviv, about 70% in Haifa and Beer Sheva, 44% in Petah Tikva, and 35% in Rishon Lezion.
The study found gender and sector differences in selecting the mode of transport to work. Men are more likely than women to use a car to get to work, because they work further away from home on the average, and because more men have driving licenses. Women use public transport more, especially in the large cities, where employment options are more varied.
Among the Jewish population, public transport is used extensively by haredim (ultra-Orthodox Jews) and new immigrants, especially among women, in both large and small communities.
In selection of residence with respect to convenience for traveling to work, the study found that workers in Israel prefer commuting to moving. Among Arab women, the study focuses on the area in which 70% of the Arab women are employed: the north and the Triangle (Hadera and the central region). The employment rate among Arab women is a very low 33% in these two regions. In towns in which both Jews and Arabs live, on the other hand, the employment rate among Arab women is around 66%. The study author wrote that one of the barriers to employment is lack of access to transportat to workplaces in the surrounding communities.
"Therefore, to raise the employment rates of Arab Israeli women in general, and of those in the north in particular, incentives for manufacturing industry to develop new employment hubs close to Arab Israeli communities should be considered, as well as improving transportation in these areas," Bleikh writes.
"Commuting should benefit workers because it allows them to live in the right place for them at the right price and to work in a place that suits them,” says Bleikh, “but most commutes to work are over short distances and in private cars. This has created an infrastructure overload, and the overload will only become greater as the population grows, especially if the population continues to converge in the already-crowded central region of the country.”
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on October 24, 2018
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