Equity in Transportation: What Could It Look Like?

  • Author: Amy Conrick
  • Date: July 22, 2022

This image of “equity” vs “equality” was shared by my CTAA colleague, Marcela Moreno, and originally developed by the Interaction Institute for Social Change.

I read this morning in a Streetsblog article about three programs that are paying attention to how to add “boxes” (see picture above) to raise underserved individuals up the ladder of accessing their community. Here’s an excerpt from that article:

“Pilot programs in Oakland and Bakersfield, California, and in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, are working to address gaps in reliable and affordable transportation options by testing the concept of Universal Basic Mobility (UBM). UBM is an idea based on the broader concept of Universal Basic Services, which asserts that all individuals, regardless of their financial resources, should be able to satisfy foundational needs. Spin, a shared e-scooter and e-bike company, has been heavily involved in these pilots, working with local partners, providing e-scooters and e-bikes, and engaging UC Davis researchers to document lessons learned across the three programs.

Oakland’s UBM pilot is designed to improve transportation options for East Oakland residents whose transit needs have been historically neglected. The City of Oakland Department of Transportation began accepting applications in September 2021 and distributing transit funds in December 2021 to 500 East Oakland residents randomly selected to reflect the geographic and racial and ethnic composition of the region. Participants received up to $300 on a prepaid credit card that could be used to pay for public transit (rail, bus, ferries), car-share, and shared bikes and scooters.

The Bakersfield UBM pilot focuses on providing transit resources to at-risk youth. The pilot, which began in January of 2022 and will run through the end of the year, is a collaboration between Spin and the Kern County Network for Children’s Dream Center, a comprehensive social services resource center for current and former foster youth. The twelve-month pilot is providing 100 participants aged 18 to 24 with up to five free thirty-minute-or-less rides per day on Spin e-scooters or e-bikes.

Pittsburgh’s UBM pilot is the newest of the three and is just getting ready to launch. Similar to the California pilots, it will focus on underserved populations, selecting fifty residents to receive unlimited transit trips, free bike-share and scooter services, and Zipcar credits. This collection of services, known as Move PGH, is designed to work together to support different travel needs, with multi-modal trip planning provided in the transit app. Spin told the City of Pittsburgh: “We hope Move PGH can become a model for how micromobility operators can collaborate with cities and other mobility companies to better serve the public.” Researchers at Carnegie Mellon are evaluating this pilot and will collaborate with the UC Davis research team on an overall evaluation of all three pilots.”

Email us at info@nc4mm.org and let us know how you define transportation equity within your community. We’ll publish your examples in a separate blog post.

We’d love to hear from you!

Have more mobility news that we should be reading and sharing? Let us know! Reach out to Kirby Wilhelm (wilhelm@ctaa.org).

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