Our current examples of transportation needs assessments focus on existing and established travel behaviors to predict the needs of a community, but there are populations that face additional burdens that are not captured outside of surveys and data collection efforts in academia. The goal of this research is to identify the best practices to collect data on the unmet travel needs of a neighborhood, particularly for disadvantaged populations. This project is a mixed-methods approach involving a literature review, open-ended interviews with academics and professionals with survey experience, and focus groups with community members in Downtown Huntington Park. This study finds that the ideal approach for collecting information on the travel needs of a neighborhood combines the benefits of active and passive data collection using smartphone-based surveys and thorough outreach to ensure that the survey instrument works for underrepresented populations. The current efforts to study the travel needs of disadvantaged populations in studies occur at a smaller scale, but with a focused effort in relationship building and community context. There are quality resources, examples, and guides for community needs assessments that can serve as a template for agencies seeking to explore the needs of their communities, such as the Mobility Equity Framework and the University of Kansas Community Tool Box. Community members in Downtown Huntington Park conveyed a willingness to participate in a smartphone-based travel survey, expressed their car-dependent nature, and provided valuable feedback on how outreach could be conducted in their neighborhood.
In 2015, Los Angeles launched the citywide Vision Zero initiative to achieve a 20% reduction in traffic fatalities within two years. However, even with the lack of implementation, the “Enforcement” arm of Vision Zero has brought up concerns about racial profiling and police violence (Abonour, 2018). As an alternative, People for Mobility Justice (PMJ), an organization focused on addressing the transportation needs of communities of color, created the five D’s: Decolonize, Decongest, Decriminalize, Dignify and Dream. According to PMJ, mobility justice highlights how individuals face different challenges in transportation because each person is socially controlled in public spaces in distinct ways. This project supported PMJ in refining its concept of mobility justice for its Mobility Justice Certification Program. The researcher examined the 5 D’s as identified by PMJ and operationalized these constructs by looking at key studies, conceptual frames, and community-based work on mobility justice. Ultimately, the study sought to address the following question: How are mobility justice concerns encompassed within the 5 D’s?
Thirty years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, people with disabilities still face significant barriers to transportation access. Nearly one-third of disabled people describe inadequate transportation as a problem in their lives, and many major transportation systems have large accessibility gaps. In the San Francisco Bay Area, home to Silicon Valley and the 2010s tech boom, new mobility services are particularly widespread. TNCs, for example, make up approximately 25% of peak-hour traffic in Downtown San Francisco. San Francisco also has a well-established bike-share system and was among the first cities in the country to see hundreds of scooters on its streets and sidewalks. In light of the prevalence of these services and the significant transportation needs of the disability community, this project examines perceptions of new mobility among disabled people in San Francisco and makes recommendations for improving transportation access for people with disabilities.
In Los Angeles County, buses carry 70% of LA Metro customers. Traffic congestion greatly affects the efficiency and reliability of Metro’s bus system, which has resulted in a 12.5% drop in average speeds over the last 25 years. As a solution, transit agencies have begun implementing mixed-use bus lanes, or curbside bus lanes that operate in the same right of way as general traffic, and give buses the opportunity to bypass traffic, which can improve service reliability and travel speeds. In LA County, there are 27 miles of mixed-use bus lanes; however, these lanes are largely passively enforced through roadway striping and signage. As a result, most of the lanes in LA County have high vehicle intrusion rates. A particularly notorious location for vehicle intrusion is a mixed-use bus lane on Wilshire Boulevard, which was fully installed in 2015 and is not actively enforced by police or parking officials. A preliminary study of Wilshire Boulevard found that lane intrusions occur at a rate of one every four minutes during the bus lane operating hours. By comparison, LA Metro, in partnership with the LA Department of Transportation, piloted a bus lane in 2019 in Downtown Los Angeles on Flower Street that received dedicated police enforcement. The pilot was largely successful due to this enforcement; it sets a possible model for how bus lanes in Los Angeles could be managed in order to maximize potential time savings, increase operational efficiency, and reduce vehicle-to-vehicle conflicts. This project set out to compare these two bus lanes and suggest future steps LA Metro can take to ensure effective bus-lane enforcement.
A ride-hailing service specifically designed for children, HopSkipDrive operates in eight states and has transported more than 1 million children for over 7 million miles. Several school districts in Los Angeles County and the county’s Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) have entered into contracts with HopSkipDrive to provide recurring school trip service to these vulnerable student populations. During the 2018–19 academic year, HopSkipDrive provided 26,706 such trips to LA schools. The researcher analyzed HopSkipDrive’s trip data for morning trips to high school in Los Angeles County for the 2018–19 academic year to answer three questions:
How do trips on HopSkipDrive compare to overall trips to school in California?
What are the characteristics of neighborhoods where these trips begin?
How do the travel times of trips to school on HopSkipDrive compare to analogous trips on public transit?