The Push to Cashless Transit Fare Leaves Some Riders Behind

posted on Thursday, June 10, 2021

Our multi-year study on automated transit fare collection offers a key finding that won't surprise you: Despite the convenience, the rush toward cashless fare systems has created barriers for lower-income riders seeking to use transit. Results from focus groups, surveys, and a review of current transit agency practices suggest that continuing to accept cash is a crucial way to keep transit accessible. However, dealing with cash has drawbacks: it’s time intensive and expensive. Using a detailed cost-benefit model, the researchers explored the costs for agencies to maintain some cash options and found that some simple approaches can be quite effective. The best bang for the buck? Cash collection on board buses.

Launched in 2019, the research project "Applying an Equity Lens to Automated Payment Solutions for Public Transportation" was supported by a Pooled Fund grant program from the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) and conducted at three universities: Portland State University (PSU), the University of Oregon (UO), and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK). The other funding partners were City of Eugene, OR, City of Gresham, OR, Lane Transit District, Clevor Consulting Group, and RTD (Regional Transportation District) Denver....

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The latest report funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities – Transit Impacts on Jobs, People and Real Estate, from the University of Arizona – represents the culmination of nearly a decade of research into the economic effects of transit. To unpack the dense and substantial findings from 17 LRT, 14 BRT, 9 SCT, and 12 CRT systems in 35 metro areas across the United States, we're telling the story in chapters. Last month we focused on how transit impacts the locations of jobs

Now we're taking a deeper dive into volume 3 of the final report: Impact on Where People Live Over Time with Respect to Transit Station Proximity Considering Race/Ethnicity and Household Type and Household Budget by Transit Mode and Place Typology with Implications for Transit and Land Use Planning (PDF).

HOW DOES TRANSIT IMPACT WHERE PEOPLE LIVE?

By the year 2050, America is projected to gain at least 100 million new residents, 40 million new households, and 60 million new jobs. Demographic analysis and consumer preference surveys tell us that at least a third of America’s 150 million households (50+ million) in 2050 will want to live in...

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Jobaidul Alam Boni, or Boni for short, is a Ph.D student currently working as a graduate research & teaching assistant in the department of civil engineering at the University of Texas at Arlington. He also serves as the President of the ITE Student Chapter at UTA. Boni completed his B.Sc in Civil Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology, and his M. Eng in Transportation Engineering from University of Texas at Arlington. His research interests center around human factors and consideration of user behavior in the design, evaluation and innovation of transportation systems.

Connect with Boni on LinkedIn

Tell us about yourself?

I am Jobaidul Alam Boni and I am a Graduate Research Assistant in Transportation Engineering at the University of Texas at Arlington. Originally, I came from a small town named ‘Faridpur’ in Bangladesh and moved to the capital ‘Dhaka’ in 2006. I finished my bachelor’s in science degree from Bangladesh University of Engineering (BUET) in 2014. Then I joined the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) as an Engineer and worked there for three years till 2017. In August 2017 I joined UTA for my Master’s in Engineering program and got my degree in 2019. Later I joined the Ph.D. program at UTA under the supervision of Dr. Kate Hyun and co-supervision of Dr. Stephen P....

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Sadegh Sabouri, a soon-to-be PhD graduate of the University of Utah's Department of City and Metropolitan Planning, will be working at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology this coming fall as a postdoctoral researcher. Sadegh (Sadi for short) has worked on numerous NITC projects with his advisor Reid Ewing, and has presented this work in two NITC webinars: New Travel Demand Modeling for our Evolving Mobility Landscape and Transportation Benefits of Polycentric Urban Form

Follow Sadi: LinkedIn | Twitter

Recent publications include an article in Landscape and Urban Planning, "Exploring the relationship between ride-sourcing services and vehicle ownership;" another in Transportation Research Part D on "...

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We're proud to announce the publication of a new NITC dissertation: "Identifying and Measuring Transportation Challenges for Survivors in Intimate Partner Violence Shelters," by Sarah Leat of the University of Texas at Arlington.

"My dissertation sought to identify environmental factors within the built environment which impact survivors of intimate partner violence residing in domestic violence shelters. The findings indicate that environmental factors within the interior and exterior space as well as the location of the shelter significantly impact the mental health of residents. Particularly, the location of the shelter can impact residents’ mobility. Shelters placed in areas lacking public transportation or resources such as places of employment and health care significantly impact residents’ ability to regain economic independence. Future research is necessary to identify the ideal design and location of domestic violence shelters in order to create healing spaces for survivors of intimate partner violence," Leat said.

Environmental stressors within the built environment can greatly impact health. Environmental stressors, such as noise levels, crowding, and housing quality have been shown to impact physical healing as well as mental health. Although environmental stressors have been examined within healthcare environments, such as hospitals and clinics, very little...

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Last month, Portland State University announced the 2021 awards for faculty and staff excellence for research, graduate mentoring and research administration. The awards are among the university's highest honors. The 2021 Presidential Career Research Award recipient is Jennifer Dill. Dill is a professor in the Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning, Director of the Transportation Research & Education Center at PSU, and Director of the National Institute for Transportation and Communities, a national university transportation center funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

TREC Communications Director Cait McCusker interviewed Dr. Dill last week to learn more about the origin and trajectory of her career in transportation research at PSU.

What led you to choose transportation research as your career?

Growing up in the 1970’s, I was surrounded by environmental issues. It was the time of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, the EPA, Earth Day, pollution, the oil crisis...all of that shaping my view on the world. When I went to undergraduate at UC Davis I knew I wanted to do something related to environmental policy and cities. Cities held a certain fascination for me, and in college I started...

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With the extension of the FAST Act, the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) will be receiving one additional year of funding. NITC's Executive Committee has developed four new funding opportunities that build on the excellent work NITC researchers have accomplished and increase the impact we are having nationally on improving mobility to build stronger communities. With this funding, we aim to increase our efforts in integrating racial equity into transportation education and research. Given that our grant will be ending, these opportunities all emphasize projects that are relatively short in length, rely on existing expertise, and will have specific outputs and outcomes– rather than projects that would be the start of longer-term, multi-phase efforts.

We encourage faculty and researchers to review all of the opportunities available and decide which to pursue. Review the new NITC grant funding opportunities here.

We will host two webinars on May 17 and 25 (11 am to 12 pm PST) to discuss all of the opportunities and answer questions. Recordings will be available afterwards.

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Clare Haley is a Masters of Community and Regional Planning student at the University of Oregon and a 2020 NITC scholar, currently working as a transportation planner for Bohannan Huston Inc. in Albuquerque. She serves as co-present of UO's transportation student group, LiveMove, and is currently researching active transportation street interventions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic with Dr. Marc Schlossberg and Dr. Rebecca Lewis. Her terminal project researches how e-bikes can address the gender gap in cycling. Clare is also the 2021 winner of UO's Sustainability Award for Student Leadership by a graduate student.

LinkedIn


Tell us about yourself?

I'm originally from Idaho and grew up hiking and camping in the Sawtooth mountains and Teton National Park, and my family instilled in me a strong love of the outdoors. I completed my undergraduate degree in International Studies at the University of Idaho (Go Vandals!). I met my wife shortly after graduation, and we have had the opportunity to travel to Colombia, Ecuador, Indonesia, and England together....

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"(Overlooked) Association between Express Bus Station/Stop Proximity and Multifamily Rents with a Surprise about Transit Mode Synergism and Implications for Transit and Land Use Planning" is an April 2021 article in Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, authored by Arthur C. Nelson and Robert Hibberd of the University of Arizona. 

The article (PDF of pre-publication version here) is an offshoot of the researchers' NITC-funded project, Transit Impacts on Jobs, People and Real Estate, which we reported on last month. There are two key findings:

  • Express bus stops have positive influences on multifamily rents up to a mile away, and
  • Shared express bus and light rail transit stops have synergistic, additive effects on multifamily rents up to one mile around them.

The research is the first of its kind and should open new avenues of transit planning and land use policy. Future economic returns to local economies and local government resources may be maximized by increasing development opportunities near...

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Congratulations to Avinash Unnikrishnan of Portland State University's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, for his 2021 promotion from associate professor to full professor!

Avi is a David Wedge Vision Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Maseeh College of Engineering & Computer Science at Portland State University. Dr. Unnikrishnan's research focuses on enhancing system efficiency and resiliency via the development of novel mathematical models based on the application of large-scale optimization, machine learning, data mining, and simulation tools. His work's primary innovation is in the representation of network uncertainty, robustness, user behavior, and complex system interaction in civil infrastructure networks. Dr. Unnikrishnan is the chair of the Transit, Freight, and Logistics Subcommittee (AEP40(1)) of the Transportation Network Modeling Committee of the Transportation Research Board. He is also a member of the Freight and Logistics Committee of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Website | LinkedInPSU Profile | Researcher Profile

With funding from ...

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Ride hailing services (such as Lyft and Uber) are frequently pointed to as a means of filling mobility gaps in a transportation system, especially in areas that are not well-served by transit. How might nonprofit organizations address the mobility needs of their clients through ride hailing (also known as Transportation Network Companies, or TNCs)? Many people who use nonprofit services (e.g. food assistance, social services, health care or educational support) also experience transportation challenges in reaching that service. This is an under-examined area in our new mobility landscape. The latest report funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC), The Impact of Ride Hail Services on the Accessibility of Nonprofit Services, found that TNC use by nonprofits is uneven, and while useful and addressing a need, there are significant costs in price and capacity that make Uber and Lyft impractical. 

Led by Dyana Mason of the University of Oregon (UO), the report shares qualitative interviews with nonprofit service providers and clients discussing TNCs, as well as policy recommendations. She will be sharing this work in an ...

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