Social Equity in Transit: Toward social and environmental justice in transportation

Torrey Lyons, University of Utah


Much of the literature on transit focuses on very fine-grained aspects of the industry, often neglecting the important foundation of why the service is even provided in the first place. Transit service is supported by local governments with aid from larger bodies to provide a more diverse transportation network that serves as many needs of the public as possible. While transit agencies tend to focus on ridership as a measure of performance, this can skip over an important aspect of the agency’s function: providing opportunity to those that have little or no access to other modes of transportation. 

This three paper dissertation explores equity in transportation. First I test the theory that improved transit service affects regional economies by moderating the effect of spatial mismatch on poverty and unemployment. In the second paper I establish a novel method for quantitatively assessing transit agencies’ efficacy in promoting social equity through transit service. Finally, a qualitative study determines transit agency policies and practices which lead to equitable transit systems. 

Photo by jferrer,

Project Details

Project Type:
Project Status:
End Date:
April 10,2019
UTC Grant Cycle:
NITC 16 Dissertation Fellowships 2018
UTC Funding: