Research demonstrates that marginalized populations experience significant barriers in accessing transit. The Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) and the Homelessness Research & Action Collaborative (HRAC) at Portland State University are working with the University of Utah in a project funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) to understand how people from selected historically marginalized communities experience discrimination and harassment on transit and in public areas such as sidewalks, bus stops, and transit platforms when accessing transit.

The study will be conducted in two sites: Portland, Oregon and Salt Lake City, Utah. In Portland, the study population will include racially and ethnically diverse people experiencing homelessness and people who identify as transgender and gender nonconforming; and ride TriMet. In Salt Lake City, the study population will include people experiencing homelessness as well as diverse groups based on their gender, racial, and ethnic identity; who ride Utah Transit Authority. We are seeking transit riders to help inform the study through photos and interviews. Participants will be compensated up to $50 for their labor. The researchers will be recruiting participants for this study through the end of August. 

PARTICIPATION INVOLVES:

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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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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; now an assistant professor of social work at the University of Memphis.

"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...

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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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Courtney Crosson and UA architecture students facilitate a mapping activity to identify current flooding challenges at a neighborhood meeting.
Photo by Eugene Lee
Courtney Crosson, University of Arizona

Short-term flooding from extreme storm events poses a serious transportation challenge in U.S. cities. This problem—which is anticipated to grow over the next century with our global climate crisis—is often hardest on vulnerable populations, including low-income and minority neighborhoods. The latest report from the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC), led by Courtney Crosson of University of Arizona (UA), advances national research methods for assessing flood vulnerability and prioritizing transportation improvement investments to ensure that no community is left stranded when the next flood occurs.

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View of North MLK Boulevard in Portland, Oregon with a pedestrian crossing near a mural.
MLK Boulevard in Portland, OR. Photo by Cait McCusker
Steven Howland, Portland State University

The historically Black district of Albina in Portland, Oregon, due to racist real estate practices, faced multiple displacement events between 1960 and 1990 with the construction of Interstate 5 through the heart of the neighborhood as well as wholesale destruction of hundreds of homes to make room for the Memorial Coliseum and various other urban renewal projects. Gentrification in Portland saw a mass displacement of Black households from Albina, largely to East Portland, a suburban area that was unincorporated...

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Paper Bike Share Equity Briefs Arranged on a Table
John MacArthurNathan McNeil and Joseph Broach, Portland State University

Last year, Portland State University’s Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) released a 130 page evaluation comparing equity-oriented programs from over 70 U.S. bike share systems across the U.S. Bike share being a relative newcomer to the transportation system, the research team was not surprised to find that approaches to equity programs ranged widely. In the latest installment, funded by the Better...

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Image by Luije/iStock

Authored by Aaron Golub Director and Associate Professor, Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University. Join Aaron and John MacArthur on May 22nd for a PSU Friday Transportation Seminar sharing early results from the research presented here.

With many transit agencies across the country1 eliminating cash handling at ticket counters and on-board vehicles for obvious health and virus transmission reasons, one may wonder: who will be negatively impacted by this? 

Some riders can still use cash at ticket vending machines or at certain retail outlets, but for many, depending on where they live and which parts of the transit system they ride, this will be inconvenient. National data2 show clear disparities3 in access to alternatives to cash (credit and debit accounts) as well as the other tools needed to pay for things electronically (smartphones, cell data plans and internet at...

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An older woman helps an older man out of a car into a wheelchair
Photo by kali9
Vivian J. Miller, University of Texas at Arlington

Older adults who live in nursing homes are at an increased risk for depression and anxiety, and research has shown that social...

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