Lindsay Martin Oluyede is a doctoral candidate at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill specializing in transportation decision-making. Specifically, she became interested in transportation equity and inclusive transportation decision-making while working at the consulting firm ICF after completing a master’s degree in urban and regional planning at Virginia Tech.
“While at ICF, my projects centered on creating resources and online tools for transportation practitioners related to integrating health into transportation planning, environmental justice, and collaborative decision-making,” Oluyede said.
Oluyede has continued to focus on this area through her work on a STRIDE-funded project titled Emerging Mobility Services for the Transportation Disadvantaged (Project C3). She is working on this project with Dr. Noreen McDonald, professor and chair of the Department of Urban Planning at UNC-Chapel Hill. Her role in this project involves understanding transportation barriers to accessing healthcare and identifying innovative solutions for addressing these barriers in the state of North Carolina. She is doing this by talking to care coordinators—such as social workers, nurses, and other professionals—who help address health-related social needs, including transportation.
“We’re interested in their perspectives on before and now during COVID-19 and are particularly curious about the role that telehealth and emerging mobility services are playing in the pandemic,” Oluyede said. “Specifically, my role has included developing the interview protocol, recruiting interview participants, conducting interviews, cleaning and coding transcripts, and analyzing the data.”
Initial analysis of these interviews found that the COVID-19 pandemic has both exacerbated existing transportation barriers to accessing healthcare and created now ones, especially for vulnerable populations. For example, residents in rural areas with a dearth of healthcare providers and fewer transportation options. The data also indicate the expanded role of telehealth during the pandemic.
Research on the integration of health into transportation planning and equity has implications for society in general and transportation professionals.
“This research will help to better understand the experiences of individuals facing transportation disadvantage related to accessing healthcare,” Oluyede said. “These care coordinators offer unique insights on this topic, possessing both a breadth and depth of knowledge from working with a range of individuals.”