Changing Access to Public Transportation and the Potential for Increased Travel

Kari Watkins
Dr. Kari Watkins, Georgia Tech

Research Team

Kari Watkins, Georgia Institute of Technology
Noreen McDonald, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Eleni Bardaka, North Carolina State University
Ruth Steiner, University of Florida
Ilir Bejleri, University of Florida

UTC Project Info

Project Description

With nationwide declines in public transportation ridership, transit may be falling behind in its ability to help cities deal with congestion. Increasing real-estate values are causing the economic displacement of low-income populations, those most closely associated with transit ridership. A plethora of new mobility options are providing alternatives for transit riders who can afford them and even for those who require subsidy. But how will access to transit, ridership, and congestion be impacted by these shifts in demographics and the introduction of new mobility services? This project includes researchers from four universities in the STRIDE partnership that together will address access to public transportation issues with specific contributions in suburbanization of poverty, Transportation Network Companies, healthcare access, and vulnerable populations.

In thrust 1, the team will assess the impacts of low-income individuals and families moving to the periphery of communities, i.e. the suburbanization of poverty, on public transit. In addition, this thrust will provide a detailed analysis of sociodemographic and accessibility changes over time. In thrust 2, the study team develop a novel approach to understand how TNCs, levels of transit service, and demographics impact transit ridership on a highly specific spatial and temporal scale. In thrust 3, the study team will develop a better understanding of the interactions between public transit and TNC providers. In thrust 4, the study team will document the rapid evolution of paratransit services available to access healthcare. Although the research in all four thrusts focuses on specific areas of the southeast US, the results will be applicable nationally to aid transit and regional planning agencies.