, Professor, Metropolitan Design Center
Andrew Owen, Lead Researcher, Acc. Obsv., Center for Transportation Studies
This project involved two parts: in the first part, the Accessibility Observatory at the Center for Transportation Studies applied demographic datasets, the testing of pre-defined variables, and the modeling of GIS spatial analysis to consider disparities along proposed arterial transitway corridor lines in Hennepin, Ramsey, and Washington counties (Gold, Rush, D, and E BRT lines). In the second part, the Minnesota Design Center in the College of Design engaged communities to help map key destinations and assess the qualitative aspects of first- and last-mile travel to and from transit stations to ensure the creation of the best possible experience for transit users. The needs of underrepresented groups and people of color, who face barriers to accessing necessities and getting to specific places, were a particular focus of this work. Researchers made specific recommendations for various station areas and develop a mixed-methods, quantitative, and qualitative toolkit that the transportation planning community can use in work going forward. This project sought to expand the understanding of equity in accessibility research by providing qualitative research questions that focused on why and how people make choices in relation to transportation systems.