Improving Transportation Equity for all by Centering the Needs of Marginalized and Underserved Communities

Principal Investigator(s):

Yingling Fan, Associate Dean for Faculty, Humphrey School of Public Affairs


Project summary:

Transportation systems, as integral parts of human settlements, reflect the societal structures and cultural ideologies influenced predominantly by the dominant race or class. In the absence of prioritizing the transportation needs of underserved communities, transportation systems may perpetuate systematic inequities. This project aimed to address the inequities present in current transportation systems by conducting a comprehensive examination of the transportation experiences of individuals belonging to ten specific underserved communities. These communities include eight within the Twin Cities metropolitan region (Latinx, African American, Hmong, people with disabilities, immigrants, people living with HIV, single mothers, and single fathers), as well as two communities in the Greater Minnesota area (transitioning home residents in Fergus Falls and Tribal members of the White Earth Nation). This project adopted a mixed-method approach, incorporating both qualitative interviews and quantitative smartphone-based travel behavior surveys. The findings revealed that each community faces distinct transportation barriers, alongside shared themes in transportation inequities such as inadequate public transportation, difficulties related to car use, and the impact of transportation on significant life outcomes. Recommendations for future research and practice are provided.

Project details:

  • Project number: 2022012
  • Start date: 07/2021
  • Project status: Completed
  • Research area: Planning and Economy
  • Topics: Equity, Planning