The National Academies

TCRP H-60 [Active]

Lessons Learned from Covid-19: Strategies to Enhance Racial and Social Equity Through Public Transportation As A Community Lifeline

  Project Data
Funds: $350,000
Staff Responsibility: Dianne Schwager
Research Agency: WSP USA Inc.
Principal Investigator: Deb Matherly
Effective Date: 11/1/2021
Completion Date: 12/31/2024

During a pandemic or other crises, communities are critically dependent on essential functions and services that are recognized as lifelines. Community lifelines (e.g., energy; health and medical; food, water, and waste management; and communications and essential mobility) enable coordination and increase societal well-being during crisis response and recovery. Communities cannot be resilient unless these lifelines work effectively. 
Low-income communities and communities of color faced compounding disparities due to their curtailed mobility from transit service cuts and from greater vulnerabilities to contract the virus. Essential workers were recognized as the backbone of society and became among the most at risk to infection from the Covid-19, in part because they were required to work in person and travel to do so. 
Public transportation agencies and other transportation providers are now attempting to restore service cuts, improve resilience, and prepare for future crises. Important questions must be answered, such as how should transit services be modified during crises to maintain community lifelines. This research will help ensure that the positive and negative lessons learned regarding low-income communities and communities of color during the Covid-19 pandemic are documented and understood.
The objective of this research is to present strategies to enhance racial and social equity through providing essential travel and community lifelines for low-income communities and communities of color during disasters. The research should focus on serving essential travel needs by people throughout the United States who rely on public transportation for work, health care, food, education, caregiving, and childcare trips.  The target audiences for this research include public transportation providers and their public, private and non-profit partners at local, regional, state, and national levels.
STATUS: The research is underway.

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