Defining an Equity Strategy: Guidelines for Public Bodies

Track the results of the transport system for people who depend on public transport and marginalized people wherever they live in the region, and for neighborhoods with high concentrations of residents who depend on public transport or who are marginalized.

To measure progress towards equitable transit, agencies need to define and measure outcomes for the people and communities in which they live and work. Transport agencies need at least two types of measures:

  • Place-based or neighborhood-based measures show how the pros and cons of transportation benefit areas with large numbers of colored or low-income residents. Neighborhood-focused measures often show results for defined areas of need (definition varies by agency but may be based on factors such as the proportion of residents who have low incomes, who are not white, or who are do not have access to a vehicle) in relation to the region as a whole. An example of a neighborhood-based measure is: “How reliable is the bus service in areas of racially concentrated poverty?” “
  • Person-centered measures show how the advantages and disadvantages of transportation benefit people of certain identities, grouping together according to residential locations. An example of a person-centered metric is, “How reliable is bus service for the average black commuter?” “

Place-based or neighborhood-based measures

Place- or neighborhood-based measures assess transportation outcomes in areas where many residents are BIPOC or have low incomes. These areas tend to have faced divestment historically and have now concentrated the need for investment; neighborhood-focused measures help advocate for equitable and place-based investments.

Many transit agencies define areas of need using a mixture of census, transit agency, and other data. For example, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority has defined eight “fair trade neighborhoods” based on income, private vehicle ownership, race, and ethnicity. According to agency policy, service should improve in these neighborhoods at least as much as in the system as a whole. The SFMTA publishes a semi-annual report showing how the performance of public transport has changed in these neighborhoods and identifying the improvements to be made (see example below).

Neighborhood-focused measures of the SFMTA Muni equity service strategy:

The SFMTA’s Muni equity service strategy commits the agency to “assess the performance of Muni services in certain low-income and minority neighborhoods, to identify the main challenges related to Muni public transport having an impact on the selected neighborhoods. with sensitization of community stakeholders and to develop strategies to address the main challenges. … SFMTA to develop performance targets for each strategy based on the performance of the Peer Muni route and track progress against baseline conditions, performance targets and year on year progress. other.

“Performance measures will include:

  • Punctual performance
  • Service gaps
  • Overcrowding (also serves as a proxy for chess)
  • Capacity of use
  • Travel time to / from key destinations such as nearest grocery store, nearest medical facility, City College, downtown, and nearest large park
  • Customer satisfaction information

The measurements will include data by hour of the day (including noon and late evening). When available, data will be evaluated for conditions in the neighborhood, as well as for the route as a whole. “

SFMTA prioritizes improving services in the eight equity neighborhoods, as well as 15 routes with a high proportion of disabled passengers and the elderly. This slide from a 2018 presentation shows how the agency is working to identify needs in fair trade neighborhoods and make service improvements accordingly.

Other agencies that have used neighborhood-based equity measures to guide capital investments or service decisions include Metro Transit in Minneapolis-St. Paul and TriMet in Portland, Oregon. Geographic measurements can also assess damage. For example, TriMet measures whether older, more polluting buses are disproportionately located in Fair Trade neighborhoods. (The Metro Transit and TriMet examples are case studies later in this report.)

Investments in public transport outside fair trade neighborhoods can improve outcomes in these neighborhoods. For example, a dedicated bus lane or rail tunnel in a congested city center can improve travel times for users who do not live in the city center, but pass through it.

Person-centered measures

Person-centered measures show transportation outcomes for groups of people, regardless of where they live. People-centered measures are needed to design and evaluate programs to improve outcomes for marginalized groups of people. Relying solely on neighborhood-focused measures masks the needs, for example, of a black family living in a predominantly white neighborhood.

Person-centered and neighborhood-based measures can be calculated from the same data sources, but person-based measures require an additional step to rearrange the spatial data into population groups. Because of their simpler methodology, neighborhood-based measures are sometimes used in place of person-centered measures, although the latter are more appropriate.

A common set of people-centered metrics are the ‘Access to Opportunity’ metrics, which calculate how many jobs (or how many high-quality jobs), grocery stores, parks, or other destinations you can find. ‘a person can reach by public transport in a certain amount. time, or how many people have access to frequent transit service. Miami-Dade County analyzed the overhaul of its bus network by measuring the number of jobs that the average person, the average person in poverty, the average person of color and the average person without a vehicle could reach in transit. , before and after the redesign.

Travel diaries and census commute data capture individual travel behavior and are common sources for person-centered measures. But they favor commuting and long journeys, a segment of all the trips people make and in which the wealthiest people are over-represented. Anonymized location data generated from smartphone apps captures journeys of all types and distances. These location-based service (LBS) datasets can be merged with demographics to measure how different groups of people travel, more comprehensively and accurately than common sources. (However, there is concern that they under-represent the elderly and non-English speakers who are less likely to have smartphones.) The LBS datasets have not yet been applied to create measures of person-centered equity; however, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and the Los Angeles Metro created other metrics with LBS datasets (these examples are discussed in the case studies).

Person-centered measures can transmit impacts that neighborhood-focused measures cannot. For example, while neighborhood-focused metrics can assess whether a new LRT line improves transit access to jobs along the route, it does not capture whether low-income residents are moved as the area becomes desirable for more affluent people. Only people-centered measures can determine whether low-income people have better access through the new tram service.

People-centered measures also capture the needs of communities of people who do not fit into a defined geography. For example, focus groups led by the Portland Transportation Bureau in Albina, a historically black but rapidly bourgeois neighborhood, convinced the department to move a planned bike path from a street where many cultural institutions were located. black. Planners learned that many black Portlanders had been relocated from Albina, but continued to use (and drive to) cultural institutions on the street. The qualitative commitment led planners to recognize the presence of a diaspora community.

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