Marginalized Populations’ Access to Transit: Journeys from Home and Work to Transit

Research demonstrates that marginalized populations experience significant barriers in accessing transit. Much research related to marginalized populations focuses on fares, costs, and locations to utilizing transit. More recent studies look at how transgender and gender-nonconforming community members experience discrimination and harassment while riding transit, and how that impacts their choices to access transit. In this study the research team builds on findings from these studies on harassment on mass transit for a specific population, and seek to understand how people from selected historically marginalized communities experience discrimination and harassment on transit and in public areas such as sidewalks, bus stops, and transit platforms when accessing transit. The study will be conducted in two sites: Portland, Oregon and Salt Lake City, Utah. In Portland, the study population will include racially and ethnically diverse people experiencing homelessness and people who identify as transgender and gender nonconforming. In Salt Lake City, the study population will include people experiencing homelessness as well as diverse groups based on their gender, racial, and ethnic identity. This study fits into the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) theme of “improving the mobility of people and goods to build strong communities” in several ways. The study focuses on questions of access to transit for marginalized community members, and examines barriers that traverse transit use, walkability, and commercial and residential land-use types. This study will employ a qualitative method not common in transportation studies: go-along interviews. Using this method, researchers accompany research participants on their journeys from home or work to and then on public transportation, asking them to describe the factors that shape their travel behavior, and allowing for direct observation of their transit use. The findings from this study will help transit system designers better understand how experiences of harassment and discrimination across the entire users’ journey affects the riders’ decisions about whether and when to take transit, and to help create transit systems that serve all community members equitably.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $204930
  • Contract Numbers:



  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    TREC at Portland State University

    1900 SW Fourth Ave, Suite 175
    P.O. Box 751
    Portland, Oregon  United States  97201
  • Performing Organizations:

    Portland State University

    1900 SW Fourth Avenue, Suite 175
    Portland, Oregon  United States  97201

    University of Utah, Salt Lake City

    City & Metropolitan Planning
    201 South Presidents Circle
    Salt Lake City, UT  United States  84112
  • Principal Investigators:

    Zapata, Marisa

    Garcia, Ivis

    Lubitow, Amy

    Abelson, Miriam

  • Start Date: 20200815
  • Expected Completion Date: 20231201
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01747043
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: National Institute for Transportation and Communities
  • Contract Numbers: NITC-1419, 69A3551747112
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: Jul 28 2020 6:52PM