Advancing Social/Racial Equity and Congestion Relief: Understanding the Travel Needs of Marginalized Populations that Rely on Transportation Network Companies

Transportation network companies (TNCs) and microtransit are changing the way people travel by providing dynamic, on-demand mobility that can supplement public transit and personal-vehicle use. Early research suggests that TNCs can expand access and mobility for underserved communities, such as racial minorities and persons with disabilities. However, heavy TNC use among all socio-demographic populations could contribute to increased vehicle miles travelled, congestion, and/or greenhouse gas emissions. Well-designed policy strategies are needed to balance the objectives of increasing mobility and accessibility for underserved communities while simultaneously mitigating the potential adverse impacts of increased TNC usage through policies, such as pooling and first-mile and last-mile linkages. However, more research is needed to better understand the mobility gaps and needs of underserved populations to identify potential strategies to mitigate negative TNC impacts and make the services more equitable. This project proposes to employ a combination of methods based on grounded theory and narrative/discourse analysis in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Texas Triangle. Through qualitative and quantitative research, this study will collect data on individual’s views, values, and perspectives, as well as respondent priorities for change around a topic area. The intent of the qualitative engagements is not to rank priorities per se but to seek a deeper understanding of issues as participants understand them and build critical group understanding. These engagements will be analyzed using thematic content analysis tools, such as ATLAS.ti to help systemically analyze complex phenomena hidden in unstructured data. The study will also deploy a national TNC survey and develop models to uncover heavy TNC users and possible relationships to transportation equity. This study will inform why certain socio-demographic populations are heavy TNC users, factors that contribute to heavy TNC use, and potential strategies that help maximize equitable accessibility and mobility offered through TNCs, while mitigating potential adverse impacts.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $269777
  • 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

    National Institute for Congestion Reduction

    University of South Florida
    Tampa, FL  United States  33620
  • Managing Organizations:

    National Institute for Congestion Reduction

    University of South Florida
    Tampa, FL  United States  33620
  • Project Managers:

    Li, Xiaopeng

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of California, Berkeley

    444 Davis Hall
    Berkeley, CA  United States  94720

    Texas A&M Transportation Institute

    Texas A&M University System
    3135 TAMU
    College Station, TX  United States  77843-3135
  • Principal Investigators:

    Shaheen, Susan

    Sener, Ipek

  • Start Date: 20210415
  • Expected Completion Date: 20220930
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01784704
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: National Institute for Congestion Reduction
  • Contract Numbers: 69A3551947136, 79075-00-C, 79075-00-B
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: Oct 14 2021 12:23PM