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Food security, Food -- Transportation -- Florida -- Tampa Bay


In partnership with the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) at the University of South Florida (USF), the Transportation Innovation Group informed practical transportation solutions aimed at improved food access in Tampa Bay (Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties). The food pantry/bank sites that are part of Tampa Bay Network to End Hunger (TBNTEH) helped to gather data through a survey and interviews of food-related organizational leadership, staff and volunteers from each site to gain insight into how clients currently access emergency food sites (qualitative). This information was supplemented with a GIS analysis of transit accessibility for the food insecure in Tampa Bay (quantitative). Funding for this project was provided, in part, by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) at Portland State University. This project entitled “Travel to Food: Transportation Barriers for the Food Insecure in Tampa Bay” fits with the NITC’s theme of safe, healthy and sustainable transportation choices to foster livable communities in the following ways:

  • Identify gaps in the transportation system for vulnerable communities;
  • Lead to focused solutions to improve access to healthy food;
  • Lead to added sustainable transportation options; and
  • Access to food is an essential precursor to livability.

Background: The dominance of the automobile in the southeast has impacted the urban and suburban built environment, resulting in barriers to transportation access. The vulnerability of the food insecure makes them an indicator population of the larger transportation system; mobility and housing location options are limited for this population. The grocery industry’s trend toward larger stores and higher-value inventory to maximize shelf space value has left lower-income neighborhoods with fewer food retail options. The lack of food access is experienced more acutely in lower-income neighborhoods where auto ownership is lower and dependence on alternative modes of transportation (e.g., transit, bike and walking) is higher.


This is a final report, NITC-SS-997, from the NITC program of TREC at Portland State University, and can be found online at:

The project brief can be found at:



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