This project was funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC; grant number 1318), a U.S. DOT University Transportation Center.
Monetary incentives, Equity, Public transit ridership; People with disabilities -- Transportation
Low-income residents, immigrants, seniors, and people with disabilities - people who are often the most transport disadvantaged and thus stand to gain the most from tools that could reduce transportation costs and time – are often poorly served by new transportation tools and services, whether due to issues of affordability, gaps in technology adoption, unbanked populations, social or knowledge gaps, physical access, or other barriers. The research team worked with the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) to evaluate the Transportation Wallet for Residents of Affordable Housing Pilot (TWRAH). The program provided a set of transportation incentives for low-income participants including a $308 pre-paid US Bank Visa card which could be applied to public transit or other transportation services, a free bike share membership, and access to discounted rates on several services. We conducted a survey with the program’s participants to understand how they used the Transportation Wallet (TW) and how the program helped them use different modes to get around.
The results indicate that a majority of these low-income participants were TriMet users. Nearly half of the respondents indicated that they tried to use new modes that they never used before with the TW, which was correlated with increased sign-ups and usage of ride-hail, e-scooter and bike share services. In addition, with this program, the participants appeared to use each mode more than they would have otherwise. These findings signify some level of effectiveness of this program in providing more mobility options and enhancing accessibility for low-income residents. The flexibility and convenience of this program were also highlighted in survey comments by participants regarding the payment method and scheduling time (for activities). Participants’ survey responses also indicate that the program reduced stress related to how people might meet their basic travel needs or get around in the case of unexpected or emergency travel needs, all while reducing financial stress. The Transportation Fairs appeared to boost participants to sign-ups and use of transportation services, particularly new mobility services.
McNeil, Nathan, John MacArthur, and Huijun Tan. New Mobility For All: Evaluation of a Transportation Incentive Program for Residents of Affordable Housing in Portland, Oregon. NITC-RR-1318. Portland, OR: Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC), 2021. https://dx.doi.org/10.15760/trec.265