Enhanced Spatially-Inclusive Mobility Approaches for Charlottesville’s Priority Populations and Communities

Public Health; Environmental Health (Public Health); Public Policy

This project leverages current mobility resources while future proofing the transportation system to overcome spatial/transportation mismatch that affect vulnerable populations.

Research Interests
  • Community engagement
  • Population health promotion
  • Social determinants
  • Social determinants of population health
  • Community-based
  • Public health policy
  • Health policy
  • social justice

From a systemic perspective, mobilityfor marginalized communities and priority populations in this region ishindered by two interlinked challenges:  a “spatial mismatch” and a “transportationmismatch.” Spatially, low-income and senior residents do not live near thedestinations they need to access on a regular basis, an issue of increasingimportance as affordable housing moves ever farther from the urban core. Inaddition, today’s public transit system is hard pressed to meet the needs ofvulnerable populations in terms of its frequency and distribution resulting ina transportation mismatch. These spatial and transportation mismatches causebarriers to daily access across our region that are inextricably tied to the diminishingsocial mobility of the most vulnerable, isolating populations from beneficial opportunitiesthat are necessary to live successful lives. Nevertheless, important advancesin transportation continue to move forward, such as driverless and shared mobility,that if not carefully planned may leave a significant segment of thepopulation, especially the most vulnerable, behind.

Desired outcomes

We propose to strengthen the transportation system to meet the needs of local marginalized communities by: (1) developing a baseline for understanding the currentlandscape of transit use and barriers to use, to inform how current andemerging transportation technologies may best be deployed to serve thepopulation; (2) designing and implement a mobility intervention using currenttravel technologies such as ridesharing, carsharing, and enhanced publictransit;  (3) develop a local plan of action including sustainable solutions,recommendations and guidelines thatcan be adopted by key public and private sector stakeholders that underscorecritical social considerations from our findings; and 4) submit a proposal to an external funding agency and/or demonstrate progress toward the gold standard of scholarly excellence.