Evaluating Two Universal Basic Mobility Pilot Projects in California

Research Team: Angela Sanguinetti (lead), Eli Alston-Stepnitz, Mollie C. D'Agostino

UC Campus(es): UC Davis

Problem Statement: Lack of affordable or appropriate transportation options has a myriad of detrimental consequences. It may be difficult or costly to access jobs and basic services, such as groceries, healthcare, and education, and opportunities for recreation, leisure, and community participation may be constrained. As a result, those with less access to transportation may struggle to attain upward economic mobility and can experience a diminished quality of life, including physical and psychological health and happiness. Low-income communities rely heavily on active transportation with lower rates of car ownership and longer commutes than middle-income communities. In addition to traditional active modes (e.g., biking and public transit), shared micromobility (i.e., on-demand bike and scooter services) has recently emerged as a potential solution for first-and last-mile connections to public transit and connecting underserved communities to jobs and other basic needs. Shared micromobility can also make active transportation (and its associated benefits) accessible to more people. However, there are barriers to adoption of these new modes, including cost and unfamiliarity with the services. Research suggests that low-income communities have greater interest in shared micromobility compared to the general population, but their usage rates are lower.

Project Description: This research project will evaluate the economic, social, and environmental impacts of universal basic mobility (UBM) pilot programs in two California cities: Oakland and Bakersfield. The Oakland program will provide a $300 prepaid card for transit and shared mobility services to 500 East Oakland residents ($100 per month for three months). The research team will partner with the City of Oakland to evaluate the impacts of this program using both quantitative and qualitative analysis of surveys, in-depth interviews, and trip data. The second pilot in Bakersfield in is planning stages, led by Spin, in partnership with the Dream Center (major Kern County resource center for current and former foster youth up to the age of 25), and City of Bakersfield. Spin will provide their Spin Access program to all interested Dream Center clients and host virtual outreach and train Dream Center staff to sign up and register clients on Spin Access. Spin is in discussions with the City and local public transit vendors to organize a public transit option for the UBM program. The research team will support early engagement in the evaluation of this pilot, including the design and implementation of a baseline survey and mid-program interviews depending on available resources for these activities.

Status: In Progress

Budget: $80,000

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