Thank you to our 60 friends and partners who attended For Good Measure this past Tuesday to discuss why all trips matter–and to ask why transportation agencies aren’t counting everyone.
“Every bus trip is a family, not a number”
Stephanie Ramirez from AARP and Diana Pinto from South Central LAMP kicked off the event by sharing stories of their respective members. We heard real experiences of mothers’ and seniors’ daily needs–simple trips like doctor’s visits, getting kids to schools, and household errands–not being visible in transportation data. And we watched our “Moms & Mobility” video, which follows South Central LAMP member Maura Martinez on the bus with her kids.
Across Greater Los Angeles, there are millions of stories like Maura’s. What does it take to make their trips visible?
“We can’t manage what we don’t measure”
We know that counting all trips means including families, older adults, and other underrepresented experiences in our transportation systems. But how do we do this? We heard from two data experts about how it is feasible to make all trips visible. Nancy McGuckin, a travel behavior expert with experience working on safe routes to school, discussed the National Household Travel Survey (NHTS). NHTS is an in-depth data source for that captures travel purpose, demographics, attitudes and concerns around transportation. Hunter Owens, a data scientist working with the City of Los Angeles Information Technology Agency (ITA) also discussed inherent biases in the current way we collect transportation data, particularly the different ways we collect car counts vs. people walking and riding bikes.
“Communities, not just commutes”
Our panel of expert speakers culminated with a discussion on how we can shift data practices at public agencies to make all trips visible. Our fellow Metro Policy Advisory Council (PAC) member Thomas Yee from LA Thrives and PAC chair Cecilia Estolano of Estolano LeSar Advisors talked about the importance of transportation agencies to design systems for all. As parents, they also drew from personal experience about how hard it is to run errands with kid. They highlighted other U.S. cities that have identified mobility as a human right, set goals for bus ridership growth–and achieved them. And they talked about the challenges of culture change and building political and community power around the issue.
Counting all the people making trips in Los Angeles is a simple concept. And we know that data exists that captures all the different trips we make. Like so many issues of access and equity in Los Angeles, how we implement this concept is where we have to get to work. There are a number of opportunities at Metro alone that would be strengthened by comprehensive trip data, including the the Equity Framework Platform, 2020 Long Range Transportation Plan, bus service and the NextGen Bus study, to name a few.
We welcome everyone interested in making all trips visible to please save the date for a #JustGrowth work group meeting on December 6. Location and details to follow!
Would you like to learn more from our expert panel of speakers? Contact information and presentation links below: