How can our transportation systems better serve moms and their families – especially low-income women? Although a small body of research (a key contributor to this research local UCLA Professor Evelyn Blumenberg) has begun to answer these questions, and recently Metro posted their study: How Women Travel, policy and investments that address these issues have been slow to follow. So when Lyft approached us to work together in Los Angeles through their program Lyft City Works, with its commitment to deploy 1% of profits or $50 million every year (whichever is greater) to help make cities more livable for everyone, we saw an opportunity to change this and continue to build on our work on Moms and Mobility and our partnership with South Central LAMP.
Of the few data points available for how women in the U.S. and Los Angeles travel, we know this: Women and men travel using similar modes, but women travel shorter distances and make more trips. Women, particularly low-wage and shift workers, are also more likely to travel during off-peak hours (outside of the morning and evening “rush hour” periods). And minivan commercials aside, women are also more likely to use public transportation. And while we increasingly see women in the workforce, we still see a traditionally gendered division of household labor in mixed-gender couples. Women tend to remain the primary caregivers, both inside the home and for outside travel such as school/child care, appointments, activities, and household errands. This is why South Central LAMP is an organization focused on strengthening families by investing in women as leaders, and it is why the nonprofit is a natural fit for this work on women and transportation.
Investing in Place and South Central LAMP began working on this issue in 2018 to produce the 4-minute mini documentary: Moms & Mobility, A Day with Maura. This video, where Maura opened up her home and family to share her experience riding the bus, highlights the experiences of women like Maura and helps drive the conversation on how we support communities and families with our transportation system. We held a screening with the women of South Central LAMP with Metro’s former Deputy Executive Director Stephanie Wiggins and Chief Policy Officer Elba Higueros and created a space for LAMP community members to discuss their experiences and solutions directly with Metro leadership. These conversations helped inform Metro’s report published in August 2019, “How Women Travel.”
Our partnership involves a listening session this fall with South Central LAMP where we address all things transportation – including discussions on ride share and how existing bike share and scooter services may or may not meet the needs of community members. These ideas and recommendations will then be written up and shared with Lyft, local policymakers and other interested stakeholders.
Private mobility companies have entered the transportation provider space and are not going anywhere; how are advocates preparing ourselves to hold them accountable to serve all communities equitably, especially women and moms who are traditionally overlooked when these programs are developed. This project will begin to position Investing in Place and South Central LAMP to be at the forefront of identifying ways private mobility companies can better serve the needs of communities we collectively serve/advocate on behalf of.
We are excited to build on our partnership with South Central LAMP, and now Lyft, to continue to help amplify the needs of women – especially moms – in transportation decisions and conversations.