PI: Corey Harper

University: Carnegie Mellon University

Lack of reliable and efficient transportation is often cited as a pivotal barrier to healthcare and employment access. Many people without regular access to automobiles depend on public transit as their main mode of transportation. In densely populated neighborhoods, a fixed route system may work well, but in medium or low-density areas where residents may have to travel longer distances to and from transit stops, the lack of accessibility creates tremendous challenges for human mobility and leads to usage of unsustainable transportation modes.

Bike share systems (e.g., Healthy Ride) are becoming an increasingly popular feature of many urban areas across the United States and could improve transportation access by establishing new connections to transit, but suffer from issues of low-density and inequitable distribution of services, typically in low-income areas. Equity-focused planning tools could address this shortcoming by making bike share providers more aware of how bike share station siting decisions impacts transportation access and mobility for underserved populations.

The goals of this PITA are to build a replicable, open, deployable model that:

  1. produces a quantifiable system-wide measure of equity performance for transit and bike share systems
  2. incorporates this equity metric as well as stakeholder preferences towards equality (e.g., low or high), other planning metrics (e.g., network and transit connectivity), and budget constraints (e.g. number of bikes) into a multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) tool
  3. conducts a proof-of-concept analysis and develops preliminary results to win an NSF Civil Infrastructure Systems (CIS) proposal to further develop tools that will lead to a higher performing multi-modal transportation system

This model and tool will be provided to Healthy Ride and the Port Authority to assist them in making more intelligent infrastructure investment decisions, which will lead to improved economic viability by expanding access to new customers in Pittsburgh, PA.