Options for and Barriers to Mobility in Washington, DC: A study on Wards 7 & 8

Principal authors: Mariana Bojaca Adam Jadhav Bob Schlehuber Jason Smith Megan Sullivan Emily Thrush

with contributions from: Folayemi Agbede A.J. Doty Artur Kalil Tim Kovach

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INTRODUCTION In an effort to better understand the perceptions of options for and barriers to mobility for lowincome residents of Washington, DC, a group of American University graduate students conducted a field study in the southeast Wards of the city (Wards 7 and 8). With limited literature focused on low-income access to transportation, the research team determined that a field study would add the most depth to better understanding transportation among low-income households. The field study included 109 respondents, each of whom were asked a uniform set of questions that sought to uncover their current modes of transportation, their perceived barriers towards other modes, and their policy recommendations on how to improve the current transportation system. The questionnaire responses revealed a range of barriers for each transportation option. The survey’s key findings included:
● ●

Commuters in Wards 7 and 8 rely heavily on public transit. Costs and convenience were the primary reasons for why people relied heavily on Metrobus and Metrorail.

Many respondents preferred private transportation even if they currently did not have access to their own vehicles. Furthermore, preference for a car was negatively associated with preference for other options.

Respondents from low-income households spend an average of 4 hours more in transit per week than do respondents from non low-income households.

BACKGROUND Before the beginning of the Fall 2012 Semester at American University, Professor Eve Bratman and Alex Hutchinson of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) were discussing a problem that a Bike Share program in Washington, DC had been facing. The relatively new Bike Share program has been successful in DC with expansion to 175 locations and over 1600

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bikes across town.1 However, in Wards 7 and 8 of DC, the program had not gained traction and bikes are rarely being used. Professor Bratman decided to integrate this question into a broader service learning research project with her Urban Development class (SIS-635) at American University. The research question centered on perceived barriers to mobility in Wards 7 and 8. The answer to this question provides insight into why the Bike Share program is not being used, in addition to giving deeper insights into an array of other perceptions about public and private transportation and mobility in the poorest areas of DC. LITERATURE REVIEW Perceptions about barriers to mobility in Wards 7 and 8 of Washington, DC have not been specifically addressed in literature. In order to glean useful information from the literature, the research team focused on barriers to mobility in US cities, perceived barriers to mobility in US cities, the role of public transportation and mobility, and the relationship between low-income individuals and mobility. Though a dearth of information exists in the DC context, the issue is also national. In an interview with Eric Bruins, a policy analyst at the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, Mr. Bruins states that "there isn’t a very good amount of literature on those specific populations (low-income and hourly workers). We have the same population out here and we don’t really know in any scientific sort of way why they use what they use."2 This highlights the difficulty of pinpointing accurate literature that is applicable to our target population. In a 2011 article, Bratman examines Washington, DC using the tools of international development and asserts that the city has many characteristics consistent with many Third World cities.3 Similar to an international development setting, the allocation of resources to DC has not resulted in more equality, better governance, or higher environmental quality. The city was designed by Pierre L’Enfant, a design which serves to “express the ideals of democracy, equality                                                                                                                
1 2

http://www.capitalbikeshare.com/, accessed 11/21/2012 Eric Bruins (Policy Analyst, Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition), interview by Adam Jadhav, September 14, 2012. 3 Bratman, E. “Development’s Paradox: Washington DC is a Third World City?” Third World Quarterly, 32: 9, 1541-1556

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and opportunity upon which the nation was founded” (p. 1546). However, this ideal is not borne out in reality. Unemployment in DC for African Americans is 18.9 percent while for whites it is 6.1 percent (p. 1548). Geographic racial segregation is obvious. HIV rates in DC are the highest in the nation. Although this article does not address mobility in DC, it helps to give context to the unique nature of Washington, DC. Hawkin et al. (1999) highlight the sustainable measures that Curitiba, Brazil has taken to address the needs of their residents in a way that takes the whole urban system into account.4 An applicable innovation in Curitiba was the creative overhaul to their bus system, maximizing efficiency, optimizing the experience for passengers, and finding ways to decrease the environmental impact. Given the high usage rates of Metrobuses in Washington DC, described below, the actions that Curitiba has taken can serve as reference points for DC officials who may be interested in improving bus services, especially to those residents of Wards 7 and 8. Jacobs (1961) addresses American cities in the context of safety and the perception of safety.5 When people speak of cities being safe or unsafe, Jacobs assert that they are specifically envisioning the sidewalks of the city and the threat of physical attack on the sidewalks. As vendors are removed from streets and as residences are moved from mixed-use city dwellings (which once provided eyes on the streets) to the suburbs, the streets and sidewalks of cities become more dangerous. Crime and the perception of crime are not specifically addressed in our study, but several respondents mentioned safety as a concern that affected their mobility in Washington, DC. Caldeira (1996) warned of increasing spatial segregation that included transportation stratification along class lines.6 Comparing São Paulo and Los Angeles, she saw this segregation partly as a function of elites and wealthy retreating via the automobile into separate enclaves and                                                                                                                

Hawken, P., Lovins, A., & Lovins, H.S. (1999) “Human Capitalism,” Natural Capitalism. (Snowmass, CO: Rocky Mountain Institute), 285-308. 5 Jacobs, Jane. 1961. “The Death and Life of Great American Cities,” in: Bridge, Gary and Sophie Watson (eds.), The Blackwell City Reader, Malden, MA: Blackwell, pp. 273-277. 6 Caldeira, T. (1996) "Fortified enclaves: The new urban segregation." Public Culture 1996(8): 303-328.

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spaces of development, often abandoning public transportation to lower classes: "Public streets become spaces for elites’ circulation by car and for poor people’s circulation by foot or public transportation. To walk on the public street is becoming a sign of class in many cities, an activity that the elite is abandoning. No longer using streets as spaces of sociability, the elite now want to prevent street life from entering their enclaves" (p. 314). This reveals serious implications for equality in transportation planning, if designing transit for one mode privileges an economic (or even ethnic) group of people over another group. Sidney (2009) discusses some theoretical strands that address issues of poverty, inequality, and social exclusion in urban politics.7 Sidney explores political, economic, and problem-centered solutions and describes their subsequent opportunities and challenges. Community organizing, collective ownership, and addressing power imbalances are some of the cited suggestions to work against social exclusion. These strategies speak to possible ways to mobilize the communities of Wards 7 and 8 for action that address aspects of their social exclusion and barriers to mobility. Dill & Voros (2007) investigate bicycle use in the US.8 Generally, bicycle ridership in the US is very low, with less than one percent of all trips made on bicycles. Additionally, less than five percent of trips under half a mile are made on bicycles. The study found that road connectivity and rider safety affected ridership, but weather and installation of bike lanes did not seem to impact ridership. Generally, men are more likely to ride than women. Racially, blacks are less likely to ride bicycles than whites and Hispanics. Butler et al. (2007) look at “socio-demographic, geographic and physical activity”9 to find correlations for walking and biking. Generally, walkers and bikers are younger. Immigrants are less likely to ride a bicycle for both genders. People with lower incomes are much more likely to walk.                                                                                                                

Sidney, Mara (2009), "Poverty, Inequality and Social Exclusion," in: Davies, Jonathan S. and David L. Imbroscio (eds.),Theories of Urban Politics, Los Angeles: Sage, 171-187. 8 Dill, J. & Voros, K. (2007). Factors Affecting Bicycling Demand: Initial Survey Findings from the Portland, Oregon Region. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 2031, 9-17. 9 Butler, G. P., M.Sc, Orpana, H. M., PhD., & Wiens, A. J. (2007). By your own two feet: Factors associated with active transportation in Canada. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 98(4), 259-64.

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Being physically active in other areas of life is connected to higher levels of walking and biking. Bicycle ridership is highest among people with the highest education levels and the lowest incomes. Sawicki & Moody (2000) examine implications for transportation in light of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Relocation Act of 1996, which mandates that recipients of welfare must find work within two years.10 The study found that most welfare recipients in Atlanta are women who need to string several trips together because of childcare proximity. Only 50 percent of TANF recipients live within half a mile of public transportation. TANF recipients often have to travel across the city, increasing time spent in transit. Schlossberg et al. (2006) examine factors within two cities in Oregon that affect travel mode choice. In the 1970s, 49 percent of students traveled by foot or bicycle, whereas in 2000, it was down to 14 percent.11 A number of demographic variables including income, education, ethnicity, and number of cars owned did not influence choice of travel mode. Distance to the destination, intersection density, and street connectivity were all correlated with higher walking and bicycling rates. Handy et al. (2010) examine factors correlated with bicycle ownership and use.12 In the US, 69.5 percent of bicycle trips are recreational. Older people do not bike as much. People with high education levels bike more. Better bicycle infrastructure and bike path maintenance leads to higher ridership. Perceptions influence ridership; factors that reduce the likelihood of ridership include the thought that cars are necessary, the perception that other cyclists look poor, and the association of biking with child-like behavior due to seeing children in the neighborhood ride bicycles.


David, S. S., & Moody, M. (2000). Developing transportation alternatives for welfare recipients moving to work. American Planning Association.Journal of the American Planning Association, 66(3), 306-318. 11 Schlossberg, M., Jessica, G., Page Paulsen, P., Bethany, J., & Bob, P. (2006). School Trips: Effects of Urban Form and Distance on Travel Mode. American Planning Association. Journal of the American Planning Association, 72(3), 337-346 12 Handy, S., Xing, Y., & Buehler, T. (2010). Factors associated with bicycle ownership and use: a study of six small U.S. cities. Transportation, 37(6), 967-985.

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Delbosc & Currie (2011) study the spatial context of mobility, social exclusion and wellbeing in Melbourne, Australia.13 As a result of rising housing prices, people move to the urban fringe and are forced to use a car more often. On the urban fringe, 94 percent of people own cars, while in the city, only 79 percent own cars (p. 1136). Walkability and public transportation availability decreases, and car ownership and distance from transport access increases as residents move away from central Melbourne. Among those on the urban fringe, six to seven percent said they could not find jobs due to transportation issues. Lucas (2012) explores the connection between transportation and social exclusion.14 People dependent on public transit have trouble getting to work and school, visiting friends and family, and have a high degree of concern for their personal safety relating to their transportation patterns. There is a connection between mobility and social connectivity and capital. Greater social capital leads to greater economic opportunity and personal well-being. Transportation policy cannot address social exclusion alone. Local solutions need to be integrated to consider land use, housing, health, education and social service programming. Cervero et al. (2002) examine the role of transportation in joblessness.15 Research is inconsistent about the spatial mismatch hypothesis which holds that joblessness is due to increasing physical isolation, or inaccessibility, of inner-city residents from suburban employment opportunities. Accessibility to jobs explained between 30 and 40 percent of the difference in employment rates among black and white teenagers. Neighborhoods with higher levels of accessibility to low-wage firms average lower rates of welfare dependence. Other researchers argue that the spatial mismatch is a smokescreen to more deeply rooted racial divisions. Car ownership at the time of welfare reliance increased the odds of later getting off welfare and, conversely, not                                                                                                                
Delbosc, A., & Currie, G. (2011). The spatial context of transport disadvantage, social exclusion and well-being. Journal of Transport Geography, 19(6), 1130-1137. 14 Lucas, K. (2012). Transport and social exclusion: Where are we now? Transport Policy, 20(0), 105-113. 15 Cervero, R., Sandoval, O., & Landis, J. (2002). Transportation as a Stimulus of Welfare-to-Work: Private versus Public Mobility. Journal of Planning Education and Research, 22(1), 50-63.

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owning a car after having owned one previously increased the odds of staying on welfare. Having jobs that were reachable via public transit, and the ability to walk to transit lines, did incrementally increase the odds of securing a job. The likelihood of finding a job for those with only two to five years of education, who were otherwise similar, was about 50 percent higher if they owned a car than if they did not. Phillips (2012) considers the impact of residential segregation on the job searches for a group of low-income residents in Washington, DC.16 In his working paper through the National Poverty Center, Phillips runs an experiment with active job seekers to test the validity of spatial mismatch. By providing transportation subsidies to a randomized group of people already participating in job placement assistance with a local non-profit, Phillips finds a correlation between the subsidy and the intensity of job search activity. The majority of the participants in Phillips’ study live in Wards 7 and 8, thus giving insight into our population of interest. Phillips found that most of his participants were reliant on public transportation, with only nine percent citing access to their own vehicle. Phillips’ sample set is over four times the size of the sample in the barriers to mobility project. Literature sources do not necessarily provide insight into the specific question of differences in perceptions of mobility among low wage households, but the articles provide some insight into the context of this study. Additionally, the sources provide examples of future potential disaggregation methods which might prove useful for Wards 7 and 8 in Washington, DC. Finally, the sources highlight the need for further study of the linkages between mobility and perceptions of mobility to low-income residents. SITE/STUDY AREA The following table shows key demographics of Wards 7 and 8 of Washington DC. Poverty                                                                                                                
Phillips, David C., (2012). Getting to Work: Experimental Evidence on Job Search and Transportation Costs. National Poverty Center Working Paper Series #12-03, 1-56.

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rates, unemployment rates, and average family income show the vast inequality between those living in Wards 7 and 8 and the rest of the city.


METHODS AND METHODOLOGY Given the dearth of information on transportation preferences and barriers, the research team opted to conduct an in-person survey across Wards 7 and 8. The team specifically chose this method — as opposed to targeted interviews recruited through existing policy networks (such as neighborhood committees) or organizations (such as WABA’s supporter/contact lists) — in order to avoid biasing the survey toward a sample with above average political or transport policy                                                                                                                

Neighborhood Info DC. (2012). Retrieved November 29, 2012, http://www.neighborhoodinfodc.org/

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engagement. However, facing a compressed schedule, the research team ultimately relied upon a convenience sample of commuters drawn from Metrorail (hereafter “train”) stations, adjacent Metrobus (hereafter “bus”) stops, and nearby parking lots. At one site, additional sampling was conducted at a nearby grocery store. This sample method has its own inherent biases, which will be discussed later in the paper. Recognizing that commuter respondents would likely be pressed for time, the research team designed the survey instrument — a multi-stage questionnaire — for quick delivery on sidewalks that would yield basic data even if a respondent had to break before completing the survey (for example, to catch a departing bus). The survey queried respondents on their current transportation habits and motivations before presenting respondents with a shortened version of a Q-sort. Using laminated cards labeled with nine different transport options and a corresponding picture, respondents ranked their preferred modes of transport, which were not necessarily their current modes.18 Interviewers then asked probing questions to elicit the perceived barriers to the array of transport options. Respondents were then asked for demographic data, including age, hours spent in weekly commute, and household income. Due to the assumed time constraints of the survey and the complex and sensitive nature of the income question, respondents were asked to self-identify as belonging to a low-income household, rather than divulge specific income details. If respondents declined, they were alternatively asked whether or not they worked in low-wage, hourly jobs.


The nine transport options: Metro (Metrorail), Bus (Metrobus), Bike, Bike Share, Walk, Family Car, Car Share, Carpool, and Taxi.

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If respondents had additional time, interviewers asked for policy recommendations and details about specific transportation habits. Interviewers questioned respondents about what modes of transport they used for important trips (such as visits to a doctor or an urgent errand), and trips where a respondent needed to transport other goods or people.19 The team complied with American University’s Institutional Review Board’s ethical research guidelines regarding privacy, consent, and full disclosure. Only consenting adults participated. Interviews were voluntary and conducted in public spaces. No identifying data (other than first name, for courtesy) was collected, but respondents could opt-in to provide a telephone number for future follow-up. Interviews took place over a two-week period from October 23, 2012 to November 6, 2012; significant events during that period that may have affected transportation patterns included Halloween, the onset of Hurricane Sandy (during which surveys were not conducted), and the 2012 presidential election.


See Appendix A for the full survey instrument.  

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The research team concentrated on the Metrorail stations geographically closest to, or within, Wards 7 and 8. Final survey sites were Anacostia, Congress Heights and Southern Avenue stations on the Green line; and the Benning Road, Capitol Heights, Deanwood, Minnesota Avenue and Stadium/Armory stations on the Orange and Blue lines. Notably, the Southern Avenue station lies just outside the DC border, and Stadium/Armory lies inside Ward 7, but is the only station in the sample that is west of the Anacostia River. Additional interviews were conducted outside the Safeway grocery store at 322 40th Street NE, several blocks from the Minnesota Avenue station. Sampling was concentrated on morning and evening commuting hours. More than 50 percent of surveys were conducted between the hours of 8 a.m. - 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. Surveys were administered on every day of the week. The final sample consisted of 109 observations where respondents were able to complete the majority of the survey. The research team examined the full dataset individually and then as a

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group. This included an array of quantitative analyses of coded answers and discrete variables (demographics and Q-sort values) and narrative analyses of open-ended questions. QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS Sample Description The research team collected several basic demographics in order to better understand the sample. Although the research project was focused on transportation options and perceived transportation barriers within Wards 7 and 8, interview teams did not exclude respondents who were not residents of those wards. This inclusion was made on the grounds that people from outside those wards — both residents of other parts of DC as well as the surrounding states — still transit through Wards 7 and 8, and therefore would have valuable opinions to offer. DC residents comprised 74.3 percent of the sample. Of those residents, 82.1 percent were residents of Wards 7 or 8 (excluding three respondents who were uncertain of their ward of residence). Given that the Anacostia River represents a major geographic divider, the survey team did debate whether to recruit respondents at the Stadium/Armory Metro station, which is the only station in Ward 7 or 8 west of the river. Ultimately, the team went ahead with surveys there, but the bulk of the respondents (85.3 percent) were recruited east of the river. A key variable of interest to the research team was the income-level of respondents. Out of the full sample, 100 respondents made a self-evaluation of income level. Of those, 54 percent identified as living in a low-income household.

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Researchers also sought to characterize the sample by hours spent in weekly commute. Mean commute time as estimated by respondents was 14.01 hours per week; responses ranged from two hours to a maximum of 60 hours. The mean age of respondents who declared their age (N=98) was 40.22 years old within a range of 18 to 74 years. However, this sample is not normally distributed and saw two peaks, one in the 21- to 25-year-old subset, and another in the 46- to 50-year-old subset.

Transportation Use Respondents were asked which mode(s) of transportation they normally used to get to work, or wherever they went most regularly. A combination of bus and train was the most frequently cited (37.6 percent), followed by multiple buses (19.3 percent), one bus (12.8 percent), and the train (9.2 percent). In total, nearly 80 percent of respondents identify public transit as their primary mode and 69.7 percent use at least one bus for some part of their commute. However, this number is likely biased given the sample and the fact that the data collection sites were at Metro stations. The number of public transit users dwarfs the percentage of people who rely solely on a car for their commute (6.4 percent). Again, this is likely biased given that interviews were conducted at DC Metro Stations, which are not locations where many personal car owners would be sampled.

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Less than 10 percent of respondents indicated that they routinely use a variety of transportation. Two people depended on Metro Access, a WMATA shuttle service for passengers unable to use public transportation on their own. Only one respondent, a homeless man, used a bike as a primary mode, and no one identified walking by itself as a primary mode.

Reasons for Present Modes of Transit The research probed why respondents use their current primary mode of transit. These narratives (explained later) were also coded into six categories — consistency or regularity of mode; convenience or ease/proximity of use or access to modes; cost of use; speed of transit; feeling of enjoyment or safety; and a notion (perceived or real) that a mode was simply the only option. Researchers assigned up to two motivating reasons for each respondent. The six categories were split almost perfectly between what appears to be three tiers of motivations. Cost and convenience tied for the most important; explanations from 40.4 percent listed one or both as an explanation for their current mode of transit. The perception that a particular

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mode was the only option available (33.0 percent) was only slightly ahead of the speed of transit (31.2 percent) as a motivating factor. The third tier of motivations included consistency (11.0 percent) and enjoyment (10.1 percent). Preferred Modes of Transit The Q-sort portion of the survey instrument presented respondents with nine different transportation options around DC. Respondents ranked the options in the order they would most prefer to use, regardless of what they may or may not be using at present. Although less than 10 percent of respondents presently use a car as their primary mode of transport, the personal or family car scored highest as the preferred mode of transport (mean: 7.0962). This was slightly higher than both the bus (mean: 7.0481) and the train (mean: 6.9519). Beyond this clustering near the top, walking was the next highest scoring mode of transit (mean: 5.9255), at a full interval lower. Carpool came in fifth (mean: 4.8140), another full interval lower. The remainder began to cluster more tightly at the bottom. Bike share was the least preferred mode of transport (mean: 2.6667) and also deviated farthest from the next most popular option.

These findings present a complicated picture of transportation preference that differs substantially from present transport patterns. While present transport is highly concentrated on the

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bus and train, commuters have reasonably strong preferences for other options. Car ownership obviously rises in the preferential sort, but so does walking, which was not a primary transport mode at present for any respondent. Although the car, bus and train largely tied in terms of their mean scores, car preference had a substantially higher standard deviation. This may indicate that while many people do indeed wish to use a car, opinions tend to be more extreme about car use than about public transit. In other words, more respondents also ranked car driving lower than they did for the train and bus. Respondents who ranked the car very low cited barriers such as the high cost and low availability of parking and high levels of traffic. Not all respondents were able to fully evaluate all options of the Q-sort. In some cases, respondents gave their top preferences before abandoning the Q-sort. In other cases, some respondents were more comfortable ranking their top and bottom choices while the middle options were vague. Interviewers recorded all rankings that respondents felt comfortable giving, but left blank any values that were not explicit. This explains the variation in sample size for various options. The two least-ranked options were the car share and bike share (77 and 75 responses respectively). There may be statistical support for the finding (explained in detail later) that respondents were substantially less knowledgeable about car share and bike share options. Correlations Between Transit Preferences A bivariate correlation matrix of preferential scoring generated a number of statistically significant relationships that can be interpreted to represent clustering of preferences. For example, bus preference correlates positively with high significance with train preference. Yet bus preference is significantly negatively associated with the car, car share, carpool and taxi preferences. In other words, higher preferences for the bus correlated with lower preferences for all the automobile options.

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Bike and bike share preferences not surprisingly display a positive relationship with each other; higher rankings for one were associated with higher rankings for the other. Yet, like bus preferences, bike and bike share preferences also had significant negative relationships with preferences for all automobile options. The same significant, negative relationship also appeared among respondents who rated walking higher. Train preference was negatively associated only with the car share and carpool options. At the same time, car, car share and carpool options (all the automobile options except for taxi) are positively correlated with each other. Taken as a whole, this presents a statistical picture where a respondent’s preference for a non-automobile form of transport correlates negatively with automobile forms of transport. Essentially, there is a significant transport stratification between cars and most other modes of transit.

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Specific Trips Respondents who had extra time were invited to answer additional questions. The research team, in an attempt to further assess barriers and perceptions of mobility, asked respondents about the modes of transit they currently use for two particular types of trips: those that are important or urgent (such as a doctor’s visit or an emergency) and those that require the respondent to transport something/someone (such as groceries or children). For important trips (N=66), family car became the most likely choice (25.8 percent), whereas public transit options fell substantially from their dominant positions. Other rarely used options, including carpool and taxi, also appeared more often as possibilities. Only 17 respondents did not change their commuting pattern. For transporting something (N=67), family car rose even higher (40.3 percent). Again, taxi and carpool also appeared. Several respondents also identified informal taxi networks that operate

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from grocery store parking lots and charge flat unmetered fees. Only 15 respondents did not change their commuting pattern. Comparisons Between Groups Independent sample t-tests were performed using a low-income household binary variable — a key variable of interest in the study — as a grouping factor in order to determine whether preferences for certain modes of transportation varied in a statistically significant fashion from nonlow-income households. The tests revealed that differences in means were significant for train and bus preferences. In both cases, low-income households ranked those two modes of transit higher than non-low-income households. Essentially, low-income respondents drove the high preferences for public transit.

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A t-test was also performed to determine whether the mean commute time for low-income households differed significantly from non-low-income households. Here the higher weekly mean commute time (15.78 hours) for low-income households represents a statistically significant difference from non-low-income mean commute time (11.74 hours). T-tests were also performed for transit mode preference using the binary indicators for each motivation behind current transit practice. Although these findings paint a somewhat more opaque picture, this test essentially derives relationships between the importance of different facets of transportation and a preference for a type of transport. For example, this type of testing found that the higher mean preference for the train was significantly different for those respondents who cited convenience as a determination in their current mode of travel than for those who did not: those citing convenience gave the train a mean score of 7.271, a statistically significant difference from the mean train preference (6.7213) given by respondents who did not cite convenience as important. Other statistically significant findings include:

The bus is preferred more among respondents who do not cite speed as a factor in their current transport habits

The train and carpooling are both preferred less by respondents who cite enjoyment and safety as a motivation in their current mode of transit.

Many other t-test combinations revealed no statistically significant differences. This may be because the size of subsamples from the overall sample might be too small to reveal trends. Other analyses in Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) and Chi-square tests revealed no statistically significant findings; however, due to the complex nature of even this limited data set, more testing, particularly of large-scale multivariate regression modeling, is needed.

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QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS Reasons for Transportation Use When asked why respondents use their regular mode(s) of transportation, many remarked upon cost and convenience, or ease of access. Even if respondents did not think that their regular mode(s) of transportation were ideal, these were considered the easiest to use, the most reliable, and the most accessible according to where respondents live, where they travel, and what they can afford. Being fast and being the “only” option available were also regularly noted, though less than cost and convenience. Additionally, many people alluded to a strategy in picking their mode(s) of transit with considerations like time of day and time availability. Very few respondents discussed modes of transportation outside of a personal vehicle, the train, or the bus.

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Several respondents said they had cars, but did not use them in their regular commute due to expense and inconvenience. Specific reasons included high gas prices, needed repair costs, risk of tickets, parking issues (cost or hard to find), as well as traffic. Some respondents said they use what they do because they do not have a car, indicating that a car would be an ideal choice, yet only two respondents mentioned that they were saving money to get a car. A few mentioned that they could not afford a car, and many noted the higher costs of having a car, for reasons described above. This perhaps demonstrates the ambivalence that respondents feel towards a personal vehicle: driving a car remains a goal for some respondents, though there are many acknowledged barriers. A recent article in the Washington Post highlighted that public transportation in DC can be more expensive than using a car, despite efforts by officials to encourage public transit and reduce car use.20 Compared to driving, some respondents prefer using the train because it is faster and cheaper. However, the bus was sometimes preferred over the train because of cost issues. The bus generally takes longer than the train, both in waiting time and length of travel, but the bus is almost always cheaper than the train. One respondent waiting at the Stadium/Armory Metro stop explained, "The bus saves me money. The train is faster but it saves you less money. If you've got two hours to get where you want to go, you might as well take the bus." Some respondents did not think public transportation was reliable. People also complained more about the higher train prices compared to bus prices. There were several comments about how transfers are free from bus to bus but not from bus to train. Although there is an issue of timing for the bus, particularly around non-peak hours, it is often the only mode choice if money is an issue and people have access to a bus stop. A number of people said that their mode(s) of transportation were the only option available to them. This response may involve perceived and/or real reasons, some of which may be                                                                                                                
Milloy, C. (2012, Nov. 27). For low-income residents, the District is becoming less accessible. Washington Post. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-to-poor-take-a-hike/2012/11/27/6b5b1670-38dc-11e2-b01f5f55b193f58f_story.html?tid=pm_local_pop.

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convenience and cost, but they were not explicit in some cases. The respondent’s budget or need for reliability may contribute to the perception that their given transit option is seen as the “only” possibility. NARRATIVES ON MODE PERCEPTIONS Metro(rail) Narrative The most cited barrier given for why people do not take the train was cost. Peak hour rates for the train reach a maximum of $5.75 for a one-way trip. While the minimum rate during peak hours for the train is $2.10, the cost is still $0.50 more expensive than on the bus. As riders only receive a 50-cent discount when switching from train to bus, respondents seemed to favor sticking to the less expensive bus option if possible. Unreliability was another reason often given for why respondents chose not to take the train. With constant work being done to escalators, elevators and the track in general, respondents chose not to take the train. Other reasons for not taking the train included lack of cleanliness and a fear of being underground in the tunnels. Bus Narrative The main barrier stopping people from taking the bus is the perception that buses are slow, not on time, and often stuck in traffic. When trying to plan a day accordingly, each of these factors can greatly impact one’s day. One respondent at the Anacostia Metro expressed that the buses are often overcrowded and full of “ignorant” people. Along these lines, people also expressed their displeasure with the bus drivers themselves, citing that the drivers were often unfriendly. These barriers did not often stop people from using buses, as they are still the cheapest mode of transportation, but they did lead to people voicing their displeasure in the overall experience of taking the bus.

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Bike Narrative Several barriers presented themselves when it came to people selecting not to ride bikes. The overall cost, maintenance, and storage of bikes were cited by respondents as the main barriers to using bikes to get to work. For several, the distance to travel to work was farther than an acceptable distance for them to ride, leaving them with no option but to take an alternative form of transportation. Other respondents simply did not like riding bikes, they discounted using a bike to commute because they did not want to arrive to work after so much exertion, and some did not like what they would look like on a bike, as one Deanwood station respondent noted, “I’ll look ridiculous at my age riding a bike.” Respondents also mentioned the dangers involved with riding a bike, as Wards 7 & 8 do not have bike lanes to the same degree as the other six wards in the city. The final reason for not taking bikes was weather factors; this response may have been biased as interviews were done in the late fall when weather was cold and rainy. In addition, many respondents did not own a bike. Bike Share Narrative The lack of knowledge or information regarding bike share seemed to be the main reason why people did not use bike share. While some people did not explicitly say they lacked information on bike share, answers such as not knowing the location of a bike share in the area and not understanding how costs were structured indicated that the respondents needed more information. Seemingly, however, even if people were given more information about bike shares, the barriers that were given to riding bikes in general were repeated. People across the board were not eager to bike, regardless of what form a bike was offered. Walking Narrative The largest barrier preventing people from walking to work is the distance from home to work. As one Benning Road Metro respondent put it, “there is no work nearby that you could walk

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to.” With large distances needing to be traveled, compounded with health, age, and weather limitations, people are unable or unwilling to walk to work. Car Narrative A large percentage of respondents preferred a personal car; however, due to a range of cost factors, people are unable to acquire a car. Beyond the costs of the car itself, people cited the costs of insurance, parking, and gas as additional barriers to using a car as their main transportation mode. Several respondents also said that they did not have a driver’s license. A few respondents also mentioned traffic concerns and a lack of parking near work as additional barriers preventing them from using a personal car. Car Share Narrative Similar to bike share, respondents had limited knowledge of how car shares work. Respondents cited that they were unsure of the costs of car shares and did not know where or how they would partake in car share. Other noted barriers were similar to those mentioned for cars: no driver’s license, traffic concerns, and the inconvenience of driving. Some respondents mentioned that they use car share but only for quick trips and not as a daily mode of transportation. Carpool Narrative Several barriers were cited for why people do not use carpools for their regular mode of transportation. Several respondents mentioned that they did not know someone with a car that drove to the same general location as they did, nor were the drivers on the same schedule as they are. While several respondents were open to the idea of carpooling, the prospect of matching routes and schedules seemed to be too much of a barrier for people to make carpooling work. Others noted concerns when it came to riding with strangers and felt safer taking the bus or train. Additional barriers to generally using cars in the city were given again.

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Taxi Narrative The major barrier preventing people from using taxis are their high costs. While some people mentioned that they took taxis for short trips or in case of emergency, no respondent took a taxi on a regular basis. In addition to the cost barrier, several said that they do not have access to taxis because taxis do not enter certain neighborhoods. POLICY SUGGESTIONS If respondents had time, surveyors asked four supplemental questions. The first question captured policy suggestions to make regular transportation options better. Many people immediately thought of ways to improve public transportation as opposed to private options. Many respondents requested lower fares, and more frequent, timely, and longer service, especially for the bus. More and/or improved service was requested for weekends, early mornings, and late evenings, with two requests for 24-hour service. Some people mentioned a need for increased security on public transportation, particularly around bus stations and on buses. Many people mentioned factors that would improve the overall experience of riding the bus, such as cleanliness, better customer service from the operators, and fewer disturbances by riders such as kids playing music and fighting. Some respondents complained about overcrowded buses and recommended bigger buses on major routes, more seating, and/or more routes at peak times. Suggestions for the train included better maintenance for tracks, elevators, and escalators, with minimal inconvenience to riders, especially during the weekend. Two respondents proposed a flat fare or better discounts when transferring between the train and the bus. One unemployed Anacostia Metro respondent noted, “A lot of people can't afford to use the options. It's like they're only trying to make transportation and the city only for rich people." There is a general feeling from this and other questions that transportation is decidedly unequal across DC, and that Wards 7 and 8 receive less attention.

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LIMITATIONS AND NEXT STEPS Given the compressed time scale of the research project and its exploratory nature, the research team opted for a targeted convenience sample rather than a more robust sampling technique, such as a stratified cluster sample or another systematic method. Most of the interviews occurred outside of six major Metro train/bus stations. As a result, most people included the bus or train as one of their primary modes of transportation. In future studies, researchers must recruit respondents who are in other spaces: grocery stores, churches, community gathering places, parks, libraries and even individual houses. This would eliminate sample bias toward Metro options. In addition, survey respondents did not include many people who chose to drive or carpool as their first option, an obvious bias as many personal car users would not be found at Metro stations. Although more robust methods would obviously be more difficult, they would be more likely to generate a statistically representative sample of the population in Wards 7 and 8. Surveyors included a suggestion for a change in the language of the survey. When identifying the Metro train, surveyors were instructed to say “Metro.” Respondents in Wards 7 and 8 often referred to the bus as “Metro,” causing initial confusion between the surveyors and respondents. In the future, when identifying the bus, surveyors should use “Metrobus” and when identifying the train, surveyors should use “Metrorail”. Some respondents had difficulty sorting through all nine of the Q-sort options, highlighting a potential flaw. In future studies, surveyors might limit the number of options to five or six (though the research team understands that traditional Q-sorts involve a larger, more complicated method entirely). In limiting options, the data might be less precise, but some respondents clearly lacked precision in ranking even nine options. Missing from the Q-sort was an option for a moped/scooter/motorcycle. It is unclear how adding another option to the Q-sort would have improved the quality of the results, but at least one respondent indicated that it should have been included.

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The survey team recognized the limits of data being gathered but opted for a short survey in order to maximize completion rates. In light of the success and positive reaction of respondents, future surveys might be able to take more time and probe more deeply into details about present transportation strategies, habits, directions, distances and routine variations. This study also did not gather data on gender, education level, exact income level, amount of money spent on travel, or race. As the survey was developed, these topics were purposefully avoided to mitigate negative reactions to surveyors in the field. However, in general, respondents did not react negatively to the sensitive questions that were included in the survey, so future studies should seek to gather more information to disaggregate even further. One very helpful question was the policy recommendations question. This question was nearly cut because it was deemed non-essential to understanding perceptions to mobility; however, many respondents gave additional information in response to this question that had not been gathered previously in the survey. The policy recommendation question was asked near the end of the survey, allowing respondents a chance to think about transportation through the course of the survey; most responded thoughtfully. Future surveys must recognize that individual commuters do have ideas to offer; one option to further probe the subject of policy would be to gather reactions to specific policy proposals and cost/benefit tradeoffs. When the survey results were being aggregated, surveyors estimated the respondents’ motivations to be in one or two of six different categories: enjoyment/safety, cost, convenience, consistency, only, and speed. This coding was applied after the survey was completed; though the research team believes that it captures the results of the survey, findings might be improved if respondents themselves categorized their own motivations rather than relying on surveyors to correctly code narratives into specific categories. Finally, some respondents did not know the ward in which they lived. For future surveys

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that disaggregate by Ward, surveyors could ask for street names at a major intersection near respondents’ residences to identify the ward. CONCLUSION This study provides the first completed experiment that documents the perceived barriers to mobility for residents of Wards 7 and 8 in Washington, DC. Though the limitations to the study are clear, and the data set is relatively small, the evidence provides a solid foundation to future studies that could elaborate on some of the initial results. The strongest empirical finding is that 80 percent of respondents identified public transportation as their primary mode, with most respondents citing issues related to the cost of their transit that dictates the largest barrier to their preferred ways of traveling the city. Indeed, the self-identifying low-income respondents drove the higher preference for public transportation because of their preference for the cheapest modes of travel. Nearly 70 percent of the respondents relied on at least one bus to complete their commute. Additionally, lowincome residents experienced significantly longer transportation times than non-low-income residents at 15.8 and 11.4 hours per week respectively. The three top preferred modes were the car, the bus, and the train. The empirical evidence also points toward a clear split between respondents who prefer car transport and those who do not. For those respondents who indicated a desire to use a personal vehicle to travel, many still cited the prohibitive cost of owning a vehicle that couples with already existing barriers in DC, such as heavy traffic, parking costs and parking scarcity, and the risk of accruing parking tickets. A future study could deconstruct the barriers to personal car ownership in order to uncover nuances related to the rate of people with or without drivers’ licenses, the access to credit to purchase a vehicle, and the ability to afford car maintenance and upkeep. Through quantitative and qualitative analyses, the research team of six data collectors has generated a study that begins to answer some timely questions about the residents of Washington, DC who live in the two most spatially isolated and racially segregated Wards of the city. The

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respondents have opened the way to a better understanding of perceived barriers to mobility in Wards 7 and 8. The answers given to the short survey have helped to construct a picture of what is involved in the transit patterns of a select group within southeast DC: while many respondents would prefer using their own vehicle, less than 10 percent of respondents have access to a vehicle, and most of the respondents use public transportation. Of the policy suggestions offered, many related to improving and increasing the public services that already exist. The second most cited perceived barrier to mobility after cost was convenience. Notably, respondents were not only interested in improving transit services, but they were also invested in the experience of their chosen mode, and they were hopeful for creative solutions that can make transportation a clean, efficient, accessible, and equitable resource for residents of every ward of Washington, DC.

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APPENDIX A SURVEY INSTRUMENT We are a team of students from American University and are interested in learning about transportation in Wards 7 and 8. This should take just a few minutes of your time; we have fewer than 10 questions and the survey will be anonymous and your participation is entirely voluntary. Do you consent to be interviewed? ( ) Yes If no, thank the person for her/his time and discontinue. Provide respondent with consent disclosure. SEMI-STRUCTURED QUESTIONNAIRE Delivered orally with answers copied (written) by the interviewer/team 1) DC resident? ( ) Yes ( ) No What ward do you live in? ______________ Are you over the age of 18? ( ) Yes If under 18, stop interview. 2) From start to finish, which mode or modes of transportation do you normally use to get to work, or wherever you go most regularly? Probe if respondent is uncertain/brief. “Could you explain more?” DO NOT suggest transport options. ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ 3) Why do you use these modes of transportation? Interviewer must attempt to capture nuance in the recorded response but also listen for key points to summarize. Probe if necessary. Only write down quotes that are particularly enlightening, interesting or compelling. ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ The following question uses a Q-sort method, where the respondent is given shuffled, predetermined cards labeled with transportation options:

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4) In relation to your transport needs, put these cards in order according to which modes of transportation you would most PREFER to use? (Card options: Metro, bus, personal bike, rented bike/bike share, walk, own/family car, rented car/car share, formal or informal car-pool, taxi) Interviewer can clarify that this is a Q-sort of options that they would like to use but may or may not currently use. After sort, read back cards in order out loud for accuracy and for record keeping. Most to least preferred: 1) ______________ 2) ______________3) ______________ 4) ______________ 5) ______________ 6) ______________7) ______________8) ______________ 9) ______________ 5) What stops you from using the other modes of transportation more often? Interviewer CAN refer to the preference results of the Q-sort. “You ranked X as more preferred… why don’t you use this more often.” ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ 6) Thinking about your transportation options, roughly how many hours a week to do you spend in transit? _______ Tell the respondent that we have a few basic background and demographic questions. Remind about anonymity. 7) Could you tell us your age? ______ 8) You don’t have to answer but the following question is important for the purposes of our study. Could you please tell us if you consider yourself to live in a low-income household? This information of course will remain anonymous. ( ) Low Income ( ) Not Low Income ( ) Declined If the respondent declines, follow with: Do you get paid by the hour? Do you mind telling me what kind of work you do? ( ) Hourly ( ) Not Hourly ( ) Decline Kind of work ____________________ 9) If you would feel comfortable in speaking more about this in the future would you be willing to give us your phone number? When would be the best time for us to call? Do you mind giving a first name so we can ask for you? Remind that this is an anonymous survey. Number: __________________________________ Time: _________________ Name: ___________________ Critical portion of the survey is now finished. Thank the respondent. If the respondent has more time, the following questions are optional. 10) If you could tell DC civic leaders one or two ways to make your regular transportation options better, what would you suggest? ______________________________________________________________________________

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______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ 11) If you need to get somewhere important, how are you most likely to travel? ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ 12) If you need to transport something — groceries or a child, for example — how do you travel? ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ 13) Is there anything else you’d like us to know about the barriers you face in getting where you need to go? ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________

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