Document Type

Honors Project - Open Access


This research examines disadvantaged populations’ accessibility and mobility in the non-car transportation system in St. Louis. By employing mixed methods, this research investigates accessibility and mobility through three distinct scholarly lenses: physical infrastructure and proximity, individual experiences, and political processes. The thesis synthesizes the analyses from these three approaches in order to provide holistic policy recommendations for creating more equitable transportation systems in St. Louis and beyond. Empirical findings show that neighborhoods with lower median incomes and lower percentages of white population in St. Louis are less accessible for biking and walking, with highly variable public transit accessibility. Bike system connectivity presents a barrier to mobility for people across the city, and dockless bike share, once thought to be a panacea for bike equity in the city, failed after less than a year in operation. Walking mobility remains an acute challenge in disadvantaged neighborhoods, as sidewalk infrastructure crumbles and safety issues persist. Public transit accessibility and mobility are multi-layered and highly dependent on individuals’ patterns of life and desired destinations; for some people, the system works efficiently, while for others, trips can be inconvenient or unpleasant. Overall, the insights from interrogating non-car accessibility and mobility in St. Louis generate two major recommendations for creating more equitable non-car transportation systems: 1) “commoning mobility,” which refers to cultivating mobility policies around collective ownership and responsibility, rather than scarcity of money, street space, or time, and 2) advocating across temporal and geographic scales to bring about this “commoning” in large and small ways.



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