- The City of Pittsburgh partners with Spin and three mobility service providers to pilot a program aimed at serving low-income residents by providing free transportation.
- The project is intended to help improve eligible residents’ access to jobs, education, and basic services and ultimately elevate their socio-economic status.
- Carnegie Mellon University will be conducting research and evaluating the project, tracking the economic, health, and social outcomes of 100 participants.
SAN FRANCISCO, 17 August (00:01 PT) - The City of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, and Spin, a leading micromobility service provider, are launching today a first-of-its-kind study that will give up to 50 low-income residents in Pittsburgh free access to shared mobility and public transit services to study its effects on participants’ socioeconomic progress. Providing affordable and reliable transportation to all, otherwise known as universal or guaranteed basic mobility is considered one of the main factors that can enable upward socioeconomic mobility. The year-long research will study the potential of free transportation to improve people’s economic, health, and social outcomes when financial barriers to transportation are removed, with a goal of improving access to jobs, education, healthcare, social services, and recreational activities.
Pioneering research like this is critical to shape local and national policies that ultimately improve people’s lives. The trial will focus on residents of the Manchester and Chateau neighborhoods of Pittsburgh, with recruiting and ongoing support provided by the Manchester Citizens Corporation. Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) will evaluate the trial. Eligible participants will receive free access to the Move PGH transportation services including public transit, Spin scooters, POGOH bikes, and Zipcar. The pilot is funded by a $200,000 grant awarded from the Richard King Mellon Foundation, with Spin contributing an additional $50,000.
“Having access to affordable and reliable transportation is critical in helping families across our city find a pathway to prosperity,” said Pittsburgh Mayor, Ed Gainey. “This pilot program will help us more fully understand just how much of an impact transportation has on the lives and wellbeing of people in Pittsburgh.”
In total, 100 people will take part in the pilot and will be randomly allocated to two groups: 50 of them will receive free access to Move PGH transportation services, and 50 of them will not*, to allow for comparison. Analysis will include survey and travel behavior data collected from participants and the transportation service providers, along with anonymized details on participants’ income and use of various forms of public assistance from the Allegheny County Department of Human Services. The research is expected to conclude next summer.
"Making mobility more equitable and reliable is central to Spin's mission and we see great potential for positive impact in the Pittsburgh community, and beyond” said Philip Reinckens, CEO at Spin. “By piloting a wide variety of free transit and mobility options, cities and service providers like Spin are looking to support data-driven policy making that will ultimately improve people’s lives.”
The Manchester neighborhood was specifically chosen for the program as the median income is this area is 14% below median income in the City of Pittsburgh**. The economic opportunity of the Central Business District, where there is a higher number of jobs and services is just out of reach for people living in the Manchester neighborhood because of high transportation pricing and limited transit options. However, with better access to employment, education and various services comes the potential to improve participants’ quality of life and access to opportunities.
"Affordable transportation is a huge issue in Manchester and many of our neighbors, unfortunately, don’t have many opportunities within their own neighborhood and need to go elsewhere,” said LaShawn Burton Faulk, Executive Director of the Manchester Citizens Corporation.”We are excited to be home to this UBM pilot and see how it might improve the quality of life of our most vulnerable Manchestrians."
*Those in the control group will receive financial compensation for taking part in the research.
** As noted in the Manchester Neighborhood Plan
About The City Of Pittsburgh
The City of Pittsburgh Department of Mobility and Infrastructure (DOMI) provides the physical mobility necessary to support the social and economic movement of the people of Pittsburgh through the management, design, improvement, and operation of the public right-of-way. DOMI’s work is guided by the city’s core mobility principles including that no one dies or is seriously injured traveling on city streets; that our streets reflect the values of our community; and that the combined cost of transportation, housing, and energy does not exceed 45% of household income for any income group. For more information about DOMI, visit: https://pittsburghpa.gov/domi/
About Manchester Citizens Corporation
Manchester Citizens Corporation (MCC) is one of the nation's oldest and most sophisticated community development organizations. Community leaders formed the Corporation in 1965 to create a neighborhood-based approach in response to widespread blight and abandonment. MCC operates within the Manchester Historic District, which is Pittsburgh's largest historic district under the National Register of Historic Places, preserved for its early 19th century-built Late Victorian-style houses. MCC is one of the first urban, community-based organizations in the nation to link historic preservation with economic development.
About Carnegie Mellon University
Carnegie Mellon University, cmu.edu, is a private, internationally ranked research university with acclaimed programs spanning the sciences, engineering, technology, business, public policy, humanities and the arts. Our diverse community of scholars, researchers, creators and innovators is driven to make real-world impacts that benefit people across the globe. With a bold, interdisciplinary and entrepreneurial approach, we do the work that matters.
Spin, recently acquired by TIER Mobility, operates electric bikes and scooters on North American cities and campuses. Spin launched the first-ever stationless bike share program in the United States and was instrumental in crafting the world’s first mobility permitting system that is now used around the world. Spin consists of a diverse team of experienced professionals from government and private sectors, and the transportation advocacy world, all of whom are committed to fulfilling the company’s mission - to help create a world full of 15 minute cities. https://www.spin.app