Equitable Access to Public Transportation

How might we provide mobility resources that are accessible to the many diverse needs of people in San Diego?


In one day, a person experiencing homelessness, a first-year student dorming at UCSD, and a businessperson in Carmel Valley might all want to take a trip to the Downtown Library. To the businessperson in her Prius, the first year with access to ridesharing apps, and the person experiencing homelessness without a car or enough income to rideshare, the same trip to and from the library would be radically different in difficulty. Yet, all three people are citizens of San Diego. All share the right to access its public spaces, and all share the need to move about the city for work, food, and play. Citizens of our city may have different levels of physical ability or financial access, and the city’s transportation networks cannot restrict their access on these grounds.

Specific angles to explore

San Diego’s history makes it a challenge to ensure public transportation is accessible. The privileging of the automobile placed public transportation in a second-class role. Existing public transportation may face low levels of ridership, local opposition to expansion, and the challenge of servicing sparsely populated, spread-out areas. Think about how to make public transit a priority for lawmakers and for new riders to reduce the city’s overall carbon footprint.

Public transport networks: How might public transportation networks in rural areas increase their ridership when the population is very spread out?

Prefer car over public transport: How might people in higher income strata come to see public transit as preferable over their car?

Funding constraints: How might we integrate areas of San Diego such as Torrey Pines or Carmel Valley into the city’s public transportation network, given political and funding constraints?