Delivering on equity with mobility technologies: How transportation agencies can promote equitable innovation | Climate Group Skip to main content
Anant Dinamani, Deloitte Consulting LLP

Delivering on equity with mobility technologies: How transportation agencies can promote equitable innovation

18 April 2023, 14:41 UTC 3 min read

Anant Dinamani, Kelley Schneider, Patrick Zubin, Justin Porter

Originally published by Deloitte Insights.

Deloitte is joining the US Climate Action Summit this year as a sponsor. Register to watch virtually on April 19 here.

Without warning, The COVID-19 pandemic altered how our communities work, move, and connect. Three years later, some of these changes—such as the white-collar shift to remote work—have proven durable.(1) Patterns of shopping, employment, and leisure continue to evolve, reflecting changing public preferences and anxieties.(2)

The transportation industry, responsible for keeping people and goods moving, has been on the frontlines of COVID disruptions and the emergence of new travel patterns. The pandemic’s impact, however, has been distributed unevenly across different demographics, sectors, and modes. Inequalities embedded in our transportation system have become clear to many observers, as has the important stabilizing role played by public transportation agencies.(3)

Throughout the worst surges and business closures, these agencies provided critical access to mobility for millions of “essential workers,” often low-income and minority travelers, who continued to travel to medical facilities, grocery stores, warehouses, and other critical sites daily. Inequities in where people worked and how they travelled highlighted new opportunities for transit and mobility agencies to address broader societal challenges, and as the pandemic progressed many agencies renewed their focus on their core ridership in service of broader equity and development goals.(4) This focus now has become a societal imperative, particularly in view of the looming impacts of climate change on vulnerable populations and society at large.

To achieve a sustainable post-COVID recovery while meeting equity goals, transportation agencies should consider making a strategic commitment to real change. New technologies, service plans, and infrastructure projects can advance these objectives—and should be accompanied by meaningful performance metrics to measure success and guarantee accountability.

To limit the impact of future crises, this commitment will require adaptability. Developments in technology, performance measurement, and agency resources have produced a new array of tools and best practices that transportation agencies can use to make strategic decisions more quickly and accurately than ever before. But leaders must ensure that community needs remain at the center of planning.

Transportation agencies need a renewed framework to assess and measure these projects without diverting focus or resources from their core operations. This paper offers such a framework, incorporating cross-industry insights to provide leading practices for technology deployments that can enhance mobility and equity for all travelers.

This article was originally published on Deloitte Insights. To read the full article please visit the Deloitte Insights website.

End Notes:

  1. Deloitte, “Executives share their plans for returning to the workplace,” 2021.

 View in Article

  1. See, for instance: American Public Transportation Association, “On the horizon: Planning for postpandemic travel,” November 2021.

 View in Article

  1. See for instance: American Public Transportation Association, “Moving the Nation Through Crisis: Mobility Recovery & Restoration Task Force Report,” October 2020.

 View in Article

  1. Songhua Hu and Peng Chen, “Who left riding transit? Examining socioeconomic disparities in the impact of COVID-19 on ridership,” Transportation Research 90, January 2021; and Aarian Marshall, “Public transit systems refocus on their core riders,” Wired, January 3, 2022.

 View in Article