Foursquare ITP led two assessments of 13 transit operators to analyze how equitably service was distributed across the Metropolitan Washington region at two points of time during the pandemic compared to pre-pandemic service. In March 2020, transit agencies across the DC region drastically cut service in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Over ensuing months, transit service has been gradually restored to provide transportation for essential workers, many in the service economy and lifeline service workers, much of whom are transit-dependent travelers and/or are from traditionally disadvantaged populations, including minority, low-income, special needs, and/or limited English proficiency groups.

The analysis Foursquare ITP led evaluated services by day of week, time of day, span, and frequency of service at the stop level. We assessed service in comparison to COG’s Equity Emphasis Areas (EEAs), transit-dependent populations, traditionally disadvantaged populations, and in comparison to the travel needs of essential workers for the region as a whole and all bus operators.

The analysis focused on assessing COVID-19 era transit service against the need for transit service by these groups and included quantifying access to jobs within 45-minutes for all populations. The resulting report, completed in June 2021, served as an important reference in the recovery of the public transportation system for the region from the pandemic. In Spring 2022, Foursquare ITP updated the analysis with more recent transit data, after more operators had restored more service. The Foursquare ITP team developed interactive web maps developed during both phases of the project. The 2022 version is available.