COVID-19 and Transit Equity Impacts in the DC Region
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.
Foursquare ITP led an analysis for the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) to evaluate services by day of week, time of day, span, and frequency of service at the stop level. Service was assessed 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 resulting report and interactive web maps, completed in June 2021 and updated with newer data in spring 2022, served as an important reference in the recovery of the public transportation system for the region from the pandemic.