2021 Research Project

COVID-19 streets: Mobility justice and the rapid rollout of pedestrian and bicyclist improvements

Principal Investigator
Tab Combs
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
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Co-Principal Investigator
Krista Nordback
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
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Project Slide Deck


The “COVID Streets” movement may be an indicator of evolution in the transport field. But questions remain over whether this change supports more equitable planning processes that are necessary to achieve safer outcomes for all users. This research will explore the ways in which cities approached equity and public engagement in the process of planning and implementing rapid rollout pedestrian and bicycle facilities, and the impacts of those facilities, using a mobility justice framework for evaluation.
Our primary objective is to identify, describe, and disseminate lessons from rapid rollouts that may lead to the development of more timely, equitable, and ultimately safer deployments of pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure in a post-pandemic future. The proposed research focuses specifically on the planning process, with a secondary focus on links among planning process, intervention design, and utility. We anticipate concurrent and future studies will focus on design and outcomes.
Findings from this research can be used to inform efforts to shorten timelines for planning, design, and implementation of potentially life-saving pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure while promoting a more equitable public process and more just distribution of benefits. The research will build knowledge on the relationships among planning process, design, and implementation of pedestrian and bicycle facilities, and identify how synergies between safe systems and mobility justice can be leveraged to improve transportation safety for all users.

Project Details

Project Type: Research
Project Status: Active
Start Date: 5/1/2021
End Date: 6/30/2022
Contract Year: Year 5
Total Funding from CSCRS: $47,149