Impacts of COVID-19 on Transportation in Los Angeles County
Our current transportation system is so carcentric that for many, purchasing a vehicle feels like a prerequisite for participating in society and accessing basic social and economic opportunities. For low-income families, obtaining, insuring, fueling, maintaining, and repairing an automobile can be a heavy financial burden and significant source of stress. Furthermore, the disparate costs associated with vehicle ownership are a manifestation of systemic racism. Automobile insurance companies continue to engage in redlining practices, charging residents of high-minority and low-income neighborhoods higher premiums for similar policies. Moreover, people of color and low-income households tend to pay higher prices for lower quality vehicles, as they are more often steered into exploitative financing options. Despite the challenges of vehicle ownership, the transportation system has been designed in such a way that the alternative—not owning a car—is often worse. To move easily around the city, many struggling families feel forced to make sacrifices and take financial risks to take part in what is increasingly acknowledged as a dangerous and environmentally unsustainable mode of travel.
We envision a transportation future in which all people—of every age, ability, income, zip code, race, and ethnicity—feel safe and free, experience a sense of community, and can easily access their basic needs.
Especially in Los Angeles, public transit service relies heavily on sales tax revenues, but due to the economic shutdown, these revenues are now down by a third
- 7.1% 7.1%
Public transit ridership among the white population has significantly dropped, while Black and Latino riders now compose the majority of Transit users.
- 80% 80%
Blumenberg and Brozen estimated that only 9 percent of Los Angeles County’s population lived within a 20-minute walk of a walk-up site. Those who need testing but do not live within walking distance might still take the bus, but this would mean increasing their risk exposure to the virus.
- 9% 9%
5 Transportation Policy Recommendations
The report puts forward 5 recommendations for policy and practical action.
Work closely with grassroots organizations to solve transportation issues.
Reduce barriers to active transportation and encourage choice.
Review minimum parking requirements.
Develop both community power and accompanying metrics to hold systems accountable.
Promote leadership and alignment for equity across business, community, philanthropy, and multiple levels of government
Our Streets Our Stories
[Prior to COVID-19] … I don’t drive … I ride share and I Metro from Long Beach to Little Tokyo for work. When shelter-in-place happened, I was like, great, I don’t have to ride. I’ll just work from home, no big deal. But the elimination of safety for taking a Lyft and public transport for health safety that really impacted me… Like normally I would take the bus to the laundromat and Lyft back home with my clean laundry, no big deal. When COVID-19 happened, I couldn’t go anywhere, I was like what am I supposed to do … the logistics of everyday life have really been a pain.” – Focus Group Participant