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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Federal Transit Administration Announces Funding to Explore Transportation Insecurity that Leads to Poverty

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

WASHINGTON – One in four Americans is unable to regularly and reliably access transportation they require to meet their daily needs. With that in mind, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today announced funding to research this challenge, known as transportation insecurity. A growing body of research indicates that transportation insecurity is a significant factor in persistent poverty. FTA is awarding a $6 million grant to the University of Minnesota to lead a team of researchers who will design a program that identifies and addresses the contributing factors leading to transportation insecurity. 

"Transportation gives us the freedom our nation was founded upon," said FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez. "Without reliable and resilient transportation, more people will end up in poverty, and fewer will be able to improve their lives. This grant will improve access to jobs, food and healthcare – the ingredients to a better quality of life."

Nationally, several well-established policies and programs aim to address food insecurity and housing insecurity, but not transportation insecurity. 

Following a competitive process, FTA is awarding $6 million to the University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies, Toole Design Group, and the Center for Neighborhood Technology and Urban Movement Labs to design and lead the new Mobility, Access and Transportation Insecurity: Creating Links to Opportunity Program (MATI) research program. 

The MATI program will develop and implement demonstrations that rely on public transportation to mitigate transportation insecurity and evaluate outcomes and effectiveness. The team also will document the impacts and potential strategies to address transportation insecurity, such as improved access to job training that leads to improved work performance and often results in increased earnings. 

After recruiting and selecting representative communities, the research team, in cooperation with defined populations, will document the impacts and potential strategies to address transportation insecurity.

As part of the research project, the consortium will establish partnerships with local community-based organizations to ensure cultural diversity and equity in the populations identified through the MATI research program.

The research team was chosen in a competitive process in response to a notice of funding opportunity posted last August.

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