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Brakewood Part of Grant to Study Equity Issues in Cashless Fare Payments

Candace Brakewood Stands in Front of Train


UT Assistant Professor Candace Brakewood is one of five researchers across three universities who are collaborating on a new project funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC).

Brakewood, of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UT, will be part of a team taking a look at the socioeconomic effects of modernizing transit fare payment systems.

As public transit agencies modernize systems, the opportunity to pay with cash is eliminated, which stands to impact low-income segments of the population.

“As public transit providers harness the power of new technologies—such as mobile apps for fare payment—it is critical that we consider underrepresented populations and find inclusive solutions that meet the needs of all transit riders. This research project will take an important step toward achieving this goal,” said Brakewood.

Statistics show that 15 percent of adults in the US don’t have a bank account or credit card, and many do not have access to a smartphone. These numbers may be even higher among public transportation users.

The research project will take a closer look at how modernization of fare payment systems will impact digitally excluded riders.

Specifically, the objectives include qualitative and quantitative approaches to answer the following:

  • What kind of advanced fare payment systems are being implemented, and what measures are used to address concerns of exclusion?
  • How effective are these mitigations for addressing exclusion in different populations from a user perspective?
  • How effective are these mitigations in terms of agency costs?

Along with Brakewood, other researchers come from Portland State University and the University of Oregon.

The research project begins in 2019 and is expected to be completed in 2020. For more information, read the NITC press release. NITC is one of five US DoT-funded national University Transportation Centers.

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