How 7 Americans got around their cities in 2018 - Curbed

Stories of people tracking everything from their food intake to their weekly expenditures to their Sunday morning rituals seemed to dominate social media feeds in 2018. Here at Curbed, we were curious about something else—how regular people get around their cities.

In 2018, we asked seven Americans in cities coast-to-coast to track their multimodal journeys for a week and report back for a series we called Transit Diary.

The meticulous (and often hilarious) documentation of such seemingly banal activities revealed some fascinating insights. In an age where some people have more options than ever, how do they decide to get from A to B? What does it take for commuters to choose more sustainable modes? Is technology helping or hurting? And how can transit agencies serve their most vulnerable riders in a better way?

Follow along with our seven transit diarists to experience the highs and lows of what it took to get around town in 2018.

How climate leader Chanell Fletcher gets around the Bay Area

I missed the An Inconvenient Truth wave in 2006, but a presentation by Urban Habitat in 2009 exposed me to the built-in inequities around how communities and transportation systems are planned, built, and funded. Before that presentation, I never thought about why most people of color resided in North and South Sacramento (which are still suffering from the historic impacts of red-lining; if you’re interested, check out these maps), or that there was a word for where I grew up: sprawl development, low-density housing units on the outskirts of the city center.

As I go through my meetings—and today, my calendar is filled with meetings and conference calls—I keep thinking: Access is key. The woman I met on the bus takes transit for the same reasons I do: It’s easy and accessible for us. What does it look like to create that same ease for communities like the ones that I grew up in? That’s the part of ClimatePlan’s work that really speaks to me: How do we address the historic inequities that create barriers for people to have options to get around?

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