The Equitable Commute Project

A micromobility pilot program to advance transportation justice and get New York City moving again.

Project Summary

Disadvantaged NYC communities face especially long commutes, creating barriers to employment and harming overall well-being. The Equitable Commute Project (ECP) will provide electric commute options for frontline Bronx and Brooklyn workers by increasing ownership of micromobility through:

-> Fleet discounts and innovative finance.
Negotiate discounts from micromobility vendors, advance microloans to borrowers without traditional credit history, and subsidize 50% of the purchase price.

-> Outreach and education.
Partner with community-based organizations to promote economic mobility through micromobility, providing education to spur uptake.

-> Workforce development.
Prepare New Yorkers who face barriers to employment for jobs in the micromobility industry, which is expected to grow to a $300-500 billion market by 2030.

-> Data collection for replication.
Analyze data to create policy impact with dedicated research partners

-> Policy impact.
Leverage learnings to shape state and federal subsidies. Bring the voices of marginalized communities to the growing chorus of advocates pushing for investment in safe infrastructure.

The Challenge

COVID has put a spotlight on a growing transportation crisis. Currently, public transit continues to face funding, operations, and service challenges and our City, State, and Federal government is struggling to fund public transportation and urban mobility infrastructure.

Transportation injustice impacts lower income people of color the most. Of New York City's 1 million essential workers, nearly 250,000 are lower income, 75% are people of color, 60% are women, and 37% are over 50 years old. MTA service cuts have had a disproportionate impact on lower-income essential workers, many of whom reside in neighborhoods with limited transportation options. Unreliable transportation limits opportunity and keeps people in poverty. Cars are not a sustainable or affordable option -- but micromobility is.

The Opportunity

Micromobility use is skyrocketing. Electric modes have made two-wheeled transport accessible for all ages and abilities. Bike shops are sold out of inventory, Citi Bike is seeing unprecedented ridership, and bicycling is up +25% in some parts of NYC.

Still, micromobility is unaffordable for many New Yorkers. E-bikes cost +$1,500, while bicycles and e-scooters cost +$500 -- a big upfront expense for lower-income essential workers.

ECP strives to make micromobility accessible to those who need it now. Our goal is to advance practical solutions to get NYC moving again and to address a fundamental injustice in transportation.

We’re building off successful “bike match” programs led by the Economic Development Corporation and Transportation Alternatives to create a micromobility subsidy program that strives to get affordable micromobility modes into the hands of frontline and essential workers.

The ECP team is securing fleet discounts with micromobility manufacturers and will administer 50% subsidies to New Yorkers who qualify. We're working with local businesses and community organizations to promote the pilot, engage potential participants, and distribute micromobility subsidies and modes.

The Impact

During the course of a three-year pilot, ECP will directly provide up to 5,000 New Yorkers with an affordable micromobility mode. This addresses transportation access and also adds a critical mass of micromobility users on NYC streets to spur visionary new infrastructure investment and drive policy change.

Lessons will be packaged and used to advocate and inform government sponsored rebate or subsidy programs at the city, state, and federal level. We’ll conduct surveys and track key metrics, including time and money saved, economic opportunity accessed, emissions avoided, as well as qualitative impact, such as user experience.

The initiative will create green jobs and stimulate a more equitable recovery. We’ve partnered with Spring Bank, a CDFI and B-Corp, to provide accessible financing in the form of low-interest loans to the underbanked and those without credit history. We’re matching ECP participating employers with local, innovative vendors like Swiftmile who provide on-street charging infrastructure and like Oonee, who provide secure, modular parking solutions. We’re growing green jobs and working with the Hope Program to train the workforce needed to support micromobility.

Measuring Success and Maximizing Impact

Funding Partnerships

The ECP seeks to partner with government, corporate, and philanthropic civic leaders to advance this pilot, spur visionary new infrastructure investment, and drive policy change at the city, state, and federal levels. Partnership benefits include:

  • Visibility on key economic, climate, and transportation justice issues

  • Corporate branding potential

  • PR: national and global

  • Speaking opportunities at live events and webinars

  • A CSR program to tackle social injustice

  • Thought leader in structural, systematic, and sustainable mobility and social equity

  • International platform with the UN, WEF, WBCSD, etc

  • Research and intelligence on current policy topic


About ECP

ECP is a consortium of NYC-based NGOs, community development organizations, academics, and companies, including many who serve disadvantaged communities in the Bronx and Brooklyn. ECP is led by Transportation Alternatives (TA), with management support from Empire Clean Cities (ECC), and NYU Stern, organizations with experience in sustainable transport organizing, campaign implementation, and private sector engagement. Spring Bank, a B-Corp certified CDFI, is our financing partner, and already is developing a micromobility loan program that will be brought to scale under ECP. The HOPE Program will lead workforce development to expand access to green jobs in the micromobility industry. The implementation team includes Electric Avenue (EA), a firm with expertise in micromobility program implementation, as well as Barretto Bay, a leading community development consulting firm.

The ECP Team

The Growing Coalition

Contact

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