Focus-19 Focus-19 STL

By car, bus or train? Transportation needs rising

Transportation needs are rising across the St. Louis region, but the kinds of help needed depend on where you live. Requests to 2-1-1 for transportation assistance dropped sharply during the first three months of the COVID-19 pandemic as many worked from home and were avoiding public gatherings, but have rebounded over the summer as parts of the economy began to re-open (chart, top).  Overall, transportation requests are up 35% compared to the first three months of the pandemic.  However, the demand for transportation assistance isn’t uniform.  We divided requests into two categories – automobile assistance and public transportation/ride sharing – and mapped requests for each by ZIP code. Requests for automobile assistance, which helps car owners who can’t afford to operate or repair their vehicle, were greatest in outlying ZIP codes in the St. Louis area (map, middle); requests for public transportation and ride sharing such as discounted fares or passes for mass transit were highest in more urban ZIP codes (map, bottom). These patterns likely reflect differences in availability of mass transit in the region, but also highlight the need for localized strategies to address transportation needs.

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