Building an Oasis in a Transportation Desert

This project focuses on transportation insecurity and locally created transportation infrastructure. Specifically, this research will examine how people in transit insecure areas of San Jose mobilize local, informally created transportation infrastructure. I will draw on scholarly literature on mobility, the politics of transportation, and infrastructure and resource insecurity to guide my research design. In doing so, this project will shed light on how people cope with transportation insecurity and highlight whether or not people are able to develop and modify their local transportation infrastructure to suit their needs. This research will gain insight into local knowledge that has the potential to inform urban planning and policy efforts aimed at alleviating transportation insecurity and building more inclusive and sustainable transit systems. Additionally, this research aims to make a novel contribution to the anthropological literature on resource insecurity. Recent anthropological scholarship on resource insecurity examines the causes, coping responses, and effects of resource insecurity through examinations of food insecurity and water insecurity (Wutich and Brewis 2014). This project will extend this framework to examine how people cope with insecure transportation access—a vital resource in present-day post-industrial economies.


Mineta Consortium for Transportation Mobility
San José State University

Principal Investigator: 

Melissa Beresford, Ph.D.

PI Contact Information:
San José State University

Funding Source(s) and Amounts Provided (by each agency or organization): 

U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology – $5,000


Total Project Cost: 


Agency ID or Contract Number: 



March 2020 to April 2021

Project Number: