Negotiating Transportation Insecurity; Local Responses and Coping Strategies in San Jose, CA

This research investigates how residents respond and adapt to transportation insecurity in San Jose. Similar, to food insecurity and water insecurity, transportation insecurity refers to situations in which an individual lacks the physical, social, and economic means to access safe and reliable transportation to maintain a healthy and productive life. Transit insecurity limits mobility and access to other resources like food, healthcare, and work, especially for the elderly, people living in low-income neighborhoods, or peripheral communities with limited access to transportation infrastructure. While social scientists have well-developed understandings of how people typically respond and adapt to food and water insecurity, research on local adaptions and responses to transit insecurity are lacking. To achieve the study objectives, this research will use a short screening protocol to recruit qualified participants. The protocol consists of seven short questions that ask the participants about particular transportation situations that are related to transportation insecurity. After screening participants, the project Co-PI (Andrew Ng) will conduct 20 semi-structured interviews that pertain to transportation, transportation insecurity, and coping strategies. In the data analysis phase, the project will use inductive thematic analysis to code for themes or patterns on transportation insecurity, coping mechanisms, and mobility. This project structure achieves the goal of understanding how people react to and cope with transportation insecurity. Results of this research will be used in academic publications of interest to social scientists studying resource insecurity, as well as to urban planners, transportation managers, and local communities looking to create more inclusive transportation infrastructure.

Mineta Consortium for Transportation Mobility
San José State University
Principal Investigator: 
Melissa Beresford, PhD
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 – $6,515.68


Total Project Cost: 
Agency ID or Contract Number: 
September 2020 to March 2022
Impacts/Benefits of Implementation: 

This research will provide more information about transportation issues in San Jose, while potentially helping city planners and government officials improve transportation infrastructure in the future by highlighting major concerns of residents and local solutions that may have the potential to be mobilized by other communities or in other locations.

Project Number: 



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SJSU Research Foundation   210 N. 4th Street, 4th Floor, San Jose, CA 95112    Phone: 408-924-7560   Email: