Columbia, MO
United States

Visualizing walking and biking infrastructure needs to advocate for equity-focused transportation investments.

Auto-centric city design in the United States has historically limited Black residents' access to transportation and vital necessities as well as severely curtailed their civic engagement. Black families in Columbia, Missouri, for instance, are less likely to own cars and twice as likely to walk or bike to work than the average city resident. And Columbia, like many US cities, currently has no monitoring system for transportation equity issues such as walking and biking safety or for infrastructure issues such as buckled sidewalks and incomplete bike lanes. This lack of tracking also means that the city has no way of examining infrastructure gaps for underserved populations, which means the government cannot prioritize investments.

Through this project, Local Motion aims to identify how structural racism has influenced existing transportation infrastructure and where new investments are most needed in Columbia. Local Motion is developing a crowdsourced reporting and mapping app called We Move for residents to report street-level walking, biking, and accessibility safety issues. We Move allows Local Motion and community leaders to collect resident-sourced entries in targeted Vision Zero priority neighborhoods about key transportation and infrastructure disparities. Priority neighborhoods include those with higher proportions of Black residents, residents with low incomes, and residents who do not own a vehicle. Local Motion will build a data visualization website including statistics on transportation, demographics, and community-identified needs to share with community leaders. It will work with a neighborhood leadership council, made up of individuals who live and work in the priority neighborhoods, to make sure the app and data visualizations are easy to use and have actionable information needed for advocacy campaigns.

The data visualization will allow Local Motion and leaders in Columbia’s Vision Zero priority neighborhoods to communicate transportation inequities to the Columbia city government. This information will help shape the use of future capital improvement program tax funds to target structural racism in transportation and allow residents to advocate for biking and walking safety and transportation infrastructure needs.