Clean mobility survey
What does it mean? Why does it matter?
In January of 2021, Regeneración - Pájaro Valley Climate Action and Ecology Action staff, working together with people from other organizations and the City of Watsonville staff, conducted a survey with the goal of:
Understanding the current transportation habits and needs of residents in the project area.
Understanding challenges faced by residents in accessing and using the different types of mobility options for themselves and their families.
Get an estimation of residents’ current knowledge of shared clean mobility options, and their
interest in learning about and using new shared mobility options.
Understand the demographic profile of the residents.
Collect baseline data to enable future measurement of progress for Watsonville City
Climate Action and Adaptation 2030 Plan goals, e.g., mode shift and awareness of various transportation options.
Why this project?
The entire City of Watsonville has limited access to clean, shared micro-mobility services compared to the City of Santa Cruz, which is nearly the same size and only 16 miles to the north. In comparison to Watsonville at the time of the survey being conducted, Santa Cruz had an electric bike-share program, Zipcar car-sharing, a greater number of bike lanes and higher rates of bicycling, and more electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.
As a wide spread of clean, shared mobility options have starting getting popular across California and the nation, Watsonville has not had access to these new forms of sustainable transportation. This is in part because private companies aren’t sure those services would make money in Watsonville, and there hasn't been research to see if residents even want these shared modes of transportation or if these extra options would help them.
What we found
● Many transportation challenges were identified in the survey responses, related to the built environment, lack of options, lack of awareness of options, affordability, lack of driver’s license, and inconvenience. Together these challenges make huge barriers for use of anything except cars, walking, and the bus, and even those options are hard to overcome for some respondents.
● These barriers are unbalanced and impact Spanish speakers much more: 19% of Spanish speakers are not able to get around easily, versus 9% of English speakers.
● Providing more transportation options is necessary in order to talk about the transportation barriers in the community as well as the negative effects on the environment and health because of reliance on cars. Successful transportation options for Watsonville must be affordable, convenient, reliable, and efficient.
● There is a tremendous opportunity for new transportation programs in Watsonville: 38% of Spanish-speaking respondents did not drive a car, which indicates a large potential audience for new, accessible modes of transportation.
● Given the overall low level of familiarity with the majority of transportation options, education must be a significant component of any new program.
● Given the high numbers of people already comfortable with sharing rides, as well as the high rate of car dependence, some kind of shared ride service might be a very good place to start, perhaps centered on neighborhood networks.
● When asked what new transportation options respondents would consider using for their commute trips, the top responses were shuttles, carpool services like Waze and Scoop, and driving alone. However, all transportation options except tricycle share (driving with others, bus, light rail, bicycle, walk/roll, Uber/Lyft, taxi, car-share, bike- share, scooter-share, and microtransit) received at least 20% interest for commute trips, indicating interest in a broad range of new transportation options in Watsonville.
Here, Have some graphs!
38% of Spanish speakers and 22% of English speakers don't drive cars!
Nearly 20% of Spanish speakers have a hard time moving around!
Most people drive alone everyday in environmentally unfriendly cars.
Most people don't use the bus, but primarily English speakers disproportionally refuse
Most people never used the bus! Why?
30% of respondents have to walk everyday!
But in addition, cars are hard to attain for many people.
... because it takes too long
Most Cars are not only bad for the environment, but they come with a variety of costs.
What does this all mean?
Ultimately, it all aboils down to this: Watsonville's residents are struggling to find consistent, cheap, and healthy ways to move around. Private loaners prey on residents with the knowledge that they don't have many other options. The Spanish community is unfairly affected by barriers to reliable and affordable eco-friendly transportation.
But there are ways to combat this. In fact, Regeneración has its own ideas:
Public Awareness Campaigns
Demonstrations or Pilot Programs
Expansion of Public Transit Options
Accessible Bike-Share Programs
Electric Vehicle Adoption
But if you want more details, more precise explanations, and even more graphs, then please take some time to check out the original survey here.