Evaluation of a Transportation Incentive Program for Affordable Housing Residents

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, place - urban, ridership - disadvantage, ridership - mode choice, planning - methods, planning - signage/information, planning - marketing/promotion, planning - surveys, policy - equity, policy - fares, policy - social exclusion, literature review - literature review, economics - subsidy


transportation incentives, survey, Transportation Wallet, low-income populations


This study looks at initial results from the Transportation Wallet for Residents of Affordable Housing pilot program launched by the City of Portland’s Bureau of Transportation. The program provides a set of transportation incentives for low-income participants, including a US$308 prepaid Visa card that could be applied to public transit or other transportation services, a free bike share membership, and access to discounted rates on several services. A survey was conducted with the program’s participants (278 total responses) to understand how they used the Transportation Wallet and how the program helped them use different transport modes to get around. The main findings include: (1) The financial support of this program encouraged some participants to use new mobility services (including Uber/Lyft, bike share, and e-scooter) that they had never used before; (2) the program increased access for participants, helping them make more trips and, for some, get to places they otherwise could not have gone; and (3) transportation fairs, where participants could learn about services and talk to providers, promoted both mode sign-up and mode usage, particularly for new mobility services and a reduced fare transit program. The survey results also point to some opportunities to improve the program. Participant feedback suggests that transportation agencies do more to streamline and educate participants on how to use new mobility services and coordinate different service providers to optimize seamless services for participants. The paper provides insights into the implementation and effectiveness of a transportation financial incentive program for low-income populations.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by SAGE, copyright remains with them.