Jamaal Schoby

Document Type


Date of Award



Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs (SOPA)

Degree Name

Ph.D. in Urban Planning and Environmental Policy

Committee Chairperson

Carol A. Lewis, Sheri L. Smith

Committee Member 1

Gwendolyn C. Goodwin

Committee Member 2

Bum S. Chun

Committee Member 3

Beverly A. Scott


• Microtransit • Suburban poverty • Transit disadvantaged populations


During the past decade, urban cities have been inundated with a plethora of on-demand smartphone enabled transportation services including ridesoucring, ridesplitting, and most recently microtransit. At the same time, local governments are accentuating the gentrification of blighted central city neighborhoods. While the revitalization is causing an increase in the tax base and property values, the adverse impacts are resulting in rising housing cost and the displacement of socio-economic disadvantaged African Americans. A mounting body of research is finding this demographic group migrating outward to suburban low-density spatially fragmented areas for affordable housing. However, transit coverage and supply are minimal to non-existent in suburban low-density landscapes. Microtransit has emerged as one mobility solution to increase access and improve connectivity for socioeconomic disadvantaged populations (also referred to as transit disadvantaged populations) living in suburban transit deserts. The purpose of this study is to examine the intersection of suburban poverty and demand response transit and is guided by the following question: how can microtransit serve as a FM-LM mobility solution in suburban outer-ring transit deserts to increase access to employment opportunities and essential destinations for transit disadvantaged populations? To answer the question, a four-tier methodology was applied to Houston (Harris County), Texas. Using demographic and socioeconomic data from the U.S. Census and American Community Survey (ACS), a demographic longitudinal ring analysis found that during the past 20 years, the racial minority and low-income share has increased significantly in outer-ring spaces. Two areas reached the level of concern - Alief and Greater Greenspoint. Findings from the Transit Equity Emphasis Area Assessment found that the Greenspoint area had the highest concentration of transit dependent populations. Lastly, a Microtransit On-Demand (MOD) framework was developed between the severe suburban transit equity emphasis area (Greenspoint) and essential destinations to fill the gap in transit provision. Microtransit can serve as one mobility solution to safeguard transit equity in suburban outer-ring spaces, serving as first mile-last mile connection to/from fixed route bus and transit facilities.


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