Monday, July 14, 2014

Mobile Voice on Display at Transit Equity Panel

Mobile Voice is grateful to have been asked to take part in the Transit Equity Panel that the NC Justice Center is hosting on July 25th... Several great panelists well worth hearing! We'll have our participant photographs on display, and we'll be passing out information on our project! 

Transit Equity: A Platform for Growth and Economic Prosperity


 Friday, July 25th

8:00 a.m.-9:30 a.m.
Junior League of Raleigh
Breakfast will be served ($5)
Sponsored by the Budget & Tax Center and WakeUP Wake County

Keynote Speaker: Sarita Turner, Senior Associate, PolicyLink

Panelists:  Karen Rindge, Executive Director of WakeUP Wake County
Tazra Mitchell, Policy Analyst, NC Budget and Tax Center
Corey Branch, Board Member, Raleigh Transit Authority

As counties in the Triangle move forward with plans to expand transit options and enhance mobility, please join us for a discussion about the importance of incorporating equity components into transit planning. By prioritizing and committing to equitable development, lawmakers can ensure that the benefits of transit investments are broadly shared so low- and moderate-income residents will not be left behind as new opportunities enter the Triangle.  Transit investments can be a powerful force for social and economic equity if lawmakers choose to protect residents from displacement and enhance connectivity by coordinating transit, housing, and jobs policies. The result: strong, affordable, and accessible communities. 

There will be also be a photo display at the event of The Mobile Voice Project (MVP), which seeks to empower individuals to develop strategies to improve their day-to-day mobility through a process of participatory photo documentation, critical discussion, and self-advocacy efforts. MVP originated as an ongoing research partnership between North Carolina State University and the Women’s Center of Wake County to improve the mobility of homeless women in Raleigh, NC. MVP partnerships continue to grow to include other community stakeholders in the hope of engaging many diverse groups in promoting positive change related to mobility in our community.

Sarita Turner has over 20 years of experience working in the non-profit sector bringing attention and resources to causes that address the impacts of institutionalized racism and the disinvestment of people and neighborhoods. Under Sarita’s leadership, significant infrastructure investments, business improvement district pilots, arts in community development and resident/law enforcement partnerships have effectively been brought to disinvested neighborhoods and communities. Now living in Oakland, CA, Sarita serves in the role of Senior Associate at PolicyLink, a national, equity-focused, research and policy advocacy organization. In her role with PolicyLink, Sarita works on the development and implementation of equity-focused national and local policies in partnership with the constituents of the Sustainable Communities Initiative and other federal and local projects.

Karen Rindge is the Executive Director of WakeUP Wake County, a non-profit citizens’ organization promoting good growth solutions in Wake County and the Triangle. Since 2006, she has led the development and advocacy of the WakeUP organization, serving first as Chair. She also serves as convener of the Capital Area Friends of Transit, an alliance of organizations, leaders, and citizens working for a regional transit system. Formally, Rindge was a legislative representative and grassroots organizer for both Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the National Wildlife Federation in Washington DC, advocating for international reproductive health assistance.

Corey D. Branch is a Raleigh, NC native who is committed to bringing technologically and socially sound solutions to the City of Oaks.  He holds an Electrical Engineering degree from NCA&T and has been employed with AT&T for 14 years.  He serves as a member of the Raleigh Wake Citizens Association (RWCA), a member of the Board of Directors for Wake Up, Wake County, and as a member of the Raleigh Transit Authority on the Marketing Committee.  Corey hopes, through his committed involvement, to promote sustainable communities and advance the quality of life for all people. 

Tazra Mitchell joined the Budget & Tax Center, a project of the NC Justice Center, in August 2011. Prior to joining the NC Justice Center, Tazra served as an Intern and Legislative Assistant in the Office of State Representative Becky Carney. She also worked as a Research Assistant in the non-partisan Fiscal Research Division of the NC General Assembly where she worked directly with budget writers to develop the state General Fund budget and analyzed legislative proposals to determine the fiscal impact on state government resources. Tazra’s policy interests include fiscal and economic policy, and her work at the Budget and Tax Center focuses on analysis of the state budget, poverty, and communities of opportunity with an eye toward low-income people. 

Event Location

Junior League of Raleigh 711 Hillsborough Street
Raleigh,  27603

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Mobile Voice Project Awarded Go Triangle Golden Mode Award

Mobile Voice Project is proud to announce that we have been awarded the Community Champion award for the 2013 Golden Modes awards from the GoTriangle! The Golden Modes honors those extraordinary commuters that not only love their sustainable commute but also promote sustainable transportation options to their family, friends, colleagues and neighbors. 

Check out our video interview!  


Monday, April 29, 2013

Notable News in Mobility: The Right to Transportation

When the average American thinks about their own transportation experience, we usually think of how to get around traffic or how to cut a few minutes off our daily commute. We usually don’t have to consider whether or not we will have the ability to get to where we need to go; rather we just focus on how to make it a more enjoyable experience. But for many Americans, like those participating in the Mobile Voice Project, simply getting from place to place can be a daily struggle. This article by Wired asserts that transportation is should not be a privilege few enjoy, but a civil right to which all have access.  Every citizen should have the right to adequate transportation because “access to transportation is key to connecting the poor, seniors and those with disabilities to jobs, schools, health care and other resources. It is essential to widening opportunities for all.”  Without adequate transportation options opportunities that should be open to all are being withheld from those most in need. 

The women we work with everyday as a part of the Mobile Voice Project are among those with inadequate access to opportunities that could lead them to independence and an equal opportunity at financial security. I think it’s time for us as a community to come together and take the perspective of those less able to access the things in life many of us take for granted. When the federal government allocates 80 percent of its transportation funding to highways, and Americans in the lowest 20 percent income bracket spend up to 42 percent of their annual income on transportation, the way funds are allocated needs to change to assisting transportation-disadvantaged populations. As a community we can pressure our elected officials to make these changes. Let your voice be heard!

Sources: WIRED

Comments? Questions? Sound off on our Facebook page. 

Author: Nicholas Flickinger

Friday, April 26, 2013

Photo of the Week: "Speedy Service"

Speedy Service
This week one of our MVP participants submitted a picture of the information booth at Moore Square Station in downtown Raleigh.

The participant who took this photo listed this booth as a 'boost' to her transportation situation - something that helps her get around town. In her own words:

"The information desk is a boost because it allows you to buy passes in advance and to see what bus connects with other buses. The service is speedy."

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Notable News in Mobility: New Transit Hub Could Mean New Transit Future

The plan and design of a new downtown transit station was recently revealed at a meeting conducted at Meymandi Concert Hall. The project would cost an estimated $60 million and would serve as Amtrak’s new home. The facility located at 510 W. Martin St. would also serve as a hub for buses. The exciting possibility is that the station could also be equipped to house a future light rail connecting Wake and Orange County. The half-cent sales tax increase to fund the project has already been approved by the voters of Orange County and County Commissioners. The question is whether or not Wake county voters and county commissioners will take the leap and approve measures to push the plan forward in Raleigh.

Another big question is whether or not the new light rail service will serve low-income areas along its route. Having a light rail with stations serving disadvantaged areas could go a long way in expanding the transportation options and ultimately the opportunities available to populations that have limited access to personal vehicles, like our MVP participants. Even if these services are made geographically available, however, financial barriers could erase any potential benefit for low-income communities. If fares for the light rail are set out of reach for transportation-disadvantaged individuals, then the service could have no benefit to them at all. Hopefully some form of financial assistance based on need can be drafted and discussed along with proposed tax increases to finance the project.

The next public hearing on the new transportation hub will be in May. Hopefully the interests of those most in need of public transportation improvement will be kept in consideration as the discourse moves forward. If you want your voice to be heard on the issues contact your County Commissioners.

Sources: WRAL and Our Transit Future

Comments? Questions? Sound off on out Facebook page.

Author: Nicholas Flickinger

Friday, April 19, 2013

Photo of the Week: "Hard to Downsize"

Hard to Downsize

This is a photo taken by one of our participants this week to represent a barrier she faces to getting around town each week. 

What she wanted to illustrate with this photo was the difficulty of carrying around multiple bags. When asked what she does to make it easier, she mentioned downsizing as a strategy. But even that has its disadvantages:

"It's really hard to downsize when [you're carrying around] your life. It's hard to pick and choose. And if you want to downsize to at least one or two bags, but you end up with four have to give everything you got away, almost."

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Notable News in Mobility

The Mobile Voice Blog will not only be covering the progress of the Project but will also identify and dissect current events and policy issues that affect the women we work with.

One of the largest influences on our study populations’ ability to have dependable transportation that meets their needs is the government’s willingness to properly fund public transportation. As reported in a recent article by The Progressive Pulse, “North Carolina’s transportation system helps form vital social and economic structures by connecting people to services, jobs, and other opportunities across the state and beyond.” Without appropriately funded public transportation, citizens, including the women we work with every day, can miss out on opportunities to advance in careers and have access to vital services. Without transportation to adequate employment opportunities, women like those working with MVP can be barred from advancing economically and becoming homed. This is alarming, considering that North Carolina’s transportation budget is “facing a $60 billion shortfall for transportation improvements through 2040.”

Not only are forecasts of funding grim but, “The FY2012-13 budget took nearly $240 million from the Highway Fund and Highway Trust Funds to improve General Fund availability.” With transportation funds increasingly diverted to unspecified projects, it is hard to see how our elected officials will use such funds to in ways that will help disadvantaged populations to escape poverty. With a public transportation system that has already proven to be inadequate in serving transportation-disadvantaged populations, reducing funding to vital public transportation services can further hinder disadvantaged populations that already struggling.

As we move forward we will continue to examine the key issues to the improvement of the lives of our study population and hopefully encourage dialogue within our community as to how we can all come together to overcome transportation inequality.

Source: Progressive Pulse

Comments? Questions? Sound off on our project Facebook page.

Author: Nicholas Flickinger