Informal Transportation Use In Urban Communities: Hacking In Baltimore, Maryland

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City and Regional Planning


Master of City and Regional Planning

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Transportation equity is an increasingly important issue. It is based on the assurance that every person, regardless of race, income or location of residence, has equal access to efficient and affordable transportation. In many cities this issue is of prime importance due to the lack of sufficient, dependable and easily accessible transportation. These system deficiencies have a substantial impact on residents' ability to obtain jobs, link their children to better school systems and on the community and region's sustainable economic growth. Transportation equity is proving to be a constant struggle, especially in urban areas populated primarily by low income residents. The proposed disparity between low income communities and access to efficient public transportation has helped to increase the popularity of informal transportation systems. This thesis focuses on Hacking in Baltimore City. "Hacks" in Baltimore City can be characterized as informal cab services, differing from regulated taxi services in that they are an illegal form of transportation. This study examines user samples from four neighborhoods within Baltimore City obtained from a referral sample of survey participants and from formal interviews conducted with transportation policy regulators. The results of this study highlights the extent to which hacks are utilized in order to compensate for public system service deficiencies, spatial deficiencies or cost barriers.