For Winston-Salem residents without the means or ability to drive, the bus system plays a critical role in determining their ability to reach jobs, education, medical care, child care, public benefits, and community activities. The Business 40 infrastructure improvement project presents an opportunity to consider the mobility of all Winston-Salem residents and to focus on how the bus system can be used to advance health equity in our community.
The NC DOT has designated funds to expand bus service during the Business 40 closure.
The analysis in Table 1 reflects the current total amount of time it takes citizens from each ward (Map) to reach key healthcare access locations, prior to any increase in transit services.
These data are a baseline from which to measure how improvements in bus service impact the amount of time residents spend traveling to health services.
Our analysis utilizes the Google Transit API (Application Programming Interface) to calculate optimum transit duration from multiple locations in each ward to the major health assets in the community. (Note: Novant Medical Center and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center are along the same bus routes and are separated by +/- 5 minutes on the bus.)
The API allows for calculation of additional details about the trip, including:
Economic mobility in Winston-Salem is a pressing concern. For those without the means or ability to access private transportation, it takes a disproportionately greater amount of time to reach important health care assets. The Business 40 closure affords an opportunity to consider how the bus system influences residents’ ability to access to health services, and how improvements to bus services may enhance health care access and utilization. This brief analysis is limited to data regarding health care access, though Google API can be broadly used to document transportation equity within our community. Further critical thought about the impact of NC DOT Business 40 closure mitigation funds should be ongoing. We anticipate the expanded bus services will support a more equitable and just public transportation system.
 WSTA has provided Google bus schedule and route information for display on Google Maps. The Google Transit API makes this data available for querying based on specific start times, start locations, and destinations. The addresses utilized for this analysis are available here.
Michael DeWitt is a data scientist working for Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC. He recently moved to higher education after working in the manufacturing sector for the last ten years. His interests are in statistical programming and analysis, Bayesian modeling, survey analysis, and improving social mobility.
Phillip Summers works for the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He was a Research Associate with the Department of Family and Community Medicine before joining the Program in Community Engagement as an Associate Director. He has used his background in Public Health leadership in a variety of non-profit organizations both locally and globally. His research and practice focus on health and justice for immigrants and reducing health disparities.
Jeff Bloomfield, Keena Moore, and Megan Irby also contributed to this research and article.
The views expressed above are solely the author's and are not endorsed by the Virginia Policy Review, The Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, or the University of Virginia. Although this organization has members who are University of Virginia students and may have University employees associated or engaged in its activities and affairs, the organization is not a part of or an agency of the University. It is a separate and independent organization which is responsible for and manages its own activities and affairs. The University does not direct, supervise or control the organization and is not responsible for the organization’s contracts, acts, or omissions.
by Ashlyn McCurly
Angry shouts from behind—“stop, don’t move, put your hands on your head”—cop badges, flashing lights, interrogation. Police officers pat you down for concealed weapons and go through your belongings. Regardless of your race, gender, or age, this is an invasion of privacy.
Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg and The New York City Police Department created the Stop-and-Frisk Program with the goal of stopping crimes before they occurred. Officers maintained an active presence on the streets to prevent minor crimes from escalating into ones that are larger and more violent. If crime was stopped before it intensified, would murders, robberies, and assaults disappear altogether? Can New Yorkers now walk the streets of the city and feel safe because of a proactive police presence?
Maybe some New Yorkers feel safer due to this policy. But for Latinos and African-Americans, the racial profiling inherit in the Stop-and-Frisk procedures is unfair and discriminatory. From 2002 to 2011, African-Americans and Latinos made close to 90% of the people stopped. About 88% of these stops were of innocent residents.
The program has not significantly decreased the number of shootings. In 2002, there were 1,892 victims of shooting, and 97,296 stops. Nine years later, in 2011, there were 1,821 victims and 685,724 stops. Only 0.2% of the stops found guns on individuals, so the increased frequency of stops has done little to preempt shootings in New York City. The purpose of the program is to get dangerous people off the streets before a crime is committed; however, between 2009 and 2012, 6% of the 2.4 million stops led to arrests, with only a 3% conviction rate. Cumulative data indicates that this intrusive and humiliating practice is ineffective, resulting more in discrimination against minorities than in a reduction in crime.
Efficacy aside, Stop-and-Frisk clearly violates the 4th Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. The court ruling deeming the program unconstitutional is the correct democratic response to the actions of the New York City police. Officers stop innocent people without an objective suspicion of participation in wrongful actions. Observing the way someone walks, fidgets, changes direction, or even if he has a bulging pocket should not be suspicious enough activity to warrant an intrusive search.
by Sarah Collier
Atlanta’s primary public transportation system, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), has recently released plans to expand their railway transit lines to the North Fulton in the Georgia 400 corridor, an area with a growing job market. While this expansion provides those north of Atlanta easier access to a Jamba Juice, it also represents a significant first step towards decreasing the racial inequality perpetuated by MARTA’s current railway transit routes.
Having worked for two summers in Atlanta, my most prominent memory was the long commute between the white suburbs north of Atlanta, where jobs are plentiful, to its impoverished black neighborhoods downtown. I would have used public transportation, however the MARTA suspiciously ends right before white suburbia begins.
MARTA’s transit route design is sorely lacking. With its simple cross-shaped track, it has a local reputation as only being useful for getting to either a Brave’s baseball game or the airport. My long drives to work gave me ample time to wonder if it was simply unskilled urban planning or some other factor that had caused MARTA’s limited route design. As it turns out, MARTA’s history reveals racial discrimination as a key player in this debacle.