Originally published in The HUB.

When Johns Hopkins researchers began developing the Baltimore Area Survey—a new annual appraisal of Baltimore City and County residents—they wanted to ask questions on hot-button issues that could inform local and state policy while also gauging the emotional state of the area’s residents. For the transportation section of the survey, for instance, that meant asking questions like: Do you feel left out? Do you feel down because you don’t have transportation to get to places for social engagement? Have you ever been let down by transportation?

“It’s really important to understand whether people can get to the doctor or get to work, but it’s also important to know whether you feel like you’re left out because you can’t get to places to meet folks,” explains Michael Bader, faculty director of the Johns Hopkins 21st Century Cities Initiative, which released the survey in late 2023. According to their findings, 1 in 10 Baltimore area residents admitted that they “often” feel down because of transportation issues, while a whopping one-third of residents reported at least one transportation issue. The data also highlighted racial inequality in public transportation: Twice as many Baltimore area residents of color experienced transportation-related issues—like missing an appointment—than white residents in the same areas.

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