Public-private partnership to provide free transportation

  • The City of Pittsburgh is partnering with Spin and three mobility service providers to pilot a program to serve low-income residents by providing free transportation.
  • The project aims to improve eligible residents’ access to jobs, education and basic services and ultimately raise their socio-economic status.
  • Carnegie Mellon University will conduct research and evaluate the project, tracking the economic, health and social outcomes of 100 participants.

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 17, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The City of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University and twirl, a leading micromobility service provider, is today launching a first-of-its-kind study that will provide up to 50 low-income Pittsburgh residents with free access to shared mobility and public transit services to to study its effects on the socio-economic progress of the participants. Providing affordable and reliable transportation for all, otherwise known as universal Where guaranteed basic mobility is considered one of the main factors that can enable upward socio-economic mobility. The year-long research will investigate the potential of free transport to improve people’s economic, health and social outcomes when financial barriers to transport are removed, with the aim of improving access to jobs, education, health care, social services and recreational activities.

Pioneering research like this is essential for shaping local and national policies that ultimately improve people’s lives. The trial will focus on residents of the Manchester and Chateau neighborhoods of Pittsburgh, with ongoing recruitment and support provided by the Manchester Citizens Society. Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) will evaluate the trial. Eligible participants will receive free access to the Move PGH transportation services including public transportation, Spin scooters, POGOH bikes and Zipcar. The pilot project is funded by a $200,000 grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation, with Spin contributing an additional $50,000.

“Access to affordable and reliable transportation is critical to helping our city’s families find a path to prosperity,” said Pittssburgh Mayor Ed Gainey. “This pilot program will help us better understand how transportation impacts the lives and well-being of Pittsburgh residents.”

A total of 100 people will participate in the pilot project and will be randomly divided into two groups: 50 of them will have free access to Move PGH transport services, and 50 of them will not*, in order to allow comparison. The analysis will include survey and travel behavior data collected from participants and transportation service providers, as well as anonymized details of participants’ earnings and use of various forms of public assistance from the Department of Allegheny County Social Services. The research should be completed next summer.

“Making mobility more equitable and reliable is core to Spin’s mission and we see great potential for positive impact in the Pittsburgh community, and beyond,” said Philip Reinckens, CEO of Spin. “By piloting a wide variety of free transit and mobility options, cities and service providers like Spin seek to support the development of data-driven policies that will ultimately improve people’s lives.”

The Manchester neighborhood was specifically chosen for the program because the median income in this area is 14% lower than the median income for the city of Pittsburgh**. The economic opportunity of the Central Business District, where there are more jobs and services, is simply out of reach for people living in the Manchester area due to high transport prices and options limited transportation. However, with better access to employment, education and various services, it is possible to improve participants’ quality of life and access to opportunities.

“Affordable transport is a huge issue in Manchester and many of our neighbors unfortunately don’t have many opportunities in their own neighborhood and have to go elsewhere,” said LaShawn Burton Faulk, executive director of Manchester Citizens Corporation. We are delighted to welcome this UBM driver and see how he could improve the quality of life for our most vulnerable Manchesterians.”

*Those in the control group will receive financial compensation for their participation in the research.
** As indicated in the Manchester neighborhood mapnot

About the City of Pittsburgh
The City of Pittsburgh’s Department of Mobility and Infrastructure (DOMI) provides the physical mobility needed to support the social and economic movement of Pittsburgh residents through the management, design, improvement and operation of the public hold. DOMI’s work is guided by the city’s fundamental mobility principles, including that no one dies or is seriously injured while traveling on city streets; that our streets reflect the values ​​of our community; and that the combined cost of transport, housing and energy does not exceed 45% of household income for any income group. For more information on DOMI, visit:

About Manchester Citizens Corporation
Manchester Citizens Corporation (MCC) is one of the oldest and most sophisticated community development organizations in the country. Community leaders formed the Society in 1965 to create a neighborhood-based approach in response to widespread blight and neglect. MCC operates in Manchester’s Historic District, which is Pittsburgh’s largest historic district under the National Register of Historic Places, preserved for its late Victorian homes built in the early 19th century. MCC is one of the first urban community organizations in the country to link historic preservation with economic development.

About Carnegie Mellon University
Carnegie Mellon University,, is an internationally recognized private research university with recognized programs spanning science, engineering, technology, business, public policy, humanities, and the arts. Our diverse community of scholars, researchers, creators and innovators is committed to making real-world impacts that benefit people around the world. With a bold, interdisciplinary and entrepreneurial approach, we do the work that matters.

About spinning
Spin, recently acquired by TIER Mobility, operates electric bicycles and scooters in North American cities and campuses. Spin launched the first-ever stationless bike-sharing program in the United States and was instrumental in designing the world’s first mobility permit system that is now used around the world. Spin is made up of a diverse team of experienced professionals from the government and private sectors, and the world of transportation defense, all of whom are committed to fulfilling the company’s mission – to help create a world full of cities of 15 minutes.

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

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