Widener on transit and food access

head shot of Michael Widener

Professor Michael Widener

UTTRI associated faculty Professor Michael Widener was interviewed about his research on the links between food insecurity, transit and urban planning and the “Preliminary Results from the Public Transit and COVID-19 Survey” report he coauthored with  Dr. Matthew Palm, Jeff Allen, Yixue Zhang, UTTRI associated faculty Professor Steven Farber and Nicholas Howell.

In “How my craving for Ontario peaches got me thinking about transit and food access,” Toronto Star, July 23, 2020, Widener states that the Public Transit and COVID-19 Survey results showed that “40% of respondents who continued to take public transit said groceries was the goal of most trips.”

Widener, who is Canada Research Chair in Transportation and Health, observes that “grocery shopping is a nonoptional trip” and says “it’s just not feasible to use transit to do a big shopping trip.”

The location of stores as well as their design, with entrances often placed far from transit stops, make grocery shopping much more difficult for the carless.

“The city has really turned to the car in this moment for people to continue to enjoy the things prior to the pandemic and it shone a light on what it means to be without a car and be transit dependent,” he said. “It really increased the gap between those who have a car and those who don’t.”

Read the full article “How my craving for Ontario peaches got me thinking about transit and food access,” Toronto Star, July 23, 2020. [paywall]


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