Register now: Transportation and economic mobility panel May 25

Commuters waiting at the Sharon Road West Blue Line light rail stop in Charlotte.
Wednesday, April 21, 2021

For many families, the cost of owning and maintaining a car is a serious burden. Others who lack transportation have to spend hours a day on the bus. For all of us, traffic and congestion lower our quality of life and steal our time. And in a growing region like Charlotte, where you can afford to go influences everything from your job opportunities to access to fresh food and your health.

Transportation is intimately tied to economic mobility, and the Charlotte region continues to grapple with traffic, gentrification and displacement, and questions about how we can afford to build out our transit system. That’s why our second Schul Conversation this spring is about the link between transportation, transit and economic mobility in the Charlotte region.

Join us at noon on May 25 to discuss these issues in a virtual panel discussion moderated by Ely Portillo, the Urban Institute’s Assistant Director of Outreach and Strategic Partnerships. The event is free but registration is required.

Portillo has written about growth, transit and transportation in the Charlotte region for decades, both as a reporter and at the institute. 


Meet our Panelists

Our panel will include Taiwo Jaiyeoba, Assistant City Manager for the city of Charlotte.

As Charlotte’s chief planner, Jaiyeoba is a leader in efforts to bring about the next iteration of Charlotte's transit system, as recommended by the Charlotte MOVES task force last year. 

Dr. Evelyn Blumenberg is the Director of the Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies at UCLA, and a professor of urban planning. Blumenberg has studied transit ridership trends, the relationship of auto ownership and employment opportunities, and how the spatial location of residents, jobs and transits impacts economic outcomes. 

Much of her work focuses on "the role of planning and policy in shaping the spatial structure of cities."

And Dr. Elizabeth Delmelle, associate professor in the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, will contribute a local perspective based in her research on the effects of Charlotte's transit system. She has studied the relationship between transit and displacement in Charlotte, especially along the Blue Line. 

Through the Gambrell Faculty Fellows program, Delmelle and her research partners  are working to assess the impact transit and location have on people's access to jobs, and whether relocating to farther-out suburbs leaves low-income workers worse off. The team is mapping job accessiblity from different parts of Charlotte, by both car and transit, with jobs differentiated by wage categories. In addition to the quantitative study, they're also interviewing people who have relocated from close-in neighborhoods to assess the impact that move has had on their lives. 


About the Schul Forum Series

This is the second of five planned Schul Conversations, to be held in advance of the Urban Institute’s signature annual convening. The first, on April 20, focused on housing and economic mobility (Watch a video of the first panel below or on YouTube). 

  • May 25: Transportation & Economic Mobility
  • August: Health Disparities
  • September: Racial Wealth Gap & Economic Mobility
  • October: Role of Workforce Development
  • November Schul Forum: Moving the Needle in Charlotte and beyond.

The Marianne M. & Norman W. Schul Urban Institute Forum Series was established in 2018 to serve as an annual event focused on policy issues affecting the Charlotte region, convening local leaders, national experts and researchers from the institute and other parts of UNC Charlotte. The institute's first director, Dr. Norm Schul, and his wife, Marianne ‘73, enabled the creation of the series with a generous gift.

This year’s Schul Forum will focus on economic mobility, as well as showcasing the research of the institute’s Gambrell Faculty Fellows.