Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Dr. Mariana Pavlovskaya
Dr. Shipeng Sun
Academic Program Adviser
Dr. Jochen Albrecht
Transit mobility has been recognized as an essential element to economic attainment, environmental sustainability, and as a vital part of public health. Social and economic disparities paired with elusive and inefficient public transit present real barriers for the ability of efficient planning and use of time. Lengthier commutes and generally less efficient travel contribute to stress during a pregnancy and limit the ability to access work and prenatal care. In survey studies of women utilizing clinics as their prenatal care provider, nearly 25% listed transportation as a barrier to accessing care.
Prior research has not linked directly premature birth and low birthweight and contributing factors of stress, work, and prenatal care into discussions of spatial mismatch to availability of efficient transit. This research proposes that transit mobility likely impacts premature birth and low birthweight through two pathways: actively, through increasing the likelihood of infection and stress both of which promote uterine inflammation, and through impacting prevention, by limiting access to timely and adequate prenatal care.
In dense urban environments, transit planning must begin to address the challenges transit may present to pregnant women specifically, and especially in most at-risk communities. Suggested is free, comprehensive para-transport to attend prenatal care visits, such as have been highly successful programs for servicing urban handicapped communities when implemented effectively. As well, if pregnancy tests were omnipresent and free similar to the flu shot, in combination with transportation assistance, rates of timely initiation of prenatal care could be improved. These measures, however can only be viewed as incremental improvements to materially address an issue which has much deeper cultural causes which must be addressed to make profound impacts, such as are rooted in cultural and structural misogyny.
Maddux, Ross B., "Transit Mobility and Premature Birth in New York City: a Population-Based Study" (2021). CUNY Academic Works.