OakMob in Photos: A New Model for Community Engagement in Transportation Planning

Image: OakMob mural

All photos are by Pamela Palma Photography

Bike share and car share are expanding in Oakland, with serious potential to make it easier for people to get around and enjoy a higher quality of life. We see the possibilities, but we are also concerned that low-income folks and communities of color could be left behind. This could happen, for example, as a result of where bike share and car share services are located, how payment options are structured, or even how the services are branded and marketed.

Engaging communities in the planning and implementation of shared mobility services from the earliest stages is critical to avoid inequities and ensure that the people who can most benefit take advantage of these services.

So in October, we kicked off OakMob101 (Oakland Mobility 101), a series of transportation resource events hosted with the City of Oakland. We wanted to talk with residents about new transportation options coming to Oakland and get community input on how to distribute transportation benefits and investments (especially bike share and car share) equitably throughout the city.

After two successful events, OakMob101 is proving to be a model for authentic and culturally relevant community engagement in planning. We hosted one event on October 1st at the MLK Library in East Oakland and another event on October 22st at Defremery Park in West Oakland. We created flyers promoting the events in both English and Spanish. We tried to make each event feel like a block party, providing food, prizes, and music from local DJs along with the opportunity to plan a more connected and equitable Oakland.

We asked residents: How do you get around? Do you want car share and bike share in your neighborhood? Would car share and bike share help you stay connected to work, school, and family? With OakMob, we’re bringing the voices of communities long underserved by our transportation systems into the planning process for shared mobility.

Image: a man holds his My Route My Oakland map. Photo: Pamela Palma Photgraphy

Image: Brytanee helps a woman make her My Route map. Photo: Pamela Palma Photography

Image: a DJ at OakMob. Photo: Pamela Palma Photography

Image: a DJ at OakMob. Photo: Pamela Palma Photography

My Route, My Oakland was a mapping exercise we did with OakMob participants to see patterns of where and how people traveled. The maps showed that residents in East and West Oakland not only travel around Oakland but also throughout the Bay Area using a diverse number of routes and modes. This revealed that people who aren’t serviced by the planned and existing shared mobility service areas would benefit from expansion. Our hope is that the City of Oakland, Motivate, and other shared mobility providers can use this information to expand their current and proposed service areas.

Image: a young girl draws her My Route Map. Photo: Pamela Palma Photography

Image: people look at the proposed bike share routes. Photo: Pamela Palma Photography

Image: a man and woman draw their My Route maps. Photo: Pamela Palma Photography

The second OakMob was held the same day as the Black Panther 50th Anniversary Rally & Concert at Frank Ogawa Plaza. Needless to say many people also wanted to attend this free concert event. So we decided to take our show on the road, caravanning from Defremery Park to the Black Panther Rally & Concert on the Ford GoBikes with our bike share information and transportation surveys in hand. It was worth the ride!

Image: a young girl tries out a Ford Go Bike. Photo: Pamela Palma Photography

Image: a man tries out a Ford Go Bike. Photo: Pamela Palma Photography

The diverse community partners and shared mobility providers that tabled and/or participated in OakMob 101 made this event possible! Thanks to: Cycles of Change, AC Transit, Bike East Bay, Alameda County Registrar of Voters, HOPE Collaborative, The Original Scraper Bike Team, Motivate, Lyft, Uber, Getaround, and Zipcar.

Image: Bay Area Bike Share. Photo: Pamela Palma Photography

Image: AC Transit. Photo: Pamela Palma Photography

Image: a woman enjoys food at OakMob. Photo: Pamela Palma Photography

OakMob has grounded us in community needs and visions. If we are going to achieve true equity in transportation, and in Oakland in general, we must include the concerns and visions of the community throughout the process. With regards to shared mobility, we are committed to listening and bringing the community to the table as a partner to make the town more connected and equitable.

Image: a boy works on his bike. Photo: Pamela Palma Photography

Image: Sean Mullen from Safe Routes to School talks bikes with a young man at OakMob. Photo: Pamela Palma Photography

Image: Brytanee Brown and Anjali Mehta hold an OakMob101 sign. Photo: Pamela Palma Photography

Check out the plan for Bay Area Bike Share Expansion and learn more at Bike East Bay’s “Bike Share for All” campaign web page.

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TransForum is the blog of TransForm, California's leading transportation advocate. For more about our work, including ways you can take action and contribute, visit TransFormCA.org.