South Bend Commuters Community Partner Program
In October 2021, the city of South Bend launched the Commuters Trust Community Nonprofit Partner Program in an attempt to increase reliable transportation options for low-income residents of the city. The program provides free transportation benefits, in the form of bus passes and Uber rides, to city residents utilizing services of social services providers in South Bend.
In partnership with the City of South Bend, the Pulte Institute for Global Development is conducting an impact evaluation of the program to study its impact on program participants and the community. By using a variety of quantitative and qualitative approaches, researchers will investigate the program’s impact on users’ overall transportation situation, feelings of stress related to transportation, and access to critical services such as healthcare, education, and food.
The research will enable the City of South Bend to increase their commitment and future investments into the program so that it can continue to flourish sustainably. Additionally, the findings from this impact evaluation will inform other cities considering implementing similar initiatives.
The project is led by Swapnil Motghare, Assistant Research Professor at the Lucy Family Institute for Data & Society, and Danice Brown Guzmán, Associate Director of the Evidence and Learning Division at the Pulte Institute.