May 31, 2022 (Salt Lake City) — Utah Transit Authority (UTA) has been named a “Leader in Equity-focused Innovation” in the 2022 Via Impact Awards, which recognize cities and transit agencies who have delivered exceptional service to their communities by leveraging Via’s TransitTech. UTA is one of three transit agencies recognized with the award this year out of Via’s 500+ global partners.
In this first iteration of the awards, Via is specifically celebrating the impact tech-enabled services have had on equity, from providing high-quality service to riders with disabilities to expanding access to jobs, education, healthcare, and other opportunities. UTA’s On Demand service, powered by Via, launched in November 2019 to provide public, on-demand shared rides for $2.50 to residents and visitors in Salt Lake County. Due to its success, the service expanded to Salt Lake City’s Westside neighborhoods (including Rose Park, Poplar Grove, Fairpark, and Glendale) in December 2021.
A UTA On Demand rider survey from October-December 2021 illustrates how the service is expanding access to affordable, equitable transportation in Salt Lake City:
- 54% of UTA On Demand passengers do not own a car, underscoring that UTA On Demand provides an essential way to travel for more than half of riders.
- In UTA On Demand’s new Westside zones, about 1 in 4 residents live below the federal poverty line. Most residents are people of color, which represents how the service is expanding transportation equity and filling access gaps in the area.
- 70% of respondents agreed that UTA On Demand expands their access to opportunities such as jobs, education, medical appointments, and social occasions.
- Lower-income residents can affordably access 66% more jobs, hospitals, and schools within 30 minutes by public transit than they could prior to the launch of UTA On Demand.
“Via is so proud to honor Utah Transit Authority as a Leader in Equity-focused Innovation for our first-ever Impact Awards,” said Jason Starr, Partnerships Director at Via. “Our mission is to help partners expand access to equitable, efficient, tech-enabled public transportation, and UTA is a shining example of an agency that’s done exactly that. The Salt Lake City community should be very excited to be part of a city dedicated to innovative mobility.”
Here’s what riders have said about UTA On-Demand:
- “UTA on demand gives me much more freedom than I had before and gives me more flexibility and mobility than I had without it.”
- “My disability means I can't drive. [UTA On-Demand] helps me (and my family) get to school, work, appointments.”
- “I use UTA on demand as part of my commute to school at the University of Utah every weekday, and it would be difficult for me to find another method of getting to TRAX.”
- “I depend on UTA on demand to get to work and school. It's essentially to being able to function in my community with my disability.”
- “I use it rather than walking 5 miles one way.”
Founded in 2012, Via pioneered the TransitTech category by using new technologies to develop public mobility systems — optimizing networks of buses, shuttles, wheelchair-accessible vehicles, school buses, autonomous vehicles, and electric vehicles around the globe.