To hear from youth about their transportation joys, hurdles, ideas, visions, and how-to's, Green Streets was funded by the Cambridge Public Health Department and the Sasaki Foundation to survey the youth and staff who are involved with Frisoli Youth Center during the summer of 2023 on their commutes and had in-depth videotaped conversations with 19 youth (and 1 staff member!) from 11-18 years of age. Take a listen to snippets of their stories below and let us know your own thoughts!
If you'd like to know what questions the youth responded to, here they are!
Also, check out some pictures from the event, data from our survey, and key takeaways!
The survey includes data from over 200 Cambridge Youth from Frisoli and other youth centers across the City of Cambridge. The conversations include 19 Frisoli community members.
Frisoli Youth Center
Larry (Teen Director)
Photos, Survey Data, and Takeways
Above: The transportation modes the respondents use to get to their summer activities.
Survey sample size: 224.
Above: The transportation modes the respondents use to get to school.
Survey sample size: 224.
Youth value the autonomy they have when using public transit and biking, and appreciate the ability to socialize on transit and to not be limited to whatever number will fit in a car. They also value looking at their surroundings and being able to space out.
There is strong interest in cycling (12 of 19 students, or 63%). including 7 (37%) who regularly bike. Of those, 2 students (11%) use cycling as their primary way of getting around. It is interesting that 5 of the students who regularly bike use he/him pronouns.
Among their reasons for not biking, students mentioned the lack of bike safety and infrastructure, fears of theft, and that Blue Bikes are inaccessible or expensive.
Youth would like their T-pass to be accessible on their phone, which is often the only thing they consistently carry with them. Middle school students do not seem to have access to the subsidized or free T passes that high school students can access.
Students want access to subsidized or free T passes during summer months, and don’t understand why the program ends at the end of June, when they often have even greater needs for transit.
One younger student remarked on the fact that Black children are often stereotyped as loud when on the train, and gave the advice to “be careful of how you talk, how you speak, and how you act in public.”
In large part, students wanted to clarify that dirty train stations should not prevent you from trying public transportation, and that taking the MBTA actually saves money rather than being expensive.
Many of the youth mentioned being taught to ride public transit or bikes by their mothers (as well as by friends and other relatives)!
Check out our other What Moves Us projects:
If you'd like to have similar stories to share within your own community, workplace, or organization, we would be happy to help! Check out our online brochure and reach out to us!