Advocacy and Organizing
TransitCenter’s Advocacy and Organizing team works with partners across the country to support and co-develop campaign strategies that result in transit service improvements for riders. Our work seeks to balance more grassroots, member-led advocacy with purpose driven policy advocacy. We aim to provide partner organizations with the tools they need to educate and activate a strong member base, recognizing that informed, directly impacted constituencies have the most power to influence decision makers. We work to marry compelling rider stories with thoughtfully presented data to move the needle on building better transit systems.
Our work spans 3 major project areas:
Grantmaking/General Operating Support:
We work with trusted partners to provide general operating funding that supports ongoing advocacy efforts, or smaller, project based grants tied to strategic, timely, opportunities.
Chicago: Active Transportation Alliance & Jobs with Justice Chicago
- Active Trans is a coalition of people who are working to make walking, biking, and public transit safe and equitable options for getting around. Since 2016 Active Trans has been a TransitCenter partner advancing transit improvements in Chicago. The organization is a respected voice in transportation advocacy in Chicagoland.
- Chicago Jobs with Justice is a coalition of labor, faith, and community organizations working in coalition to win campaigns for workers’ rights and social and economic justice. Founded in 1991, they are the local chapter of the national Jobs with Justice network.
San Francisco: San Francisco Transit Riders
- San Francisco Transit Riders Union (SFTR) is a not-for-profit organization working to center the voices of the riders and advocates who have long desired for an affordable, equitable, sustainable, and accessible public transit network for residents, commuters, and visitors for San Francisco.
Pittsburgh: Pittsburghers for Public Transit
- Pittsburghers for Public Transit is a grassroots organization of transit riders, workers, and residents who defend and expand public transit. They keep the “public” in public transit by mobilizing communities to advocate for equitable, affordable, and sustainable transportation systems.
National Field Table
Led in partnership by TransitCenter and the Alliance for a Just Society, our national field table is a community of over 50 organizations working together to influence federal policy through strategic power and base building, coordinated action, and education of decision makers. Our work with the national field table recognizes that changing federal policy is critical to achieve more equitable access to frequent, reliable service in the communities that rely on transit the most, and to make real headway on climate change and GHG reduction. We also recognize that “the federal is local”, meaning that federal level policy change can have a direct impact on local transit needs like street priority or increased frequency.
Starting in 2020, the work of our field partners helped to secure over 100 billion dollars in Federal funding through COVID relief dollars and through the IIJA. Though these wins were momentous, we continue to watchdog the implementation of these funds, recognizing that a “win” is only a “win” if it means everyday riders see the service changes they need.
Leadership Development: *Coming Soon*
In partnership with our Leadership Development team, we will work to empower the next generation of leaders in the advocacy space. Our first advocacy leadership cohort will aim to center the needs and experiences of emerging Black and brown leaders in the field. The program will focus on helping these leaders cultivate the skills and relationships they will need to secure the legacy of their organizations and to continue advancing advocacy that brings real change for transit riders.