Current Leader

Jarred Johnson

Jarred Johnson
Location: Boston, Massachusetts Cohort Start Year: 2020 Project Topics: Built Environment/Housing/Planning, Community/Civic Engagement, Environmental Justice, Health Care Access, Social Sector/Non-Profit Populations Served: Low-Income Communities, Urban Communities
Executive Director

Jarred’s work is at the intersection of transportation and housing. Jarred imagines a future where we don’t even need to talk about transportation and housing because they are readily available, accessible, and abundant. Centering equity, righting historical wrongs, and universal access are key lenses that he views both transportation and housing through. Jarred hopes to learn more from partners in various sectors—health care, arts, wellness, education, and more—to inform his vision of a Culture of Health. A culture where access to opportunity and decent shelter are the foundations. Right now, many communities of color, and low-income communities, have slow, unreliable transit service. Many studies point to transportation being one of the largest determinants of success. Good transportation provides access to jobs, health care, education, and cultural activities. And no Culture of Health can be built while cyclists and pedestrians, particularly those of color, are dying at an increasing rate.

Housing in nearly every metro area is unaffordable to even many working-class people; racism, NIMBYism, and high construction costs have made it difficult to build the housing we need. This has led to displacement and gentrification, again with people of color bearing a disproportionate share of the burden. Jarred’s approach to these problems is to try to build cross-sector coalitions and frame these issues as a threat to the collective success of our society … because they are. Jarred hopes to develop even more partnerships across the myriad disciplines and sectors to elevate how important transportation and housing are to health.


Jarred approaches transit advocacy from a background in housing and organizing. Jarred has served as a community engagement coordinator and real estate project manager for a Boston-based affordable housing developer. Before that, Jarred helped to start the “Love Your Block” mini-grant project and helped write the City of Boston’s first Volunteer Plan as a part of the Civic Engagement Office. Jarred has a wealth of grassroots organizing experience working on various presidential, state, and Cherokee tribal races.Jarred joined TransitMatters as a volunteer member in the summer of 2015 and has served on the board since the fall of that year.

His area of interest is how transit and housing intersect with advocacy and organizing. He stumbled into his love of all things transit on a trip to Washington, D.C., when he was 11 and then again in his early college years. He was amazed at how the subway shaped DC and its suburbs into a radically different city than his hometown of Oklahoma City. And through working with low-income communities, he has come to understand just how important access to jobs, walkability, and green forms of transportation can be to raising a community out of poverty and poor health outcomes.






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