Current Leader

Jarred Johnson

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

Transportation access is one of the most powerful factors when it comes to economic mobility and future success, more than crime, test scores, two-parent households, and other factors more commonly mentioned. Even more broadly, mobility, or the freedom to move about, is a key human right. For Jarred Johnson, this right has been the focus of his work for the past 8 years. He is passionate about improving mobility beyond personal automobiles for both equity and the environment and advancing public transit and walkability as the most important ways to achieve these goals.

Jarred envisions an affordable convenient public transit system accessible for all, women and femmes, people with disabilities, primary caretakers, and low-income residents. A transit system that gives riders a sense of dignity. And one that connects people to opportunities, friends and family, and culture. He believes that public transit, along with walkability and safe infrastructure for cycling, is essential for equitable mobility. His work on intersecting issues like community development and housing has strengthened his commitment to advancing better transportation access as a tool of economic mobility through access to jobs and education.

Through his work at TransitMatters, he works on solutions to increase equitable access, such as a mobile-friendly web app that identifies problem areas on the subway network and gives riders the information to advocate for themselves and for better service. TransitMatters publishes visionary reports, sharing models and data from other innovative transit systems, that push the transit agency to think bigger and develop projects that make the system more equitable and responsive to a wider variety of riders.

My proposal includes the creation of a .75-mile-long walk/bikeway on the now-closed portions of the Red Line tunnel cap that stretches from the edge of Fields Corner neighborhood to the Ashmont train station. I will add additional capacity and use my connections as a transit advocate to push the transit agency to be more proactive in regard to this project. I will work with the existing team of the DOT Greenway project and will also work with staff from LivableStreets to integrate a new element of spatial awareness to help break down the perceived and real barriers to accessing other green spaces and recreational amenities around Boston. I will work with additional partners, such as Culture House and Greater Ashmont Main Streets, to build on the previous outreach to build an interactive and equitable engagement strategy. This strategy will include further outreach, artwork, and tactical urbanism demonstration projects. I firmly believe that this project will thread green spaces in the area closer together and dissolve the invisible barriers by substantially improving connections of people to people, people to transit, people to local jobs and commerce, and people to green space.

Jarred Johnson is passionate about the intersection of transit, housing, and equity. This passion stems not from watching trains from a parent’s shoulder but from seeing how transportation connects people to opportunities, family and friends, and culture. When he observed how the DC Metro made the streets of Bethesda, MD more vibrant and engaging than his much bigger hometown of Oklahoma City and enabled more dense housing, urbanism became his life’s calling.

Jarred advances his equitable vision for transit in his current role as Executive Director for TransitMatters where he once served as a board member. He previously served as a Real Estate Project Manager in Dorchester’s Codman Square, where he managed a variety of complex affordable housing real estate projects and supported organizing efforts for better transit service. Before that, Jarred helped to start the “Love Your Block” program advancing placemaking (making places better and enhancing walkability) through mini-grants. The program funded diverse ideas such as a butterfly peace garden, a youth-led park revitalization, and more. Jarred also serves as a board member of Abundant Housing Massachusetts. These experiences inform his work to transform transit today.

Click here to watch Jarred’s Legacy Project video.