Three Questions to Answer with Remix’s Breakdown Tables

Caitlin Hewitt

Product Manager, Remix

Organizing complex information is challenging when you don't have the right tools.

For the past year we’ve dug deep into equity research with partners like Elemental Excelerator and TransForm, and what we continue to learn is that transportation equity is a diverse and growing topic. Back in October 2020, we hosted a webinar and asked registrants to tell us about their current equity projects. The answers were so diverse that it was difficult to identify any two similar answers. And according to the recent Remix and TransForm report, today “roughly 80% of long range plans mention the word “equity.” The number of Departments of Transportation (DOTs) that require an equity impact statement is growing, as is the adoption of an ‘equity lens’ to center projects around questions of who may be harmed by the work at hand.” 

Due to the diversity and continual expansion of the topic, we are discovering that the role of technology is neither to build an agency’s equity lens nor is it to design formulas for equity -- rather our role is to facilitate equity practices by helping transportation professionals pay close attention to racial, gender, and economic impacts and to empower them to understand the demographic context in which equity goals are built. 

That’s where Remix’s Breakdown Tables come in. Here are three questions you can answer with Remix’s Breakdown Tables: 

1. Equity metrics often consider poverty and race, but what about the intersection of these two demographic variables? 

The most common equity metrics we see are built around an analysis for households in poverty and minority communities. But we often see transportation practitioners struggle to analyze the intersection of those two communities.

Remix's Breakdown Tables encourages you to explore the demographic complexities of each community with ease.

This is a perfect question for Breakdown Tables! Instead of just looking at one demographic characteristic or another, Remix allows you to drill into multiple variables for more comprehensive insights. 

2. How should I prioritize my community outreach resources? 

There are many components in community outreach but one critical component is translations and understanding where translated resources should be distributed. Using Remix data layers you can see where limited English speaking households live. With Breakdown Tables, you can dig deeper to understand which language services are needed, and where. 

In the video below, you can see that Spanish language materials will serve the highlighted transit route well.

3. How do commuting patterns differ between essential and nonessential workers? 

The typical transit system is designed around the 9 to 5 commute, entering or leaving the central business district. This is inherently inequitable as it favors high-income, white-collar workers, while deprioritizing workers in the service, often essential, industries. For most agencies, the pandemic turned this pattern upside down. Cities are starting to invest in service long neglected: the neighborhood-to-neighborhood trip. How do you ensure this new type of service serves the essential worker? To do this, you can use Remix to understand the characteristics of neighborhoods with a high concentration of essential workers.

In the video below, you can explore commute behaviors like "commute mode" and "time left from home to work" for Census tracts with a high percentage of essential workers.

The three questions we posed are just a sample of the explorative questions to ask with Breakdown Tables. But the questions you can ask are innumerable - like “Will my new service start early enough in the morning?” or “What does ridership demand look like in this rural area using the TCRP method?” or “What are gender disparities between travel patterns?”

Do you have a topic you’d like to explore in Breakdown Tables? Reach out to us at and we’ll set up some time to explore together.