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The Mobility Issue in Understanding Food Deserts in Lincoln, Nebraska

Authors: Morgan Ryan*, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Kevin Pflager*, University Of Nebraska - Lincoln, Joshua Creamer , University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Topics: Urban Geography, Geographic Information Science and Systems, Geography and Urban Health
Keywords: Food Deserts, GIS, Urban Networks, Food Insecurity, Critical Geography
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Food deserts are defined as “parts of the country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, usually found in impoverished areas”(Gallagher, n.d.). For urban areas, at least 500 people or 33% of a population living in a census tract, must lack the ability to access “Healthy Food” for this tract to be designated a food desert. This definition of food deserts does not include mobility issues within cities, such as how the citizens in a tract can actually get the food from other areas.

Lincoln, Nebraska, a city of 280,000 people, currently has three identified food deserts centered on 48th and Van Dorn, 48th and Adams, and 9th and O Street. Public transportation adds a layer of complexity to this situation. Individuals in these food deserts without access to transportation may need to sacrifice quality food for less healthy substitutes.

This paper will examine the effects that transportation by bus has on the food deserts within Lincoln. We focus on how the addition of public transportation can give underserved individuals access to healthy food. The research aim is to help identify possible new at-risk areas and redirect bus routes to better serve communities that lack access to healthy food

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