Improving Language Access on NYC Transit

Edwin Jeng and Sarah Kaufman

Language access (the provision of equal services for people with Limited English Proficiency) is an under-researched aspect of public transportation in New York City, even as the city is considered one of the most linguistically diverse urban areas in the world. This report considers the need for language access on NYC transit systems and the current state of service for Limited English Proficiency (LEP) riders. Overall, language access in the subway can and should be improved, and likely presents a barrier for LEP New Yorkers accessing equal economic and social opportunities. This work considers select language access improvements that would serve a substantial number and proportion of riders without excessively burdening the MTA, and best practices for language access from elsewhere that could apply to NYC’s uniquely challenging transit environment. 

Top 40 NYC neighborhoods with LEP residents
Wagner Faculty