Personas Campaign

The Access and Mobility Plan aims to address climate change, reduce traffic, and improve how we get around. One of the best ways to address these challenges begins with listening to the stories of community members who live, work, and play in San José. This Personas​ campaign ​will record and tell the stories of people ​from our community. These stories ​will ​help us to create an inclusive and accessible transportation system for our city.

In such a large and diverse city as San José, it is not possible to capture everyone’s lived experience. One’s experience does not represent or speak to the experience of an entire community. By selecting a diverse set of people, we will highlight the transportation choices and challenges of a broad array of San José residents. This will allow us to better understand the struggles faced by many residents. It will especially help us to hear from those with physical disabilities, difficult commutes, language barriers, and financial burdens, among others. Just as the idea of “design for disability” has fostered solutions that benefit everyone, like curb ramps, automatic doors, and closed captioning, our focus on unique and difficult travel challenges seeks to improve transportation systems for all.

Sign-up for the Personas Campaign

If you would like to take part in this effort, please fill out the sign-up form! Your answers to the sign-up form will help us ensure we hear from a diverse range of voices.

For more information about the Personas campaign approach, selection considerations, and payment, please see the content below.

Storytelling Approach

Stories will be told through conversations and images. These stories will be created with participants to make sure they are accurate and represent their identity, story(s), and travel experience(s).

Initial Conversation

A 60-90 minute conversation will be scheduled over Zoom or phone with each participant. This initial conversation will help us to understand the individual’s identity(s), community(s), story(s) and experience(s). This conversation aims to be organic and to unfold naturally.

After this conversation, we will join each individual on one of their daily travel trips and have a deeper conversation about their mobility experience.

Commute Companion

Our team will accompany participants on one of their trips around the city. This is an important part of our storytelling approach because it gives an opportunity for the community and City to see the daily travel barriers and experiences of different community members. The City will use these first-hand stories to refine and select the Access & Mobility Plan’s transportation strategies.

We will capture snapshots of each participant’s commute. Photos will bring color and life to the narratives of each individual’s story and travel experiences.

Selection Criteria

Specific criteria will be used to determine individuals selected for the Personas campaign. The criteria will only serve as a guideline to help us select a diverse group that is representative of San José. The final selection of participants will also be limited by who signs up.

Race and Ethnicity

Since San José is a minority-majority City, race and ethnicity will play an important role in the selection of participants. We aim to have broad racial and ethnic representation.


In addition to race and ethnicity, there are other factors that make up an individual’s identity that will be considered because it impacts one’s travel experiences and behaviors.

  • Ability/disability/mobility-challenged
  • Age
  • Gender identity
  • Socioeconomic status
  • LEP (limited English proficiency)
  • Parental status
  • Sexual orientation


Where an individual lives within San José will also factor into the selection process. We want to make sure that the Access and Mobility Plan’s strategies consider the unique challenges and needs across all regions within the City.

Travel Mode

Daily transportation choices will be another factor considered. We want to understand the experiences and barriers for a variety of travel modes:

  • Car
  • Public transportation (i.e. bus, train, light rail)
  • Paratransit
  • Bicycling
  • Walking
  • Micromobility
  • Rideshare (i.e. Lyft, Uber)
  • Mixed-use

Compensation Criteria

We continue to seek ways to equitably engage the community as we move forward with the Access and Mobility Plan and the Personas campaign. When community members volunteer their time to help us plan for the future of San José, each individual’s level of sacrifice in doing so will vary. We are proposing payment that ranges ($75-$150) depending on personal income and household size. The appropriate fee will be selected by participants.