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The Film

Is public transportation a civil rights issue? Free To Ride follows a community group in Dayton, Ohio and their four-year struggle to gain access to jobs and education by bus to a booming neighboring suburb of Beavercreek. The Beavercreek administration doesn’t want buses in their community in fear of what public buses bring into their community. What are these fears and why block buses? This clash between neighbors captures the attention and intervention from federal government. How did this problem get solved… Did it get solved. Coming Spring 2015!

For more background, see “Transit-based Opportunity—Lessons from Dayton,” by Matthew Martin in the March/April 2014 Newsletter of the Poverty and Race Research Action Council.


Official Trailer

Project Background

The Kirwan Institute is producing a documentary about how fixed-transit came to Beavercreek, Ohio. From our initial research, it became evident that the story is meaningful to the people of Beavercreek and the Dayton region. The issues it represents are powerful, and have catalyzed civic engagement on both sides of the issue, demonstrating the importance of actively participating in the life of your community.

The ideals espoused throughout this saga are not unique to the Dayton region— cities across Ohio and the nation face similar challenges and stories like this. As America continues to become more diverse in the years ahead, learning to engage in healthy public dialogue is more critical than ever.

Our vision for this project is to create a film that engages the most sensitive and controversial issues of our day in a way that sparks each of us to think critically about how our views and perceptions impact others.

Official Podcast

Our Vision

  • Lift up the approach and strategy of community leaders in Dayton and Beavercreek as an example for other communities around the country
  • Provoke all sides of the public discourse to thoughtfully consider the arguments and perspective of others
  • Allow local stakeholders to tell their story
  • Promote healthy civic engagement and dialogue
  • Demonstrate how local, state, and national policy are linked
  • Show how local affairs can expand access to opportunity and improve quality of life for ALL

What the Documentary is NOT

  • A partisan rendering of the story or the communities and organizations that were involved
  • An opportunity for character bashing and slander. We will allow the footage to speak for itself and strongly encourage participants to be respectful and honest. We will do our best to fact-check any statements prior to publication.