Quotes about transportation equity

My master’s project involves a discussion about equity. Equity of bike parking distribution is the main focus of my project.

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I picked up some great books at my school’s library. Here are some selected quotes (many of which I’ll use in the project’s paper).

  • “Transportation improvements distribute nonuniformly over space, implying that they affect diverse populations disproportionately” (Berechman).
  • “Geography defines the contours of the equity analysis in two important ways. First, since investment in transportation infrastructure is geographically specific, there is inherent competition and conflict between places” (Hodge).
  • The “costs and benefits of transportation policies may take place in different time periods” (Bae and Mayeres). For example, “mega projects are often built with excess capacity aimed at satisfying future needs. Such a pattern imposes inequitable intergenerational transfers, favoring the future rather than the present generations” (Berechman).
  • “Indirect benefits…represent real impacts that probably benefit some people more than others. It is exceedingly difficult, however, to trace through the benefit stream of these broad impacts” (Hodge).

And my favorite: “Transportation is an unusual public service in that it is not consumed for its own sake but, rather, as a means to another end. Thus, the value of the service depends primarily on how well it provides access to other places” (Hodge).

My professor last semester said the same thing, actually, and then we had a huge discussion trying figure out situations where this isn’t true. The only thing our class (well, the professor himself) could come up with was joyriding (driving aimlessly in a car). But is joyriding really transportation? The trip origin and destination are the same and the trip has no purpose.

I thought of the transportation system at Walt Disney World, but I eventually withdrew my support – although the goal of that system is to make it easy for guests to spend more money, the system has a legitimate role in giving access to places inside and outside the “pay area.”

Sources

Bae, Chang-Hee Christine and Inge Mayeres. “Transportation and Equity.” Donaghy, Kieran P, Stefan Poppelreuter and George Rudinger. Social Dimensions of Sustainable Transport: Transatlantic Perspectives. Burlington: Ashgate Publishing Company, 2005. 164-192.

Berechman, Joseph. The Evaluation of Transportation Investment Projects. New York City: Routledge, 2009.

Hodge, David C. “My Fair Share: Equity Issues In Urban Transportation.” The Geography of Urban Transportation. Ed. Susan Hanson. Second. New York City: Guilford Press, 1995.

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About Steven Vance

Enthusiast for urbanism, bicycling as transportation, and open data. Building a bicycle culture in Chicago.