Getting There: Policy and Planning for Social Equity in Transportation

A PSC Brown Bag Seminar

Joe Grengs

Monday, 10/12/2015.   ARCHIVED EVENT

Location: 6050 ISR Thompson St

A longstanding challenge for transportation planning is ensuring that the costs and benefits of a transportation system are distributed among people in a way that advances social justice. Avoiding unreasonable disparities in transportation is more than merely a moral or professional obligation; it is also mandated by a series of laws and regulations that requires ongoing and active monitoring by the public agencies charged with creating the plans and programs that guide transportation provision. Finding inequality could lead to major revisions or even rejection of a plan or project. However, in contrast to the findings of many scholars, public agencies routinely find no evidence of disparities in the transportation they provide, in part because they have not yet put into practice appropriate methods for evaluating whether their decisions are in compliance with equity objectives. This presentation will include an overview of key issues related to transportation disadvantage, and argues that the concept of accessibility is an essential tool for properly evaluating the social equity impacts of transportation decisions, with a focus on comparing benefits among social groups.


Joe Grengs' research focuses on transportation planning and how metropolitan urban form contributes to uneven economic development, poverty, and racial segregation. His work explains why transportation policy leads to systematic disadvantages for social groups by race, ethnicity, gender, age, and class, and it argues for improving evaluation tools in practice to advance social justice.

PSC Brown Bag seminars highlight recent research in population studies and serve as a focal point for building our research community.

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