Why Equity in Transportation Matters
Transportation is a critical link to opportunity, connecting people to jobs, schools, affordable housing, health care, grocery stores, and more. For many Americans, mobility can make all the difference in their ability to meet basic needs, participate fully in community life, and connect and contribute to our national economy. This is why transportation investments are required to meet the needs of low-income people, communities of color, and people with disabilities. Modern, well-funded transportation systems can spur economic growth and tap into human potential. Achieving equity in transportation policy will bring about fundamental improvements in communities across the country.
Isolated From Opportunity
For millions of Americans, lack of transportation is a barrier to opportunity.
- A report by The Brookings Institution and UC Berkeley states that nearly 20 percent of African- American households, 14 percent of Latino households, and 13 percent of Asian households live without a car. For more details, see the report: Economic Differences in Household Automobile Ownership Rates: Implications for Evacuation Policy.
- According to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, about 560,000 people with disabilities never leave home because of transportation difficulties. For more info, see the Dept. of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics website.
- Adults with disabilities are twice as likely as those without disabilities to have inadequate transportation (31% versus 13%). From an American Association for People with Disabilities/Leadership Conference fact sheet on Transportation Equity citing: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Promoting the Health of People with Disabilities, Department of Health and Human Services.
- 40% of persons who have significantly less or no access to transportation are persons with disabilities, according to the Department of Transportation (DOT) Civil Rights Division, in recent DOT Civil Rights Symposium on Environmental Justice: Equitable, Sustainable, and Accessible Development.
While transportation represents a significant sector of our workforce—one in 10 civilian jobs is transportation-related—women, communities of color, and low-income people are not significant beneficiaries of the jobs and contracting opportunities in the industry. This is just a small sampling of the many disturbing trends associated with transportation inequity.
Getting on Track: The Road to Transportation Equity
Our nation’s federal transportation investments are critical to ensuring that all individuals living in the United States can participate and prosper. In rethinking transportation policy, advocates must mobilize for a shared vision of transportation equity that prioritizes the following goals:
- Create affordable transportation options for all people. Ensure fair access to quality jobs, workforce development, and contracting opportunities in the transportation industry.
- Promote healthy, safe, and inclusive communities.
- Invest equitably and focus on results.
The Equity Caucus works with partners to ensure these goals are at the forefront of transportation investment and reform efforts.