A short guide to ‘transportation health equity’

The concept of equity has been steadily gaining awareness and respect in the transportation field. In short, equity has to do with making sure that the transportation system serves all populations equally; but there’s much more to it than that. A new guide on the topic and an event in Portland next month are just the latest signs that equity in transportation is an idea whose time has come.

Portland-based non-profit Upstream Public Health has recently published Transportation Health Equity Principles, a helpful guide that explains the concept greater detail.

At the root of equity are people. Here’s Upstream’s description of who is impacted by “transportation inequity”:

“People of color, people experiencing poverty, people with disabilities, and people who experience language barriers are disproportionately impacted by burdens of the transportation system but do not receive an equal share of the benefits.”

And here are Upstream’s six key principles of transportation health equity:

    1. Ensure equal access to essential goods & services, jobs & economic opportunities, and healthy foods & places.
    2. Engage and empower impacted communities early and often, with opportunities to have real influence during all stages of decision-making.
    3. Implement transportation funding and investment policies that address historical disinvestment for impacted persons and for underserved neighborhoods.
    4. Promote access to jobs, including in the transportation sector.
    5. Prioritize transportation investments that ensure healthy and safe communities.
    6. Adopt transportation policies that promote environmental justice and sustainability.