The latest Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) perspective, Transportation Equity — Says Who?, describes some examples of where the issue of equity in transportation was misused to the point that decision-makers may have hurt the very people they were allegedly trying to help, according to the insitute's news release.
“In a politically driven world of transportation policy, this disagreement leaves substantial vulnerabilities for the idea of equity to be hijacked for political purposes," said the perspective's author. "This superficial theft can happen to such an extreme that those claiming the equity mantle are often advocating for an outcome that may more accurately be characterized as preserving the status quo. This happens even when there is almost universal agreement that the status quo is not equitable.”
The author also said that this misuse of the issue of equity occurred in three distinct incidents at a transit provider in southern California, in which the author argues, oversimplified and politicized issues of equity in transit, including in regard to congestion pricing and bus routes.
MTI concluded the perspective by saying that carefully considering assertions of equity improvements or challenges, especially when there is reason to believe that the outcome may be the opposite of what is being claimed, the transportation industry can ensure policies truly benefit communities and improve mobility for all.
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