Lai's Article on Transportation Equity Featured in APA’s State of Transportation Planning Report
HDR Transportation Planner June Lai discusses the history of social equity in transportation — and how to push it forward — in the American Planning Association’s 2022 State of Transportation report.
Lai’s article presents several case studies of transportation agencies that have gone beyond the minimum to incorporate equity into their planning efforts and in tracking marginalized communities.
For example, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission in the Bay Area uses a broad definition of Equity Priority Communities, taking into account many weighted factors to help guide decisions and inform strategic planning. These agencies have taken steps to listen to communities and their concerns, and then go one step further to rename their nomenclature and definitions of underrepresented communities to better reflect what they are hearing. Transportation planners are acknowledging the power of language in shaping a negative perception towards disadvantaged populations in the past and aiming to reshape transportation policies in a more equitable, forward-looking future.
“Transportation planners and transportation planning agencies should go beyond what is required by law to increase the inclusivity of their agency’s plans, programs, and projects,” Lai wrote. “In deciding the nomenclature and determining which indicators to feature, planners should think critically about and analyze the demographics and specific needs of the communities they serve.”
Read the whole article, “Represent the Underrepresented,” in the State of Transportation Planning report. The publication, this year titled “Intersections and Identities: A Radical Rethinking of Our Transportation Experiences,” is released every two years.