Achieving transportation equity is a transportation system goal that is becoming increasingly important in both the public sector and academia. An equitable transportation system would ensure that the benefits and burdens created by transportation projects, policies, and plans are shared fairly such that no groups would be unduly burdened by a lack of access to adequate transportation nor by the negative effects of proximity to transportation infrastructure. Such a system would also ensure that public participation in the transportation decision making process is meaningful and effective and that participants would have a reasonable expectation that their voices would be heard and decisions changed in response.
The purpose of this white paper is to provide an overview, synthesis, and critical assessment of academic research and transportation planning practice in order to provide a shared foundation for the many parties working toward equitable transportation systems. Throughout, we highlight key dimensions of transportation equity to provide a common language and to facilitate collaboration among transportation decision makers, planners, policymakers, advocates, and the general public. These groups will also be able to use the white paper to identify key research needs and promising strategies for advancing transportation equity goals. We hope that this shared understanding of the definitions, challenges, and opportunities in this field will enable often conflicting parties to collaborate in achieving the common goal of transportation equity: in other words, to “get there from here.”