Transportation Equity

I’m very glad to share that Alex Karner and I have written the entry on Transportation equity for the International Encyclopedia of Transportation. The encyclopedia itself is a massive effort with almost 600 entries! I am thankful to Maria Börjesson and Roger Vickerman for their invitation to contribute to this incredible collective work.

In our chapter (ungated PDF), Karner and I define what transportation equity is and why it matters. We also present a literature review on how equity relates to broader concerns over transport and mobility justice and inclusive urban planning. We cover how a full understating of transportation equity needs to account for both egalitarian and sufficientarian moral principles, and how these complementary perspectives are fueled by concerns with structural inequalities and social exclusion of marginalized groups. Finally, we share some reflections on how transportation equity research is particularly important to reflect on the societal changes that might emerge with the technological innovations around automated vehicles, ride hailing, microtransit and on-demand transit services .

You can download the ungated PDF from here.


Transportation equity is a way to frame distributive justice concerns in relation to how social, economic, and government institutions shape the distribution of transportation benefits and burdens in society. It focuses on the evaluative standards used to judge the differential impacts of policies and plans, asking who benefits from and is burdened by them and to what extent. Questions of transportation equity involve both sufficientarian and egalitarian concerns with both absolute levels of wellbeing, transport-related poverty and social exclusion as well as with relative levels of transport-related inequalities. Ultimately, the study of transport equity explores the multiple channels through which transport and land use policies can create conditions for more inclusive cities and transport systems that allow different people to flourish, to satisfy their basic needs and lead a meaningful life. Transportation equity issues broadly encompass how policy decisions shape societal levels of environmental externalities and what groups are more or less exposed to them, as well as how those decisions affect the lives of different groups in terms of their ability to access life-enhancing opportunities such as employment, healthcare, and education. Equity is a crucial part of a broader concern with transport and mobility justice. The call for transport justice goes beyond distributive concerns, and yet justice cannot be achieved without equity.

comments powered by Disqus