Diversity and Equity


How to address Equity in Transportation Services (2021). This new age of transportation and innovation has placed us at a defining moment in the quest to advance transportation equity.  Remarks delivered by Prof. Tierra S. Bills, Transportation Research Group, Wayne State University at the 2021 NCMM Mobility Management Forum. Transcript (Word and PDF).

On April 14th, US DOT was one of 90 federal agencies to release a bespoke “Equity Action Plan,” which outlines the moves the department will undertake to make its core programs more equitable over the next five years.

The report focuses on four key areas, all of which require decoding a little government vague-speak to understand:

  • “Wealth creation,” and more specifically, making sure that 25 percent of federal transportation investments flow to “small disadvantaged businesses” by 2025
  • Enhancing the “Power of Community,” or obligating grant recipients to do more meaningful public participation around federally funded projects
  • “Interventions,” or providing disadvantaged agencies and community based organizations the resources they need to access federal dollars, particularly when it comes to competitive grants
  • “Expanding access,” or assessing projects on their ability to provide underserved communities affordable, convenient, and multimodal transportation options that give them access to social and economic opportunities

In addition to those goals — all of which were tied to discrete, dead lined actions the agency says it will take — the document provides the most specific accounting yet of what mobility justice really means to the current DOT.

Pathway to Promote Diversity within Public Transit Workforce (Mineta Transportation Institute 2022). Considering the transit industry’s existing diversity and inclusion toolkits and guidelines, this project emphasizes lessons from in-depth interviews with leaders from 18 transit agencies across the country. The interviews illuminate the existing challenges and creative solutions around transit workforce diversity and inclusion. From the interviews, we discovered: 1) the critical factors that impact the current level of diversity and career mobility within transit agencies; 2) how diversity efforts help explore resources and provide opportunities for effective and robust employee engagement; and 3) the significance of evaluation systems in creating a more transparent recruitment process that initiates structural shifts, resulting in better recruiting. Moving towards inclusive and equitable workforce environments is a healing process that starts with understanding these gaps. We call this effort Healing the Workforce through Diversification.

Evaluating Disparities in Traffic Fatalities by Race, Ethnicity, and Income

Roadway travel is inherently risky, but is this risk borne equally among all members of U.S. society? In this report we undertake an examination of data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and other Federal agencies to consider the following questions. • Are there racial-ethnic disparities in travel outcomes? • If so, have these disparities changed in recent years? • What factors might be contributing to racial-ethnic disparities? • Are there economic disparities in travel outcomes? Our findings contribute to a growing body of evidence of racial, ethnic, and economic disparities in travel outcomes. This report investigates the disparity between various race-ethnicity groups as compared to white1 people, unless otherwise noted. We compare to the white population as it is the largest race-ethnicity group and to highlight the historical disparities in transportation decisions, resources, and outcomes. For instance, when we present values as “disproportionate,” we mean in relation to white people.

Virginia Transit Equity and Modernization Study

Transit services are a powerful tool that can enhance communities, connect people to jobs and opportunities, foster economic development, and promote healthier, more sustainable lifestyles. The presence of transit options also can contribute to more balanced societal outcomes by providing mobility options to those who otherwise do not have access to reliable means of transportation. This is especially true for historically marginalized communities, those who remain underserved today, and those who may have been adversely affected by transportation decisions in the past.

Why low- income earners aren’t the key beneficiaries of free public transport, unequal access means not everyone reaps the same rewards.

When you think of public transport, one of the most compelling arguments is that it should be free for everyone, especially for people from low-income backgrounds. But while everyone loves a costless ride, the impacts vary among different socio-economic groups. In fact, the biggest winners in free public transport already benefit the most from public transport. Let’s take a look why: 

Travel Behavior: Shared Mobility and Transportation Equity

Transportation equity is key to ensuring broadbased access to opportunities such as jobs,
healthcare, goods and services, and social connection by all Americans. The geographic,
economic, and sociodemographic diversity of the United States can create challenges to
ensuring transportation equity, requiring coordination among federal, state, local, and private
sector stakeholders. While much progress has been made at all levels to remove barriers and
improve access to transportation, equity challenges still persist. Moreover, current challenges
coupled with changing demographic trends, such as an aging population, may create additional
equity challenges in the future
Shared mobilitythe shared use of a motor vehicle, bicycle, or other lowspeed transportation
mode that allows users to obtain shortterm access to transportation on an asneeded basishas
the potential to help address some transportation equity challenges. While more land use,
infrastructure, and policy changes are needed, these opportunities may be expensive or have
longtime horizons for implementation. In the near to medium term, shared mobility offers
opportunities to bridge equity gaps in a rapid and costefficient manner. Shared mobility has the
potential to increase mobility for users who are unable to access private vehicles and enable
those who own cars to drive them at higher occupancy, for fewer trips, or forego ownership
altogether, potentially reducing household transportation expenditures while providing more
transportation options.

Co-ops meet capital with Start.coop’s Equitable Economy Fun.

The cooperative model serves as an alternative to traditional capitalism and has the potential to open doors for individuals and communities who may have historically been excluded from opportunities to generate wealth. Research suggests cooperatives may indeed be the key to building a more equitable, sustainable economy. But how can new co-ops get the support they need to get off the ground, grow, and thrive? One organization is working to answer that question.

The Transportation Security Index.  

Reliable access to transportation is essential to holding a job, grocery shopping, and getting to school, child care, social services, and other activities. Transportation insecurity — the experience of being unable to move from place to place in a safe or timely manner — has important consequences for people’s ability to connect to opportunity and flourish.

University of Michigan researchers have developed the first validated measure of transportation security that offers insights into who experiences transportation insecurity and enables researchers and practitioners to determine which interventions can improve this condition. 


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