TO TRANSPORTATION EQUITY
Why Race Still Matters
By Dr. Robert D. Bullard
This ruling was not overturned until the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision in 1954. In 1955, Rosa Parks ignited the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the modern civil rights movement. Today, Rosa Parks would have a difficult time sitting on the front or back of a Montgomery bus today, since the city dismantled its public bus system—that served mostly blacks and poor people.
Follow the Dollars
Follow the transportation dollars and one can tell who is important and who is not. While many barriers to equitable transportation for low-income and people of color have been removed, much more needs to be done. Transportation spending programs do not benefit all populations equally. The lion's share of transportation dollars is spent on roads, while urban transit systems are often left in disrepair. Most are strapped for funds. Nationally, 80 percent of all surface transportation funds is earmarked for highways and 20 percent is earmarked for public transportation. Generally, states spend less than 20 percent of federal transportation funding on transit.2 Some states even restrict the use of the gas tax—the single largest source of transportation funding. For example, Georgia and 29 other states restrict use of the gasoline tax revenue to funding highway programs only.3 From 1998-2003, TEA-21 transportation spending amounted to $217 billion. This was the "largest public works bill enacted in the nation's history."4 Public transit has received roughly $50 Billion since the creation of the Urban Mass Transit Administration over thirty years ago. While roadway projects have received over $205 Billion since 1956.5
In the real world, all transit is not created equal. In general, most transit systems have tended to take their low-income and people of color "captive riders" for granted and concentrated their fare and service policies on attracting middle-class and affluent riders out of their cars.6 Moreover, transit subsidies have tended to favor investment in suburban transit and expensive new commuter bus and rail lines that disproportionately serve wealthier "discretionary riders."
Transportation's Share of Household Budgets
Lest anyone dismiss transportation as a tangential issue, consider that Americans spend more on transportation than any other household expense except housing. On average, Americans spend 19 cents out of every dollar earned on transportation expenses. Transportation costs ranged from 17.1 percent in the Northeast to 20.8 percent in the South. Americans spend more on transportation than they do on food, education, and health care. A large share of that money is devoted to transportation and housing. The nation's poorest families spend more than 40 percent of their take home pay on transportation. This is not a small point since African American households tend to earn less money than whites.7 Nationally, African Americans earn only $649 per $1,000 earned by whites. This means that the typical black household in the United States earned 35 percent less than the typical white household.
The private automobile is still the most dominant travel mode of every segment of the American population, including the poor and people of color. Clearly, private automobiles provide enormous employment access advantages to their owners. Car ownership is almost universal in the United States with 91.7 percent of American households owning at least one motor vehicle. According to the 2001 National Household Travel Survey (NHTS), which was released in 2003, 87.6 percent of whites, 83.1 percent of Asians and Hispanics, and 78.9 percent of blacks rely on the private car to get around.8 Thus, lack of car ownership and inadequate public transit service in many central cities and metropolitan regions with high proportion of "captive" transit dependents exacerbate social, economic, and racial isolation—especially for low-income people of color residents who already have limited transportation options.
Having a seven-lane freeway next door, for instance, is not much of a benefit to someone who does not even own a car. Nationally, only 7 percent of white households own no car, compared with 24 percent of African American households, 17 percent of Latino households, and 13 percent of Asian-American households. African Americans are almost six times as likely as whites to use transit to get around. In urban areas, African Americans and Latinos comprise over 54 percent of transit users (62 percent of bus riders, 35 percent of subway riders, and 29 percent of commuter rail riders).
Race and Space Matters
In 2000, The United States' population was 69 percent white, 12 percent black, 12.5 percent Hispanic, and 3.6 percent Asian American. People of color comprise nearly half of the population in the nation's 100 largest cities. For the 36.4 million African Americans,9 race underlies and interpenetrates with the other factors in explaining the socio-spatial layout of most of our cities, suburbs, and metropolitan regions, including quality of schools, location of job centers, housing patterns, environmental quality, transportation, land use, streets and highway configuration, commercial and business development, access to health care, and a host of other quality of life indicators.
In the major metropolitan areas where most African Americans, Latinos, and Asians live, segregation levels changed little between 1990 and 2000. Black-white segregation is still significantly higher than the segregation levels for other ethnic groups. The average white American lived in a neighborhood that was 80 percent white, 8 percent Hispanic, 7 percent black, and 4 percent Asian. Similarly, the typical black lived in a neighborhood that was 51 percent black, 33 percent white, 12 percent Hispanic, and 3 percent Asian.10
Three-fifths of all blacks live in ten states: New York, California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina, Maryland, Michigan, and Louisiana. Almost 55 percent of the nation's blacks live in the South. The Northeast and Midwest were each home to 19 percent of the black population in 2000, and the West home to about 10 percent. Between 1990-2000, Florida and Georgia gained 674,000 and 632,000 blacks. Texas added 453,000 blacks, and Maryland and North Carolina each gained over 300,000 blacks over the same period.
Over 88 percent of blacks live in metropolitan areas and 53.1 percent live inside central cities. About 60 percent of blacks live in the 10 metropolitan areas. The metropolitan areas with the largest black population include New York (2.3 million), Chicago (1.0 million), Detroit (0.7 million), Philadelphia (0.6 million), Houston (0.5 million), Baltimore (0.4 million), Los Angeles (0.4 million), Memphis (0.4million), Washington, DC (0.3 million), and New Orleans (0.3 million).
The Southeast is especially attractive to middle-class, post-baby boomer blacks. Over 79 percent of blacks in the South and 98 percent of all blacks outside of the South live in metropolitan areas.11 Black in-migrants to the South tend to reside in the suburbs or metropolitan areas. Seven of the ten fastest growing counties for blacks are in the suburbs of metro Atlanta. Black suburbanization has often meant re-segregation. Still, separate translates to unequal even for the most successful and affluent blacks.
Many jobs have shifted to the suburbs and communities where public transportation is inadequate or nonexistent. The exodus of low-skilled jobs to the suburbs disproportionately affects central-city residents, particularly people of color, who often face more limited choice of housing location and transportation in growing areas. Between 1990 and 1997, jobs on the fringe of metropolitan areas grew by 19 percent versus 4 percent job growth in core areas. While many new jobs have are being created in the suburbs, the majority of job opportunities for low-income workers are still located in central cities.12
Central cities contain 20 percent of all workers and 69 percent
of all transit use. On the other hand, suburbs account for half of all workers
but generate 29 percent of all transit trips. Nearly 60 percent of transit
riders are served by the ten largest urban transit systems and the remaining
40 percent by the other 5,000 transit systems.
Suburbs are increasing their share of office while central cities
see their share declining.13 The suburban share of the metropolitan
office space is 69.5 percent in Detroit, 65.8 percent in Atlanta, 57.7 percent
in Washington, DC, 57.4 percent in Miami, and 55.2 percent in Philadelphia.
Getting to these suburban jobs without a car is next to impossible. It is
no accident that Detroit leads in suburban "office sprawl." Detroit
is also the most segregated big city in the United States and the only major
metropolitan area without a regional transit system. Only about 2.4 percent
of metropolitan Detroiters use transit to get to work.
Our Right to Pollute
Transportation-related sources account for over 30 percent of the primary smog-forming pollutants emitted nationwide and 28 percent of the fine particulates. Vehicle emissions are the main reasons 121 Air Quality Districts in the U.S. are in noncompliance with the 1970 Clean Air Act's National Ambient Air Quality Standards. Over 140 million Americans, 25 percent of whom are children, live, work, and play in areas where air quality does not meet national standards.14 Emissions from cars, trucks, and buses cause 25-51 percent of the air pollution in the nation's nonattainment areas. Transportation related emissions also generate more than a quarter of the greenhouse gases.15
Improvements in transportation investments and air quality are
of special significance to low-income persons and people of color who are
more likely to live in areas with reduced air quality when compared with whites.
National Argonne Laboratory researchers discovered that 57 percent of whites,
65 percent of African Americans, and 80 percent of Latinos lived in the 437
counties that failed to meet at least one of the EPA ambient air quality standards.16
A 2000 study from the American Lung Association shows that children of color
are disproportionately represented in areas with high ozone levels.17
Additionally, 61.3 percent of Black children, 69.2 percent of Hispanic children
and 67.7 percent of Asian-American children live in areas that exceed the
0.08 ppm ozone standard, while only 50.8 percent of white children live in
Paying the Price with Rising Asthma Rates
Air pollution from vehicle emissions causes significant amounts of illness, hospitalization, and premature death. A 2002 study in Lancet reports strong causal link between ozone and asthma.18 Ground-level ozone may exacerbate health problems such as asthma, nasal congestions, throat irritation, respiratory tract inflammation, reduced resistance to infection, changes in cell function, loss of lung elasticity, chest pains, lung scarring, formation of lesions within the lungs, and premature aging of lung tissues.19
Air pollution claims 70,000 lives a year, nearly twice the number
killed in traffic accidents.20 A 2001 CDC report, Creating a Healthy
Environment: The Impact of the Built Environment on Health, points a finger
at transportation and sprawl as major health threats.21 Although
it is difficult to put a single price tag the on cost of air pollution, estimates
range from $10 billion to $200 billion a year.22 Asthma is the
number one reason for childhood emergency room visits in most major cities
in the country. The hospitalization rate for African Americans is 3 to 4 times
the rate for whites. African Americans are three times more likely than whites
to die from asthma.23
Getting sick is complicated for the nation's uninsured.
Blacks and Hispanics are most at risk of being uninsured. Blacks and Hispanics
now comprise 52.6 percent of the 43 million Americans without health insurance.
Nearly one-half of working-age Hispanics (46%) lacked health insurance for
all or part of the year prior to the survey, as did one-third of African Americans
(30%). In comparison one-fifth of whites and Asian Americans (21% and 20%,
respectively) ages 18-64 lacked coverage for all or part of the year.24
Transportation and energy security are also linked. Transportation energy accounts for about half of world oil demand and road vehicles use over 70 percent of transportation energy consumption. In addition to health and environment reasons for the U.S. to move our transportation beyond oil to more secure and sustainable alternative fuels, there are compelling energy security and economic strength reasons to invest in clean fuels technology. The U.S. has over 217 million cars, buses, and trucks that consume 67 percent of the nation's oil. Transportation-related oil consumption in the U.S. has risen 43 percent since 1975.
The United States accounts for almost one-third of the world's vehicles. With just five percent of the world's population, Americans consume more than 25 percent of the oil produced worldwide.25 More important, almost 60 percent of our oil comes from foreign sources. War for oil looms as a growing scenario. The burdens of war fall heaviest on poor, working class, and people of color Americanswho make up a disproportionately large share of the all-volunteer military. For example, African Americans represent 13 percent of the U.S. population and 20 percent of the war deaths in the conflict with Iraq.26
Discrimination still places an extra "tax" on poor people and people of color who need safe, affordable, and accessible transportation. Many of the nation's transportation-related disparities accumulated over a century. It will likely take years, with much effort, and plenty of resources to dismantle the deeply ingrained legacy of transportation racism.
Grassroots leaders from New York City to Los Angeles are demanding an end to transportation racism. They are spreading the word that transportation dollars are aiding and abetting the flight of people, jobs, and development to the suburban fringe. Groups are fighting to get affordable fares, representation on transportation boards and commissions, and to get their fair share of transit services, bus shelters, handicapped accessible vehicles, and other amenities. Some groups are waging grassroots campaigns to get "dirty diesel" buses and bus depots from being dumped in their neighborhoods. Some grassroots leaders are also struggling to get public transit systems linked to jobs and economic activity centers and to get workers paid a livable wage so that they can also have transportation optionsinclude car ownership.
1. For an in-depth account of the Plessy v. Ferguson court case see Brook Thomas, ed., Plessy v. Ferguson: A brief History with Documents. New York: Bedford/St. Martin, 1997.
2. Thomas W. Sanchez, Rich Stolz, and Jacinta S. Ma, Moving to Equity: Addressing Inequitable Effects of Transportation Policies on Minorities. Cambridge, MA: The Civil Rights Project at Harvard University, 2003.
3. R. Puentes and R. Prince, Fueling Transportation Finance: A Primer on the Gas Tax. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 2003.
4. D.C. Gardner, "Transportation Reauthorization: A Summary of the Transportation Equity Act (TEA-21) for the Twenty-First Century," 30 Urban Law Journal (1998):1097, 1099-1101.
5. Hank Dittmar and Don Chen, "Equity in Transportation investments," Paper presented at the Transportation: Environmental Justice and Social Equity Conference Proceedings, July 1995.
6. Mark Garret and Brian Taylor, "Reconsidering Social Equity in Public Transit," Berkeley Planning Journal 13 (1999): 6-27.
7. G. Scott Thomas, "Racial Income Gap is More Like a Chasm," Business First of Buffalo, December 16, 2002 found at http://www.bizjournals.com/buffalo/stories/2002/12/16/story2.html.
8. John Pucher and John L. Renne, "Socioeconomics of Urban Travel: Evidence from the 2001 NHTS," Transportation Quarterly 57 (Summer 2003): 49-77.
9. U.S. Census Bureau, Facts for Feature: African American History Month, February 2002," (January 17, 2002) found at http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/2002/cb02ff01.html.
10. John R. Logan, Separate and Unequal: The Neighborhood Gap of Blacks and Hispanics in Metropolitan America. Albany, NY: Lewis Mumford Center for Comparative Urban and Regional Research, University of Albany (October 13, 2002).
11. William H. Frey, Census 2000 Shows large Black Return to the South, Reinforcing the Region's White-Black' Demographic profile," PSC Research Report No. 01-473, Population Studies Center at the Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan (May 2001) also found at http://www.psc.isr.umich.edu/pubs/papers/rr01-473.pdf.
12. Qin Shen, "Location Characteristics of Inner-City Neighborhoods and Employment Accessibility of Low-wage Workers," Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design 25 (1998): 345-365.
13. Robert E. Lang, Office Sprawl: The Evolving Geography of Business. Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution, Center on Urban & Metropolitan Policy, October 2000 found at http://www.brook.edu/dybdocroot/es/urban/officesprawl/lang.pdf.
14. American Lung Association, State of the Air 2002 Report, Executive Summary, www.lungusa.org/air2001/summary02.html.
15. James S. Cannon, "Statement of James S. Cannon on Behalf of INFORM, Inc." Testimony before the Senate Finance Committee, Washington, DC (July 10, 2001).
16. Dee R. Wernette and Leslie A. Nieves, "Breathing polluted air: Minorities are disproportionately exposed," EPA Journal 18 (March/April, 1992): 16-17.
17. American Lung Association, "Fact Sheet: Children and Air Pollution," (September 2000) found at http://www.lungusa.org/air/children_factsheet99.html. Accessed December 1, 2002.
18. McConnell, R, Berhane, K, Gilliland, F, London, SJ, Islam, T, Gauderman, WJ, Avol, E, Margolis, HG, and Peters, JM, "Asthma in Exercising Children Exposed to Ozone: A Cohort Study. The Lancet, 359 (2002): 386-391.
19. U.S. EPA, "Review of National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone, Assessment of Scientific and Technical Information," OAQPS Staff Paper. Research Triangle Park, NC: EPA, 1996; Ozkaynk, H, Spengler, JD, O'Neil, M, Xue, J, Zhou, H, Gilbert, K, and Ramstrom, S. "Ambient Ozone Exposure and Emergency Hospital Admissions and Emergency Room Visits for Respiratory Problems in Thirteen U.S. Cities," in American Lung Association, Breathless: Air Pollution and Hospital Admissions/Emergency Room Visits in 13 Cities. Washington, DC: American Lung Association, 1996; American Lung Association, Out of Breath: Populations-at-Risk to Alternative Ozone Levels. Washington, DC: American Lung Association, 1995.
20. Bernie Fischlowitz-Roberts, "Air Pollution Fatalities Now Exceed Traffic Fatalities 3 to 1," Earth Policy Institute, September 17, 2002, http://www.earth-policy.org/Updates/Update17.htm.
21. Richard J. Jackson and Chris Kochtitzky, Creating a healthy environment: The impact of the built environment on public health. Atlanta: Centers for Disease Control, 2001.
22. D. Bollier. How smart growth can stop sprawl: A briefing guide for funders. Washington, DC: Essential Books, 1998.
23. Centers for Disease Control. Death rates from 72 selected causes by year, age groups, race, and sex: United States 1979-98. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics, 2000.
24. Karen Scott Collins, Dora L. Hughes, Michelle M. Doty, Brett L. Ives, Jennifer N. Edwards, and Katie Tenney, Diverse Communities, Common Concerns: Assessing Health Care Quality for Minority Americans. A report from The Commonwealth Fund (March 2002) found on the Fund website at http://www.cmwf.org/programs/minority/collins_diversecommunities_523.pdf.
25. Joanna D. Underwood, "Weaning Oil Dependence Helps World Security," The Earth Times November 8, 2001.
26. David R. Segal, "Alumni Perspective: U.S. Forces in Iraq Whose Lives were on the Line," Binghamton Alumni Journal 11 (Summer 2003) found on the State University of New York at Binghamton website at http://web.naplesnews.com/03/04/naples/d928607a.htm; Thomas Hargrove "Conflict with Iraq: Study Shows 20 Percent of War Deaths are Blacks," Naples Daily News April 12, 2003 found at http://web.naplesnews.com/03/04/naples/d928607a.htm.
NEW TRANSPORTATION BOOK
R.D. Bullard, G.S. Johnson, and A.O. Torres, Highway Robbery: Transportation Racism and New Routes to Equity. Boston: South End Press, 2004, ISBN 0-89608-704-2 $18.00 paper
After writing Just Transportation: Dismantling Race and Class Barriers to Mobility in 1997, it became clear to us that transportation should be placed back on the "front burner" of the national civil rights agenda. In recent years, transportation slipped off the civil rights radar. This was the main impetus for us writing a follow-up book, Highway Robbery: Transportation Racism and New Routes to Equity. In this new book, some of the nation's leading experts demonstrate that transportation is more than a means of getting people from point A to point B.
Transportation provides access to opportunity and serves as
a key component in addressing poverty, unemployment, while ensuring equal
access to education, jobs, health care, and other essential services. Highway
Robbery dispels a major myth that conceals enduring divisions in American
life. While many people view the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as the end of government-sponsored
discrimination in the United States, Highway Robbery confirms the obvious
and ignored truth: equality in transportation has been established in name
only. Case by case, Highway Robbery shows how-a half-century after
the Montgomery bus boycottschronic inequality in public transportation
is firmly and nationally entrenched.
Coast to coast, equal access to healthy, reliable, and practical
transportation eludes many people, the majority of them poor people and people
of color. The effects of this injustice are broad and deep. Access to transportation,
public and private, determines the physical and social mobility necessary
for admission to larger social, economic, and civic worlds. For millions of
people, exclusion from transportation networks means drastically compromised
life choices. Their jeopardized health and limited economic opportunities
are then compounded by the day-to-day indignities and feelings of frustration
and isolation resulting from publicly funded segregation. Highway Robbery
asserts that staying the current course will further polarize communities
on the basis of class and color, and the powerful evidence marshaled by the
authors in this anthology demands that cities and states revisit their public
Drawing on legal precedents, voices from the grassroots, and academic research, Highway Robbery bridges intellectual disciplines and activist movements by linking the national inequalities in transportation to larger economic, health, environmental justice, and quality of life issues. The authors illustrate the insidious contributions of transportation policy and urban planning to the establishment and enforcement of racial and economic inequality. Written in recognition of activists like Ella Baker and Rosa Parks, Highway Robbery lays the groundwork for future transit rights organizers. To view the book's chapter description, table of content, and contributors bios please click HERE.
EJRC KICKS OFF BLACK URBAN REGIONAL EQUITY PROJECT
A project funded with support from The Ford Foundation
As part of our center's "National Equity and Smart Growth Initiative," the EJRC is commissioning a series of papers that focus on the "black urban experience" in the early years of the 21st century. The project examines race and racism in American cities and suburbs. The EJRC invited a select group of African American authors to contribute chapter-length manuscripts on a wide range of topics related to the contemporary black urban experience, regional equity, metropolitan & regional growth, fair and affordable housing, home ownership, gentrification and displacement, employment, access to jobs, concentration of poverty, education, urban/suburban school disparities, segregation and social isolation, gated communities, economic development, purchasing power, transportation equity, urban air quality, public health, suburban sprawl, land use planning, brownfields redevelopment, environmental justice, governance, crime and policing, tax-base sharing, political power, and related topics.
The project will also hold a two-day Roundtable in Atlanta, Georgia to discuss the papers in early April 2004. The commissioned papers will be edited for an anthology to be published in early 2005. The project participants include: Walter R. Allen (University of California, Los Angeles), Carl Anthony (The Ford Foundation), Kimberly Jacob Arriola (Emory University), Angela Glover Blackwell (Policy Link), Edward Blakely (New School University), David A. Bositis (Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies), Ronald Braithwaite (Emory University), Robert D. Bullard (Clark Atlanta University), Sheryll D. Cashin (Georgetown Univerestiy Law Center), Joe T. Darden (Michigan State University), William A. "Sandy" Darity (Duke University), Deeohn Ferris (Global Environmental Resources, Inc.), Ranita Fortenberry (Emory University), J. Eugene Grigsby, III (National Health Education Foundation), Lenneal J. Henderson (University of Baltimore), Cheryl Hill Lee (National Urban League Institute for Opportunity and Equality), Glenn S. Johnson (Clark Atlanta University), David Lemmel (Simmons College), David A. Padgett (Tennessee State University), john a. powell (Ohio State University), Catherine Ross (Georgia Institute of Technology), William Spriggs (National Urban League National Institute for Opportunity and Equality), June M. Thomas (Michigan State University), Angel O. Torres (Clark Atlanta University), and Beverly Wright (Xavier University of Louisiana).
Thomas W. Sanchez, Rich Stolz, and Jacinta S. Ma. "Moving to Equity: Addressing Inequitable Effects of Transportation Policies on Minorities," (June 2003)
This report prepared by the Civil Rights Project at Harvard University and the Center for Community Change identifies surface transportation policies' inequitable effects. It examines existing research in the area and highlights the critical need for more research and data collection related to the impact of transportation policies on minority and low-income communities. It also makes recommendations to address the racial injustices created by transportation policies.
Surface Transportation Policy Project. Clearing
the Air, Public Health Threats from Cars and Heavy Duty Vehicles- Why We Need
to Protect Federal Clean Air Laws, (August 19, 2003).
This report ranks metropolitan areas nationwide by the highest number of days of unhealthy air pollution levels over the last three years using new data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Riverside-San Bernardino ranked worst nationwide with 445 days of unhealthy air during 2000-2002 (an average of 148 days per year.) Other cities ranking in the top twelve worst include Fresno, CA, Los Angeles, CA, Sacramento, CA, Pittsburgh, PA, Knoxville, TN, Birmingham, AL and Cleveland, OH. The report also includes state fact sheets that identify cities in each state with the worst air pollution and the prevalence of asthma by metro area.
Mafruza Khan and Greg LeRoy, Missing
the Bus: How States Fail to Connect Economic Development with Public Transit.
Good Jobs First (September 2003).
The 50-state study finds that transportation planning is not effectively connected to economic development. Not a single state coordinates its economic development spending with public transportation. It also finds that 46 states fail to even collect data on subsidized corporate relocations and therefore cannot determine if their economic development incentives are undermining job access for low-wage workers. Although states have more than 1,500 economic development subsidy programs and states and cities spend more than $50 billion a year for economic development, none encourages or requires companies that receive the subsidies to locate at transit-accessible places. Given the sprawling patterns of development that dominate American metro areas, with high concentrations of unemployment and poverty at the core, and high rates of job growth in outer-ring suburbs, the findings suggest development incentives are failing to increase job access for workers who need help the most. The study recommends Location Efficient Incentives, or using development subsidies as a "carrot" to get companies to locate jobs where they are accessible by public transit.
Todd Litman. "Integrating
Public Health Objectives in Transportation Decision-Making," The
Science of Health Promotion, (September/October 2003, Vol. 18, No. 1:
Conventional transportation planning tends to overlook negative health impacts resulting from increased motor vehicle travel and potential health benefits from shifts to alternative modes. Raising the priority of health objectives supports planning reforms that result in a more balanced transportation system. The author explores how transportation decision-making can better support public health objectives, including reduced crashes and pollution emissions, and more physical activity.
Robert Puentes and Linda Bailey, Improving
Metropolitan Decision Making in Transportation: Greater Funding and Devolution
for Greater Accountability. The Brookings Institution. Washington,
DC (October 2003).
This study documents metropolitan planners' responsiveness to local needs such as transit. Despite the fact that they control significantly fewer federal dollars, metropolitan planning organizations have committed more money to transit than their state-level counterparts in the past five years. The findings from the study call for an increased role for metropolitan planning organizations in making decisions on federal transportation spending and recommend that the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement program funds be programmed by the regions with poor air quality. For more information visit: http://www.transact.org/news.asp?id=40.
David Schrank and Tim Lomax, "The
2003 Annual Urban Mobility Report," Texas Transportation Institute
The Annual Report of the Urban Mobility Study provides information about transportation trends between 1982 and 2000 and analyzes issues that the motoring public, transportation officials, and policy makers often raise regarding transportation mobility and traffic congestion. The report measures the effect of five congestion remedies in the cities where they are being used. Specifically, the study illustrates the effect of public transportation service and bus and carpool lanes, and three types of roadway operating efficiencies traffic signal coordination, freeway incident management (clearing crashes and disabled vehicles) and the use of freeway entrance ramp meters (signals that regulate traffic flow onto the freeway).
California Air Resources Board. "Characterizing
the Range of Children's Pollutant Exposure during School Bus Commutes,"
A study by the California Air Resources Board (ARB) found that that pollution inside many of California school buses may be worse than the pollution found in roadway air. The study was conducted to characterize the range of children's exposures to diesel vehicle-related pollutants and other vehicle pollutants during their commutes to school by school buses.
Edward Beimborn and Robert Puentes, Highways
and Transit: Leveling the Playing Field in Federal Transportation Policy.
Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution (December 2003).
This brief report compares how new transit and highway programs are treated differently by federal legislation and policy how those differences lead to an unleveled playing field, distorting good local planning, management, and decision making.
Shannon Cairns, Jessica Greig, and Martin Wachs. Environmental Justice & Transportation: A Citizen's Handbook. California: Institute of Transportation Studies (January 2003).
This handbook is designed to assist individuals on how environmental justice is incorporated into decisions about transportation policy and projects. Contact University of California Berkeley Institute of Transportation Studies. Contact: Phyllis Orrick (510) 643-2591.
Chirag Mehta, Sara Baum, Nik Theodore, and Lori Bush. "Workplace
Safety in Atlanta's Construction Industry: Institutional Failure in Temporary
Staffing Arrangements," Center to Protect Workers' Rights, (June
This study examines the working conditions experienced by temp workers supplied by temp agencies to building and construction contractors in the Atlanta metro area and examines factors that influence these conditions. The report also provides a set of remedies to bolster workplace safety in temporary employment. They include establishing codes of conduct for temp agencies and client employers to improve workers' rights.
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. "Not
in My Backyard: Executive Order 12,898 and Title VI as Tools for Achieving
Environmental Justice," (September 2003).
The report finds that the EPA, HUD, DOT, and DOI have failed to fully implement the Executive Order signed in 1994 by President Clinton mandating that federal agencies incorporate environmental justice into their work and programs. The report follows hearings on environmental justice held by the Commission in January and February 2002. Experts presented evidence of environmental inequities in communities of color, including disproportionate incidences of environmentally related disease, lead paint in homes, hazardous waste sites, toxic playgrounds, and schools located near Superfund sites and facilities that release toxic chemicals. The report will be distributed to members of Congress and President Bush.
Sprawl, Smart Growth, and Health
PolicyLink, Expanding Housing Opportunity in Washington, DC: The Case for Inclusionary (Fall 2003).
This report shows how inclusionary zoning helps increase the development of affordable rental and ownership units; expand opportunity, by creating mixed income communities; contribute to deconcentration of poverty, by spreading affordable housing across jurisdictions or regions, rather than isolating it in the poorest neighborhoods; and makes recommendations to jurisdictions for crafting a comprehensive and successful inclusionary zoning program. Click on the link below to read the report or executive summary.
Barbara A. McCann and Reid Ewing, Measuring
the Health Effects of Sprawl: A National Analysis of Physical Activity, Obesity,
and Chronic Disease. Surface Transportation Policy Project and Smart
Growth America (September 2003).
This report presents the first national study to show that people who live in counties marked by sprawl-style development tend to weigh more, are more likely to be obese and are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure. For links and special media coverage of the report click HERE.
American Journal of Health Promotion and the American Journal of Public Health Special Issue on Impact of Built Environment on Health Vol. 93, Issue 9 (September, 2003). This issue thoroughly reviews the most up-to-date research on the relationship between community design and health. It is the first to link obesity directly to the built environment. Researchers used Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data to look at health characteristics of more than 200,000 individuals living in 448 U.S. counties in major metropolitan areas. They assessed the degree of sprawl in each county using U.S. Census and other federal data. Sprawl development results in spread-out communities where homes are far from shops, restaurants, or any other destination. The study shows that, as sprawl increases, so do the chances that residents will be obese or have high blood pressure. People living in the most sprawling counties are likely to weigh six pounds more than people in the most compact county, and are more likely to be obese. The study also found that people in sprawling areas walk less. Distance, lack of sidewalks and other barriers keep them from walking to the store or other destinations. The report and other studies from the special issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion are available at www.healthpromotionjournal.com. Studies from the special issue of the American Journal of Public Health are available at www.ajph.org.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. "Travel and Environmental Implications of School Siting," (October 2003).
This study provides information about the effect of school location on how children get to school. It shows that school siting and design can affect traffic congestion, air pollution, school transportation budgets, and children's health and obesity. The results suggest that actions to improve students' walking environments, and to support communities that wish to locate schools in neighborhoods, will result in increases in student walking and biking to school. Increased walking and biking can reduce emissions related to auto travel and improve environmental quality.
Phillip Mattera and Greg LeRoy, The
Jobs are Back in Town: Urban Smart Growth and Construction Employment.
Washington, DC: Good Jobs First (November 2003).
This study finds that contrary to common belief, smart growth policies are good for construction jobs. The report provides evidence that smart growth can create more employment opportunities than sprawl for workers who build residential and commercial structures and transportation infrastructure. The study, examines how growth-management policies affect construction jobs. In Oregon, which adopted the country's first Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) a quarter-century ago, construction job growth outpaced the nation's more than 4 to 1 for the most recent 15-year period. The study also analyzes the labor intensity of different types of buildings. Using data from a prominent estimating firm, it compares compact building types (e.g. apartment houses and townhouses) to single-family homes. In denser contruction, labor makes up a larger portion of total costs. Lastly, the study compares highway projects, using data from the Federal Highway Administration. "Fix it first" projects, such as the resurfacing, rehabilitation and reconstruction of roads-are more labor-intensive than new highway construction, after adjusting for land costs.
Hank Dittmar and Gloria Ohland, The New Transit Town: Best Practices in Transit-Oriented Development, Washington, DC: Island Press, 2003.
This edited volume brings together experts in planning, transportation and sustainable design to examine the first generation of TOD projects and derive lessons for the next generation. Topics include a taxonomy of projects appropriate for different contexts; the planning and regulatory framework of "successful" projects; financing strategies; traffic and parking for TOD; and performance measures to help evaluate outcomes. There are case studies of Arlington County, Virginia, Dallas, Atlanta, San Jose and San Diego.
Harvey Fireside, Separate
but Unequal: Homer Plessy and the Supreme Court Decision that Legalized Racism.
New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers (January 2004).
In Separate but Unequal, Harvey Fireside traces the roots of the Supreme Court decision that enshrined racial separation in America for the next sixty years. He uncovers little-known areas of U.S. history, such as the remarkable Black Creole community that flourished as a distinct culture after Louisiana was purchased from France and Spain. Well-educated and prosperous, they threw in their lot with recently freed Negroes in the 1890s, because new racist laws relegated them both to second-class citizenship. Among the "carpetbaggers," demonized in history as corrupt and greedy Northerners, Fireside reveals true idealists like Albion Tourgee, who argued Plessy's case without fee to the Supreme Court. Seven justices there approved segregation laws, but Justice John Marshall Harlan - a former slave owner - dissented. He memorably punctured the hypocrisy behind a law claiming to provide "separate but equal" accommodations, which were actually inferior and racist. Unfortunately, as this book argues, these standards for African Americans still exist.
Michael Sweeney and Janet Davidson, On
the Move: Transportation and the American Story. Washington, DC: National
Geographic (November 2003).
Starting with the nation's earliest forms of transportation, ten rich, provocative chapters highlight the people and subjects most affected by vehicles and networks. Travel the Oregon Trail with hopeful pioneers seeking new lives. Witness the driving of the golden spike to complete the transcontinental railroadand thus to open vast possibilities for American entrepreneurs, politicians, artists, soldiers, and adventurers. Meet Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and other African American artists who migrated to the Big Apple where they launched the Harlem Renaissance. From the Erie Canal to Chicago's urban expressways, from Ellis Island to LAX Airport, humorous and surprising narratives rich in personal anecdotes reveal how various methods of transportation shaped both individual lives and entire eras.
Michael J. Klarman, From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The Supreme Court, Race, and the Constitution. New York: Oxford University Press (January 2004).
Do Supreme Court decisions matter? In 1896 the United States Supreme Court ruled in Plessy v. Ferguson that railroad segregation laws were permissible under the Fourteenth Amendment. In 1954 the Court's decision in Brown v. the Board of Education held that the same constitutional provision invalidated statutes segregating public schools How great an impact did judicial rulings such as Plessy and Brown have? How much did such Court decisions influence the larger world of race relations? In From Jim Crow to Civil Rights, Michael J. Klarman examines the social and political impact of the Supreme Court's decisions involving race relations from Plessy, the Progressive Era, and the Interwar Period to World Wars I and II, Brown and the Civil Rights Movement. He explores the wide variety of consequences that Brown may have had--raising the salience of race issues, educating opinion, mobilizing supporters, energizing opponents of racial change. He concludes that Brown was ultimately more important for mobilizing southern white opposition to racial change than for encouraging direct-action protest. The decision created concrete occasions for violent confrontation--court ordered school desegregation and radicalized southern politics, leading to the election of politicians who calculated that violent suppression of civil rights demonstrations would win votes. It was such violence--vividly captured on television--that ultimately transformed northern opinion on race, leading to the enactment of landmark civil rights legislation in the mid 1960s. A fascinating investigation of the Supreme Court's rulings on race, From Jim Crow to Civil Rights, spells out in exhaustive detail the political and social context against which the Supreme Court Justices operate and the consequences of those decisions on the civil rights movement and beyond.
ABOUT THE EJRC
The Environmental Justice Resource Center (EJRC) at Clark Atlanta University was formed in 1994 to serve as a research, policy, and information clearinghouse on issues related to environmental justice, race and the environment, civil rights, facility siting, land use planning, brownfields, transportation equity, suburban sprawl, and Smart Growth. The overall goal of the center is to assist, support, train, and educate people of color students, professionals, and grassroots community leaders with the goal of facilitating their inclusion into the mainstream of environmental decision-making. The center is multi-disciplinary in its focus and approach. It serves as a bridge among the social and behavioral sciences, natural and physical sciences, engineering, management, and legal disciplines to solve environmental problems. The center's programs build on the work that its staff has been engaged in for over two decades.
Transportation Equity is published four times a year by the Environmental Justice Resource Center at Clark Atlanta University, 223 James P. Brawley Drive, Atlanta, GA 30314, (404) 880-6911, fax: (404) 880-6909, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Web site: www.ejrc.cau.edu.
Transportation Equity is a newsletter of the Atlanta Transportation Equity Project. Editor, Robert D. Bullard. Editorial Staff: Glenn S. Johnson, and Angel O. Torres. We welcome the submission of short articles, notices of publications, videos, conferences, and other announcements. Copyright© 2003 by the Environmental Justice Resource Center at Clark Atlanta University. [All rights reserved.]