Transportation equity is about providing everyone – regardless of age, income, race, or disability – with feasible transportation options. Transportation for America organized this brief to ensure that all Americans have access to the proper mobility options that reduce the inherent necessity of driving to access jobs, education, shopping and recreation.
Currently, Americans spend about 20 percent of their budgets on transportation, and for many working families that number is higher. Transportation for America believes that while focusing on affordable housing is important, achieving affordable living, which reflects the combined burden of transportation and housing costs, is even more imperative. The current transportation system affects equity issues because low income communities typically suffer more from pollution and unsustainable resources, highways and transit systems are generally designed for commuters coming from the suburbs to city centers, and transportation projects and plans are often developed without meaningful involvement of affected communities.
Other important brief facts include:
- Nearly 25 percent of working-poor homeowners’ household income is consumed by housing and commuting, compared to 15 percent for other households.
- Communities of color are more reliant on public transportation to get where the need to go.
- Fifty-five percent of public transportation users have incomes between $15,000 and $50,000, compared to 28 percent with incomes below $15,000.
- Low-income workers with access to public transportation spend about 7 percent less of their income on transportation.
How to Use
Local officials and planners can use the information provided in this policy brief as a starting point for determining the necessity of goals and strategies to eradicate transportation inequity in their community. Additionally, the policy recommendations listed provide great ways to create strong and affordable communities, ensure environmental justice and healthy neighborhoods, and increase access to multimodal transportation options for all.
View full report: Policy Webinar – Transportation and Social Equity: Opportunity Follows Mobility (PDF – 1.2 MB)