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Abstract

Transportation touches almost every aspect of our lives and plays a pivotal role in shaping human interactions, economic mobility, and sustainability. Transportation provides access to opportunity and serves as a key component in addressing poverty, unemployment, and equal opportunity goals. This article examines the inequity that exists in the United States when it comes to transit, as the benefits from transportation advancements and investments are not distributed equally among communities, making transportation equity an issue of civil rights and social justice. This article frames transportation issues as a continuation of the civil rights movement and the wrestling with differential treatment that goes back to Plessy v. Ferguson and later Brown v. Board of Education and Rosa Parks. Communities today are disadvantaged when it comes to investments, enhancements and access to transportation resources, detailed in the article in various examples of disparate transportation spending. Measures taken to erase transportation inequities, including government response and fallout from the environmental justice movement attempt to eliminate unequal enforcement of the nation’s transportation systems and policies and combat burgeoning issues such as suburban sprawl and the shift of many jobs to the suburbs where public transportation is inadequate. Transportation continues to be divided along racial lines, but it is a key ingredient in building economically viable and sustainable communities and with the policy recommendations detailed in the article’s conclusion, these inequities can be addressed.

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