Sound Off: Improving Federal Transportation Equity Data

by Leah Shahum | June 1, 2021 | in News

Share Your Feedback by July 22nd (new date!)

[pullquote]Watch the June 25th information session for helpful background.[/pullquote]It’s no secret that we have much room to improve in this country to make our transportation systems truly equitable and safe for all people. And a lot of the “fix” starts with collecting and using better data that recognizes and addresses existing inequities, especially regarding racial inequities in safe, healthy, affordable transportation options for all people.

We’re sharing good news from the U.S. Department of Transportation, which is asking for public input (That’s YOU!!) on how to improve Transportation Equity Data. This official Request for Information (RFI) is part of the implementation of President Biden’s Executive Order: “Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.”

Dangerous by Design, 2021

This high-level federal recognition of serious inequities in our transportation system could not come soon enough, given that some communities are disproportionately at risk, particularly people of color, low-income people, seniors, children, and people walking and biking. For instance, the 2021 Dangerous by Design report showed that in the U.S., Black people are struck and killed by drivers at an 82% higher rate than white people; and people in the lowest-income neighborhoods suffered a fatality rate three times as high as the much higher-income areas.

This important opportunity should inform and shape Federal policies, programs and funding priorities in order to achieve transportation equity and prevent disparities, in part by improving on data-driven work.

Let’s support this effort to advance racial equity in transportation and increase safety for underserved communities. Submit comments by July 22, 2021 (new, extended date).

And this is not just an important opportunity for transportation professionals. U.S. DOT should be hearing from regular people with lived experiences, public health leaders, community-based advocates…all of us who recognize the need to do better.

Thank you to the U.S. DOT team for taking this important step, and we urge them to take action to address systemic problems in our system. As the DOT’s RFI states:

“Equitable and safe access to transportation is a civil right. Transportation touches every part of American lives and makes the American Dream possible, getting people and goods to where they need to be, directly and indirectly creating good-paying jobs and helping improve quality of life, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. However, misguided policies and missed opportunities can reinforce racial, ethnic, geographic, and disability disparities, dividing or isolating neighborhoods and undermining the government’s essential role of empowering Americans to thrive.”

Dangerous by Design, 2021

And, as we shared in one of the Vision Zero Network’s recommendations to the Biden Administration in early 2021 —Collect data and regularly, publicly report on disparities in mobility access and safety; set and work toward equitable safe mobility outcomes at the Federal level” — improving data is an important foundation for advancing equity nationwide.

Please get your comments in by July 22nd!

Tags: equity

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