America’s Unfair Rules of the Road
How our transportation system discriminates against the most vulnerable.
* * *Race and transportation have long been intertwined, whether it be federally funded highways that plowed through, or isolated, minority neighborhoods; Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott; or segregated streetcars and trolleys. And there has been tremendous progress within the past century, particularly when Brown v. Board of Education struck down “separate but equal,” leading to the eventual desegregation of public transportation. In the 1990s, two pieces of legislation, the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act and the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, increased community involvement and awareness of civil rights issues in transportation planning. But discrimination, while certainly less overt, remains today.
Sometimes, as in Buffalo’s case, communities feel cut out of the decision-making process. Those in power make decisions about transportation planning, resulting in ill-planned bus routes, transportation more likely to benefit those with cars than those without, and bleak environmental costs. In some cities, roads continue to pull apart neighborhoods, prioritizing commuters over communities. Nationally, the United States remains a country where many forms of transportation are effectively still segregated—whites and minorities ride different kinds of transportation, resulting in an unequal ability to reach jobs, education, and a better life.
Read more at Slate Magazine