As demographic shifts increase and change due to immigration patterns – both internal and external – transportation becomes a social issue.
What are the social issues you hear in this statement from the draft transportation plan of the Buffalo-Niagara region? I’ve highlighted some keywords. We say our plan…
…will take a holistic look at where we are and where we are headed to get us to our shared vision for the region’s future. This understanding gives us a framework to identify the big moves we need to accomplish the goals we set for our economy, communities and environment. As we implement these strategies, we will continually reassess our progress and adjust our approach through an adaptive planning process that manages future risk.
But there are more issues at stake. Molly Secours, in HuffPost article titled, “Think Public Transportation Isn’t a Social Justice Issue? Think Again,” raises some of the issues that ought to be in the forefront of Vincentian minds as they participate in the governmental processes in their local, regional and national debates.
Public transportation speaks volumes about a society. It speaks about racism, economic injustice and the patterns of historical development as a nation — economic, social, cultural, political, environmental — which are embedded in a transportation system many people take for granted.
According to Race, Poverty and Environment, a Journal for social and environmental justice, most transportation systems across the United States destabilize urban core communities and don’t serve the needs of many people of color, women, working, poor, young, elderly and disabled people in urban, rural and Native American tribal communities alike.
Last year a report on the Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge found that transportation projects were managing not only commuting and congestion, but also broader social issues like job access and even infant mortality. It can be done. Justly. Get in on the debate in your local area!