A new social equity agenda for sustainable transportation

Social isolation Sustainability Transport Urban planning Human rights Australia


This Canadian report discusses the importance of incorporating social equity and environmental justice objectives into transport policy and planning analysis. It recommends a more systematic and comprehensive framework for social equity impact analysis.

Social equity refers to the equitable distribution of impacts (benefits, disadvantages and costs). Environmental justice is a subset of social equity analysis that focuses on illegal discrimination against disadvantaged groups. This is often the lens through which transportation equity impacts are analyzed. More comprehensive analysis considers additional impacts, including delay and risk that motor vehicle traffic imposes on pedestrians and cyclists, various costs that automobile dependency and sprawl impose on non-drivers, and subsidies for motor vehicle travel which are often overall regressive.

More comprehensive analysis considers how various biases in the transport planning process tend to favor mobility over accessibility and automobile travel over other modes. These biases reduce transport system diversity, and therefore the transport options available to non-drivers, and exacerbate various external costs that are particularly harmful to disadvantaged people. More comprehensive analysis can help identify more integrated, win-win solutions, which achieve a variety of social, economic and environmental objectives. This can help build broader coalitions among diverse interest groups.

Publication Details