In March 2016, we launched the LA County Transportation Equity technical work group in March to help outline potential equity benchmarks and metrics to help inform Metro’s Long Range Transportation Plan updates.
Today, we hosted an informative and collaborative conference call discussion with over 20 partners from Metro, LA County Department of Public Health, Public Health Alliance of Southern California, USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity, Advancement Project, SCOPE-LA, and other community organizations interested in equity issues.
On the call, we talked about the working group’s progress, timeline, and white paper outline. Here are the highlights:
- Our partners made a finer point on the historical underinvestment and inequities in transportation investments, especially for our most environmentally impacted communities of color and low-income communities. Some of our partners are interested in a transportation investment screening method that takes into account diverse neighborhoods and a variety of indicators (especially economic ones) like the concentration of working poor and unemployment (USC PERE wrote a great recap of screening for transportation equity here). We like to say place matters — and the access to jobs is critical to economic success.
- Our partners reminded us that it would have been ideal if, years ago, we were organized around a transportation equity screening method to help inform the current debate on what projects are prioritized in the potential 2016 transportation ballot measure. This missed opportunity reminds us that, during the updates to the Long Range Transportation Plan later this year, we have an opportunity to build consensus on definitions of equity, back up our findings with smart and effective research, and partner with decision makers to ensure transportation upgrades benefit the working poor and other vulnerable populations.
- And last: we can’t forget about the people who use our transportation system frequently or who can benefit from an improved system. Our partners recommended helping to tell these stories to inform updates to the Long Range Transportation Plan.
Thank you to all our partners who joined the call. For those who couldn’t join, see our notes here.