Experts discuss how regulators can make transportation systems more accessible and just.
Whether on planes, trains, or automobiles, the ability to move freely cannot always be taken for granted—especially by those from disadvantaged communities.
During the Biden-Harris Administration, regulators and lawmakers have focused on improving and building out new transportation infrastructure. Throughout this process, advocates have called on decision-makers to consider the needs of individuals who have historically struggled to access transportation.
If mobility justice is about serving the “right to move in the world,” then the current period of rapid infrastructure improvements presents an opportunity to right at least some of the wrongs of past transportation systems, which were often designed without vulnerable communities in mind.
Policies to repair roads and bridges, and to provide incentives for purchasing electric vehicles, may be laudable—but they matter less to those for whom car ownership or access to car-sharing programs still remains out-of-reach. Experts claim that a transportation system rooted in mobility justice would ask regulators to listen to underserved communities to understand better how to incorporate their needs into systems design and standards.
The Regulatory Review has invited scholars to discuss ways that regulation can promote mobility justice. These scholars highlight the many forms that regulating for mobility justice takes, including accessible design, grant programs for low-income communities, and new anti-discrimination remedies.
This series features contributions from: Jesus M. Barajas, University of California, Davis; Jasmine E. Harris, University of Pennsylvania; Sarah Winchell Lenhoff, Wayne State University; Thomas R. Menzies, National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Samuel Speroni, University of California, Los Angeles; and Melissa Welch-Ross, National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
Disability and the Right to Move in the World
March 27, 2023 | Jasmine E. Harris, University of Pennsylvania
Air travel is one natural site to interrogate how mobility justice impacts disabled people. In 2019, approximately 27 million passengers with disabilities traveled by air. Yet greater overall access masks the realities and stakes of air travel for people with disabilities.
Opening the Skies to Passengers Who Use Wheelchairs
March 28, 2023 | Melissa Welch-Ross, National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, and Thomas R. Menzies, National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
At a time when equity is at the forefront of public policy, the continued lack of access to safe, convenient, and comfortable air travel by many people with disabilities is becoming increasingly untenable and will require a concerted strategy to find empathetic solutions.
Sustainable Transportation for Rural Communities
March 29, 2023 | Jesus M. Barajas, University of California, Davis
Rural residents who do not have sufficient access to a car often face other structural disadvantages associated with lower socioeconomic status, which all together compound inequities. As the country continues to invest in and implement a more sustainable transportation system, leaders must do so in a way that attends to rural communities’ distinct needs.
Transportation for Mobility Justice and Educational Equity
March 30, 2023 | Samuel Speroni, University of California, Los Angeles, and Sarah Winchell Lenhoff, Wayne State University
School bus systems are typically structured so that many children from neighborhoods near a school all board buses that then converge on that school. But this old model is not oriented toward a new reality. In response, some new transportation models have emerged.