Equitable Transportation Planning Curriculum for Urban Planning and Transportation Programs

Transportation is needed to access jobs, food, health care, recreational and open spaces, and other important destinations. Equity in transportation planning processes ensures equal access to affordable and reliable transportation while ensuring that vulnerable groups don’t receive disproportionate benefits or burdens. Without inclusive processes, transportation planning can negatively impact low-income communities, minorities, persons with disabilities, the elderly, children, and other traditionally underserved populations. Many agencies and communities across the nation are seeking to address equity concerns and encourage livability, economic growth, and active transportation. Planning and transportation professionals must understand how to successfully plan for equity by identifying and addressing a broad range of transportation needs. It is also important that transportation professionals have a clear understanding of their roles as advocates for and partners with disadvantaged communities. This curriculum proposal seeks to provide emerging professionals with the training and tools needed to successfully integrate equity into transportation decision-making processes. Students taking the course will gain an appreciation for the historic impetus to consider equity and a deeper understanding of related concepts, including accessibility, mobility, affordability, and sustainability. Beyond this foundational knowledge, emerging professionals will acquire skills that can be put into practice and propel equity to the forefront of the transportation planning profession. This foundational knowledge and skillset will launch the use of innovative transportation planning approaches to identify and address the unique needs of various population groups, particularly traditionally underserved populations. Emerging planners and transportation professionals are the next group of professionals to shape the transportation system. Funding from CTEDD would enable the development of an expanded curriculum with service-learning and community engagement experience for planning and transportation students across the nation. This curriculum will provide those emerging professionals with the foundation and tools needed to successfully advance equity in transportation decision-making for years to come.