Report: Better access to transportation important for equity

Inequitable access to transportation for Black communities has been an issue dating back before before the civil rights movement, and there’s renewed effort to better address those challenges now.

A recent report from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation explores the issue of transportation access and ways to improve disparities, from more ride-share programs to access to autonomous vehicles and better loan terms.

The report found that 20% of Black households don’t have access to a vehicle or face higher interest rates on auto loans than white buyers. Some 24% of public transit riders are African American, even though they only make up 12% of the U.S. population, according to the report.

Between 2000 and 2012, there were 14% fewer jobs near Black residents due in part to gentrification and housing costs. Another 25% of Black households don’t have smartphones and can’t use ride-hailing options.

When looking at hybrid vehicles in California, only 3% of buyers are African American, but the state accounts for half of all electric vehicles in the U.S.

And when it comes to health concerns, Black people are also more likely to live near high-traffic roads than white people.

The report found Black pedestrians are also more likely to be hit than white pedestrians due to unsafe sidewalks, signage and lighting in their respective communities.

The report recommends access to bike shares and scooters near bus stops, increased shuttle services to public transit and multiple ways to access car shares for those without smartphones.

More zero-emission vehicles when it comes to ride-share fleets is also what the report identifies as a move to address health disparities.

Policies focused on less investment in policing to fund free public transit is also a solution, according to the report. Overall, the goal is to identify policies that encourage equity and access.

Melissa Howell

Melissa Howell joined WTOP Radio in March 2018 and is excited to cover stories that matter across D.C., as well as in Maryland and Virginia. 

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