It is true that transportation equity can be evaluated in various ways and that special interest groups often use equity concerns to advance their own agenda,Feb 27, 2012 1 of 2View SourceIt is true that transportation equity can be evaluated in various ways and
that special interest groups often use equity concerns to advance their own
agenda, but it tends to be an important concern in transport policy and
planning decision-making, and there is a good body of literature on
transport equity analysis. There are three major categories of transport
1. Horizontal Equity (also called fairness) is concerned with whether
each individual or group is treated equally, assuming that their needs and
abilities are comparable. It suggests that people with comparable incomes
and needs should receive an equal share of public resources and benefits,
and bear an equal burden of public costs. It implies that costs should be
borne by users unless a subsidy is specifically justified (i.e., the user
2. Vertical Equity With Regard to Income considers the allocation of
costs between different income classes, assuming that public policies should
favor people who are economically disadvantaged. Policies that provide a
proportionally greater benefit to lower-income groups are called
progressive, while those that make lower-income people relatively worse off
are called regressive.
3. Vertical Equity With Regard to Mobility Need and Ability considers
whether a transportation system provides adequate service to people who have
special transportation needs (i.e., they are transportation disadvantaged).
It justifies facility design features and special mobility services that
provide access to people with disabilities. It suggests that public
subsidies should be used to provide Basic Access to transportation
Equity analysis is complicated by the fact that there are many types of
impacts to consider and people can be grouped in various ways. A particular
policy may seem equitable and justified when evaluated one way but not in
another. It is therefore important that decision-makers understand these
different perspectives and measurement units. I agree with Gabe that road
pricing is often portrayed as regressive and therefore inequitable, although
it is generally more equitable than other road funding options, particularly
if there are good alternatives to driving. This is why most experts argue
that a portion of road pricing revenues should be used to improve transport
For more information see:
Anvita Arora and Geetam Tiwari (2007), A Handbook for Socio-economic Impact
Assessment (SEIA) of Future Urban Transport (FUT) Projects, Transportation
Research and Injury Prevention Program (TRIPP), Indian Institute of
Technology (http://tripp.iitd.ernet.in); at
Judith Bell and Larry Cohen (2009), The Transportation Prescription: Bold
New Ideas for Healthy, Equitable Transportation Reform in America,
PolicyLink and the Prevention Institute Convergence Partnership
David J. Forkenbrock and Glen E. Weisbrod (2001), Guidebook for Assessing
the Social and Economic Effects of Transportation Projects, NCHRP Report
456, Transportation Research Board, National Academy Press (www.trb.org).
David Forkenbrock and Jason Sheeley (2004), Effective Methods for
Environmental Justice Assessment, National Cooperative Highway Research
Program (NCHRP) Report 532, Transportation Research Board (www.trb.org);
available at http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/nchrp/nchrp_rpt_532.pdf.
Todd Litman (2002), Evaluating Transportation Equity, World Transport
Policy & Practice (http://ecoplan.org/wtpp/wt_index.htm), Volume 8, No. 2,
Summer, pp. 50-65; revised version at www.vtpi.org/equity.pdf.
Todd Litman (2006), You CAN Get There From Here: Evaluating Transportation
Diversity, Victoria Transport Policy Institute (www.vtpi.org); at
www.vtpi.org/choice.pdf; originally published as, You Can Get There From
Here: Evaluating Transportation Choice, Transportation Research Record
1756, TRB (www.trb.org), 2001, pp. 32-41
Todd Litman and Marc Brenman (2011), A New Social Equity Agenda For
Sustainable Transportation, Paper 12-3916, Transportation Research Board
Annual Meeting (www.trb.org); at www.vtpi.org/equityagenda.pdf.
Karen Lucas (2004), Running on Empty: Transport, Social Exclusion and
Environmental Justice, Policy Press
Caroline Rodier, John E. Abraham, Brenda N. Dix and John D. Hunt (2010),
Equity Analysis of Land Use and Transport Plans Using an Integrated Spatial
Model, Report 09-08, Mineta Transportation Institute
Thomas W. Sanchez, Richard Stolz and Jacinta S. Ma (2003), Moving to Equity:
Addressing Inequitable Effects of Transportation Policies on Minorities, The
Harvard University Civil Rights Project (www.civilrightsproject.harvard.edu)
and the Center for Community Change (www.communitychange.org).
K.H. Schaeffer and Elliot Sclar (1980), Access for All, Columbia University
Press (New York).
Lisa Schweitzer and Brian Taylor (2008), Just Pricing: The Distributional
Effects Of Congestion Pricing And Sales Taxes, Transportation, Vol. 35, No.
6, pp. 797812 (www.springerlink.com/content/l168327363227298); summarized
in Just Road Pricing, Access 36 (www.uctc.net/access); Spring 2010, pp.
2-7; at www.uctc.net/access/36/access36.pdf.
SDC (2011), Fairness in a Car Dependent Society, Sustainable Development
Commission (www.sd-commission.org.uk); at
Jamie E.L. Spinney, Darren M. Scott, and K. Bruce Newbold (2009), Transport
Mobility Benefits And Quality Of Life: A Time-Use Perspective Of Elderly
Canadians, Transport Policy, Vol. 16, Is. 1, January, Pages 1-11.
TRB (2011), Equity of Evolving Transportation Finance Mechanisms, Special
Report 303, Transportation Research Board (www.trb.org); at
Asha Weinstein Agrawal (2011), Getting Around When Youre Just Getting By:
The Travel Behavior and Transportation Expenditures of Low-Income Adults,
Mineta Transportation Institute (www.transweb.sjsu.edu); at
Victoria Transport Policy Institute (www.vtpi.org)
Phone & Fax 250-360-1560
1250 Rudlin Street, Victoria, BC, V8V 3R7, CANADA
Efficiency - Equity - Clarity
[mailto:sustran-discuss-bounces+litman=vtpi.org@...] On Behalf
Of Gabriel Roth
Sent: February-22-12 10:33 AM
To: Eric Bruun
Cc: NewMobilityCafe@yahoogroups.com; WorldTransport@yahoogroups.com;
Subject: [sustran] Re: [KyotoWorldCities] Equitable Transportation
Of course you are right that "equity" is brought into these discussions.
Often by those who do not like markets or the principle of "user pays"? So,
it may well be "inescapable", but I do my best to escape it as I consider it
a distraction from transport and land use issues.
I wish others would avoid "equity" on transport lists, or at least define it
properly if they feel impelled to discuss it.
Best wishes -
On Feb 22, 2012, at 10:50 AM, Eric Bruun wrote:
> I see your point that much of the discussion of equity isn't really
> But I think that the concept of equity is, to some extent, inescapable
when discussing roads and urban development, since it involves public policy
on investment, pricing, taxes, subsidies, potential discrimination against
people whose age or health prevents them from using certain transport modes,
> Eric B 2
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Gabriel Roth
> Sent: Feb 22, 2012 5:34 PM
> To: Eric Bruun , KyotoWorldCities@yahoogroups.com
> Cc: NewMobilityCafe@yahoogroups.com, WorldTransport@yahoogroups.com,
> Subject: Re: [KyotoWorldCities] Equitable Transportation
> Eric -
> My comment was made in the light of a recent exchange with the esteemed
other Eric, which I reproduce below.
> However, more fundamentally, many concerns about "Equity" in transport
relate to income inequality, and with the reality that those with more money
can get better deals. But this is fundamental to the market system, which
enables some to be richer than others. What I meant was that objections to
the market system (which has been found to be best at raising overall living
standards) are better discussed elsewhere, not on a site dealing with roads
and urban development.
> I suppose I could have written more about "Equity" which, incidentally, is
rarely defined by those who use that word. Do those who write about
transport "equity" consider the equity of forcing low-income taxpayers to
subsidize rail systems used mostly (in the UK and US) by those with higher
incomes? Or the "equity" of requiring all in congested traffic to travel at
the same, low, speed? Or of subsidizing high-cost unionized transit systems,
while prohibiting low-cost, high-frequency, transit provided by shared taxis
and associations of privately-owned minibuses?
> This is why some of us have been focusing on trying to get the most
benefits out of our roads by applying to them the pricing and investment
criteria we use for the allocation of other scarce resources, such as food,
water and telecommunications. Such policies would enable those with urgent
needs to be able pay more to travel more quickly, as in the Singapore and
Stockholm congestion pricing zones. Many know that Singapore and Sweden,
that adopt such policies, are not the poorest countries in the world.
> Best wishes -
> But if the 1% include ambulances, food delivery vans, people trying to
catch planes, police trying to catch law-breakers, is it "equitable" to
restrict their ability to travel faster ?
> On Jan 8, 2012, at 3:02 AM, eric britton wrote:
>> So right Gabriel. So very right. My response:
>> My best response (for now)
>> This is, if I may say it, an amazingly simple approach to transport
policy and practice, in that once you understand and accept the basic
principle a huge number of other good things follow. And you have only to
look in one place to see if you have it -- and that is on the streets of
your city. If the mayor, all public servants, and the top economic 1% of
your community travel by the same means as the other 99%, you have an
equitable system. Sometimes life is simple
>> That's my point of departure in the first day of my pondering this new
initiative. But be sure, I shall be working on it, and your note of caution
is extremely appreciated.
>> All the best/Eric
>> EcoPlan International
> Association loi de 1901
>> Eric Britton, Managing Director
>> Un projet de l'Association Ecoplan International (Loi de 1901)
>> 8/10, rue Jospeh Bara Paris 75006 France
>> +331 7550 3788
> association@... Skype newmobility
> Sustainable Development, Business & Society | World Streets | New
> Siret 304555295 00019 Arrêté du ministre de lintérieur. 19 août 1975
> Avant d'imprimer, pensez à l'environnement
> On Feb 22, 2012, at 4:22 AM, Eric Bruun wrote:
>> Would you care to elaborate on this?
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Gabriel Roth
>> Sent: Feb 21, 2012 5:28 PM
>> To: KyotoWorldCities@yahoogroups.com
>> Cc: NewMobilityCafe@yahoogroups.com, WorldTransport@yahoogroups.com,
>> Subject: Re: [KyotoWorldCities] Equitable Transportation
>> Eric -
>> Thanks, but please count me out of this one. Most concerns about "Equity"
relate to the market system, not to transport.
>> Best wishes -
>> On Feb 21, 2012, at 3:21 AM, eric britton wrote:
>>> From: Chris Bradshaw [mailto:c_bradshaw@...]
>>> This is a big elephant-in-the-room. Is access to transportation
equitable. I raise this issue as one that the usual green-transportation
agenda (more efficient cars, intelligent highways, better transit at rush
hours) ignores. The others that are ignored are: health/obesity;
health/trauma; health/stress, sprawl, congestion, social/community capital.
>>> I use the PED-CIVS acronym to identify those who the system ignores in
favour of AAAs (active, affluent adults): It stands for poor, elderly,
disabled, children, ill/infirm, visitors, and "simplicists" (this last
eschews car-ownership). Your reference to the unemployed and under-employed
suggests that I should add one: making it PED-CIVUS. The IVUs are really
those temporarily in the PEDCS classes.
>>> The total in this group at any one time must be close to 50% (and will
be higher as the aging occurs).
>>> In transit, the engineer-planners use the term "transit captive" to
refer to those without the means to driver whenever the transit service
"displeases" them. Their patronage, as a result, can be taken for granted.
It is only the AAAs whose patronage they have to compete for. That is a
distinction that is the opposite of what we need. [See Walker, Jarrett
(2012), Human Transit, p. 44-45; or my essay:
>>> So, count me in as part of your group you are organizing to monitor this
>>> Chris Bradshaw
To search the archives of sustran-discuss visit
SUSTRAN-DISCUSS is a forum devoted to discussion of people-centred,
equitable and sustainable transport with a focus on developing countries
(the 'Global South').
The distinction between horizontal equity, vertical equity and vertical equity with regard to mobility need and ability is a helpful starting point to make usFeb 28, 2012 1 of 2View Source
The distinction between horizontal equity, vertical equity and vertical equity with regard to mobility need and ability is a helpful starting point to make us think more clearly about what we actually mean when we talk about equity. But, as someone who deals a lot with issues for people whose mobility is reduced by barriers in the transport environment, it gives me certain cause for concern.
What exactly is 'special transportation need'? I would argue that it is only 'special' because the design of the transport environment hasn't accommodated that need in the first place. Wheelchair users would be better off without any seating on transport vehicles – and surely the provision of that seating is the fulfilment of a 'special transportation need'? Profoundly Deaf people don’t need public announcements – this is a ‘special transportation need’ of hearing people. Again, a dignitary’s need for private transportation for security or speed purposes is surely a 'special transportation need'.
What's special depends on who defines what's normal. And here we have some chickens and eggs. The more those who don't fit what's normal aren't seen using the normal, the less their 'special' needs get taken into account. The notion of ‘special interest groups’ advancing their own agenda through the concept of equity begs a whole host of questions about whose agenda it is anyway.
For a dignitary to rub shoulders with the rest of us on the 'normal' transportation system is a good start in eradicating the need for special and delivering equity. But the president's barriers are 'softer' – it's less an issue of infrastructure modifications than adjusting operations and attitudes.
Easy and unfettered use of the transport system – where that includes all forms of mobility – is a pre-requisite for economic inclusion. If we continue to consider some people's transportation needs as 'special', we will perpetuate an economic underclass that has economic implications for the rest of the social system – a rod for our own backs socially and economically speaking.
Dr Alice Maynard. Future Inclusion