Vision and Goals
Transportation is a crucial link to ensuring opportunity for all — connecting us to jobs, schools, housing, health care, and grocery stores. But millions of people live in communities where quality transportation options are unaffordable, unreliable, or nonexistent.
Federal transportation policy choices — what we build, where we put it, who builds it, how we operate it, what energy powers it — have an enormous impact on our economy, our climate, and our health. We must invest in a manner that builds a nation where all people can participate and prosper.
The Transportation Equity Caucus — formed by the nation’s leading civil rights, community development, disability, racial justice, economic justice, faith-based, health, housing, labor, environmental justice, tribal, public interest, women’s groups and transportation organizations — drives transportation policies that advance racial, economic and social equity in America.
We work collaboratively to transform the transportation systems in Black, Indigenous, and communities of color (BIPOC), low-income communities, and other marginalized communities through research, advocacy, and communications strategies.
The following goals emphasize the conditions we seek to create as a result of our collective work.
Create Thriving Communities
- Evaluate existing transportation projects in urban, suburban, rural, and tribal communities using health equity and environmental justice frameworks to assess the impacts of these projects.
- Empower, enhance, and resource communities to establish their own definition of equitable transportation that promotes community connectivity, safety, and self-determination.
- Develop cross-sector coalitions and partnerships with health, workforce, housing, and other organizations and agencies to ensure comprehensive approaches to multi-pronged challenges — helping communities have transportation access to affordable housing, jobs, schools, health, and community services.
- Increase, make accessible, and expand investment in community-owned bicycle-sharing, car-sharing, and other micro-transit systems in BIPOC communities.
- Empower, enhance, and meaningfully resource equity strategies within rural and tribal transportation planning organizations (and establish them where they do not exist).
Enhance Transportation Affordability, Safety, and Accessibility
- Significantly increase funding and maximize existing funding that supports enhanced public transportation service, safe biking and walking infrastructure, and accessible sidewalks — particularly in historically marginalized communities.
- Expand existing fare-free transit programs and increase funding for community-based research, education, and implementation of additional fare-free programs.
- Ensure emerging mobility services (e.g. bike share, car share, scooter share, etc.) are accessible to people with disabilities, provide low-income options, and are distributed using equity metrics throughout any geographic area.
- Lower the barriers to entry for electric vehicle purchase incentives and clean mobility programs.
- Eliminate the reliance on transportation-related punitive fees by introducing means-based fines and expanding “ability to pay” programs.
Cultivate Reparative Investment
- Repair and improve aging transportation infrastructure, avoid creation or expansion of highways that have disconnected historically disadvantaged communities, and invest in public and active transportation infrastructure.
- Ensure funding for new and existing transportation infrastructure investments is aligned with equity goals for economic inclusion and reimagined communities.
- Improving safety by strengthening funding to community-based transportation safety approaches and reducing over-reliance on punitive law enforcement strategies.
- Invest in transportation options to improve mobility and connectivity within and between urban, rural, and suburban communities, ensuring that BIPOC communities can access affordable transportation — particularly supporting communities that navigate across regions to access jobs, housing, health care and community networks.
- Invest in climate-resilient transportation technologies, vehicles, and infrastructure (e.g. electric vehicles, zero-emission public transportation, pedestrian and bicycling infrastructure) in BIPOC communities.
Promote Generative Jobs and Wealth Creation
- Establish and uphold job quality protections and standards, including prevailing wages, benefits, and health and safety guarantees across the transportation sector.
- Ensure guaranteed job training, career pathways, and ownership opportunities for Black, Indigenous, people of color, people with disabilities, refugees and racialized immigrants, and formerly incarcerated and justice-impacted individuals to access employment opportunities associated with manufacturing, building, maintaining, repairing, and operating our nation’s transportation systems.
- Strengthen, enforce, and tie federal funding to compliance with contracting goals for disadvantaged business enterprises to ensure business owners of color have opportunities to create wealth in their communities.
- Ensure safe, accessible, and affordable public transportation access to employment centers or job hubs and bring these employment centers to neighborhoods most in need of increased job creation.
Demand Government Transparency and Accountability
- Establish criteria and align federal funding to national transportation outcomes such as improved mobility for people and goods, access, transit ridership, health and safety, as well as reduced household costs, carbon emissions, and vehicle miles traveled.
- Establish an accountability metric system for agencies to ensure transportation projects embed housing, community development, and environmental sustainability goals.
- Actively monitor civil rights provisions to ensure fair and equitable access to the benefits of our transportation system, and prevent disproportionate negative impacts on marginalized communities.
- Promote approaches that center equity and safety when deciding priorities of new projects, policies, and programs.
- Center anti-displacement and affordable housing, cultural equity, generative jobs, and community development in transportation-decision making and investments.
- Improve accountability and public engagement in metropolitan planning organizations, state departments of transportation, and all spaces where decisions are made about transportation (e.g. transit agencies, city governments, etc.), especially for tribal communities and other historically marginalized communities.
The Transportation Equity Caucus works to achieve these goals by advocating for various policies and practices that help advance our vision.