Access for the unbanked—equity with electronic tolling and contactless transit payment

State DOTs are increasingly moving to all electronic tolling (AET) for roads and bridges. Transit agencies nationwide are also updating fare collection systems, and the trend is towards contactless, cashless fare payment. However, a significant percentage of the U.S. population does not have a bank account, and this poses significant accessibility challenges to the transportation system.

Commuter tax benefits: Who wins and loses?

A new report from TransitCenter shines a light on the federal Commuter Tax Benefits program and the impact the program has on mode choice. While the concept of excluding from taxation income spent on transportation to work may sound reasonable, in practice the program is heavily skewed in favor of drivers, provides a disproportionate benefit to the wealthy, costs taxpayers billions of dollars per year in uncollected revenue, and adds over 800,000 car commuters, driving over 4.6 billion additional miles per year to the nation’s road system.

Guest post: Settlement in case alleging transportation project discriminates against urban minorities

Wisconsin DOT and U.S. DOT recently reached a landmark agreement to settle a lawsuit brought in 2012 by the Black Health Coalition of Wisconsin and the Milwaukee Inner-city Congregations Allied for Hope, challenging the $1.7 billion Zoo Interchange highway reconstruction project. This case may help lead to more balanced and inclusive transportation decisions in the future. But because it ended in a settlement and not an opinion of the court, whether it will result in changes in other states is still to be seen.

Maintaining Diversity In America’s Transit-Rich Neighborhoods: Tools for Equitable Neighborhood Change (Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy, 2013)

As communities across the country plan for and build transit-rich neighborhoods there is a growing need for planning and policy tools to guide this effort. This report provides a detailed analysis of how the introduction of high quality transit can spark neighborhood change, positive and negative. This change may have the unintended consequences of displacing existing residents or not meeting transit ridership goals. The report introduces an on-line tool kit to help planners and policy makers address these and other concerns.

Getting on Board for Health (Alameda County Public Health Department, 2013)

This health impact assessment informed the development of the San Francisco Bay Area’s Regional Transportation Plan. It focused specifically on transit-dependent populations and the expected health outcomes that may result from changes to bus access as determined by RTP.

Ohio city may lose federal road funding over refusal to install bus stops

Beavercreek, OH, could lose $10.7 million in federal transportation funding for roads because of its refusal to install bus stops requested by the RTA near a large mall. FHWA gave the city 90 days to take steps to comply with their request that the city approve a stop application process that did not violate federal discrimination guidelines.

Are We There Yet? Creating Complete Communities for 21st Century America (Reconnecting America, 2012)

This report that tracks progress in America’s regions toward a vision of complete communities. The report highlights the benefits that complete communities offer all Americans, tells stories about the work being done across the country to create complete communities, and measures progress in every region with a population above 55,000. Transportation plays a key role in this report, including gauging access for low-income and disadvantages communities, whether cities have invested in fixed guideways, and the development implications of in transit, bicycling and walking infrastructure.

Are We There Yet? Creating Complete Communities for 21st Century America (Reconnecting America, 2012)

This report that tracks progress in America’s regions toward a vision of complete communities. The report highlights the benefits that complete communities offer all Americans, tells stories about the work being done across the country to create complete communities, and measures progress in every region with a population above 55,000. Transportation plays a key role in this report, including gauging access for low-income and disadvantages communities, whether cities have invested in fixed guideways, and the development implications of in transit, bicycling and walking infrastructure.