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Transportation Racism: New Routes to Equity dispels a major myth that conceals enduring divisions in American life. While many people view the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as the end of government-sponsored discrimination in the United States, Transportation Racism confirms the obvious and ignored truth: equality in transportation has been established in name only. Case by case, Transportation Racism shows how—a half-century after the Montgomery bus boycotts—chronic inequality in public transportation is firmly and nationally entrenched.
Coast to coast, equal access to healthy, reliable, and practical transportation eludes many people, the majority of them poor people and people of color. The effects of this injustice are broad and deep. Access to transportation, public and private, determines the physical and social mobility necessary for admission to larger social, economic, and civic worlds. For millions of people, exclusion from transportation networks means drastically compromised life choices. Their jeopardized health and limited economic opportunities are then compounded by the day-to-day indignities and feelings of frustration and isolation resulting from publicly funded segregation.
The authors illustrate the insidious contributions of transportation policy and urban planning to the establishment and enforcement of racial and economic inequality. Written in recognition of activists like Ella Baker and Rosa Parks, Transportation Racism lays the groundwork for future transit rights organizers.
Transportation Racism asserts that staying the current course will further polarize communities on the basis of class and color, and the powerful evidence marshaled by the authors in this anthology demands that cities and states revisit their public transportation agendas.
Robert Bullard’s Dumping in Dixie and Confronting Environmental Racism were seminal works in the establishment of Environmental Justice as a movement and an academic field.