News | UCLA MURP Graduate Lupita Huerta: It All Started with a Bus Trip

Stop the Video



by Dan Lamere, USC, Masters of Urban Planning 2021

Meet Lupita Huerta, a Spring 2020 graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles’ (UCLA) Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) program, with a focus on Transportation Policy and Planning.


Originally from El Monte, CA, Lupita also attended UCLA as an undergraduate, majoring in International Development and graduating in 2012. She worked for four years in education, including with Teach for America, before deciding to transition to urban planning, with a specific interest in transportation.


Lupita first became interested in studying transportation when riding LA Metro’s number 2 bus from Downtown Los Angeles to UCLA as an undergraduate student. On her many journeys along this line, she quickly made a connection between equity and racial justice issues and transportation systems. “That specific bus line is a microcosm of the stratification in Los Angeles as you travel from low-income communities of color (many of whom are struggling with gentrification), to the affluent, predominantly white communities in West Los Angeles,” she explained. “My experience riding this line inspired me to delve deeper into studying issues related to income inequality, and how transportation plays a role in the mobility of residents, both in the literal and figurative sense.”


Outside of the classroom, Lupita’s work experience includes working for Councilmember Mike Bonin’s Office in the City of Los Angeles, and LA Metro’s Information and Technology Services department. In the Fall of 2019, she was awarded a WTS-LA (Women’s Transportation Seminar – Los Angeles Chapter) scholarship, sponsored by Fehr & Peers, for her excellent work ethic and contributions to both the field and her cohort in grad school.


Lupita actively recognizes the importance of social justice in her work in transportation planning, especially during the current social justice movements happening across the country, including Black Lives Matter (BLM), which she feels have shown us the importance of not further feeding into racist policy and planning practices. “I believe that we as planners, especially transportation planners, should not think of this as a fleeting moment, but instead see it as a call to action to dismantle the systems of oppression that have allowed cities to become as inequitable as they are,” she shared. As a burgeoning transportation planner, Lupita strives each day to work to ensure that everyone has safe and equitable access to mobility, transit, and public spaces.


About the Author:

Dan Lamere is a second-year Master of Urban Planning student at the USC Price School of Public Policy. He works as a staff writer and project coordinator for the METRANS student team.