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Research Projects

STATUS: Complete YEAR: 2019 TOPIC AREA: Sustainability, energy, and health Transportation planning, policy, and finance CENTER: PSR

Assessing the Impact of Equity Work in Transportation

Project Summary

Project number: PSR-19-42
Funding source: Caltrans
Contract number: 65A0674 TO 021
Funding amount: $98,810
Performance period: December 1, 2019 to November 30, 2020

Project description

This report assesses equity work within transportation in California by analyzing the expert perspectives of transportation professionals who also identify as Black or people of color. 28 professionals from across the state were interviewed. Many interviewees work on transportation equity as part of their central job function. Interviews were transcribed and coded for major themes. Key findings centered around a key distinction between "performative" equity work and "authentic" equity work. Performative equity work privileges the comfort and perspective of dominant groups, reinforces status quo, stays in the realm of rhetoric, and often results in superficial changes only. Authentic equity work centers the experience of Black people and people of color, embraces discomfort, transforms dominant culture, and results in measurable changes to the lives of those historically oppressed. Key recommendations include supporting action-oriented equity work, especially around resource allocation and redistribution of decision-making power to communities. The report includes case studies of how to apply findings to new mobilities and policing, as well as visions for more equitable transportation futures.


Sarah McCullough
Associate Director, Feminist Research Institute
1 Shields Ave
Davis, CA 95616
United States
[email protected]