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Unformatted text preview: ansportation directly influences the special layout of communities
Robert D. Bullard, Glenn S. Johnson, and Angel O. Torres, Ph.D. in Sociology at Iowa State
University; Associate Professor at Clark Atlanta University; Geographic Information Systems Training
Spet, 2004 ("Highway Robbery Transportation Racism And New Routes to Equity", Page 3 -5)
Transportation systems do not spring up out of thin air. They are planned and, in many cases,
planned poorly when it comes to people of color. Conscious decisions determine the location
of freeways, bus stops, fueling stations, and train stations. Decisions to build highways,
expressways, and beltways have far-reaching effects on land use, energy policies, and the
environment. Decisions by county commissioners to bar the extension of public transit to job -rich
economic activity centers in suburban counties and instead spend their transportation dollars on
repairing and expanding the nation's roads have serious mobility implication s for central city
residents. Together, all these transportation decisions shape United States metropolitan areas,
growth patterns, physical mobility, and economic opportunities.' These same transportation
policies have also aided, and in some cases subsidized, racial, economic, and environmental
inequities as evidenced by the segregated housing and spatial layout of our central cities and
suburbs. It is not by chance that millions of Americans have been socially isolated and
relegated to economically depressed and deteriorating central cities and that transportation
apartheid has been created. An Affair with the Automobile Over the past 75 years, automobile
production and highway construction have multiplied, while urban mass transit systems have
been dismantled or allowed to fall into disrepair. The American automobile culture was spurred by
massive government investments in roads (3 million miles) and interstate highways (45,000 miles).
Automobiles account for 28 percent of our nation's energy consumption . Transportation consumes 67
percent of the petroleum used in the United States.' And over 75 percent of transportation energy is
used by highway vehicles. From 1998 to 1999, US gasoline consumption rose by 2.5 percent and
vehicle miles traveled increased by 1.4 percent. More cars on the road has meant more pollution,
traffic congestion, wasted energy, urban sprawl, residential segregation, and social disruption.
Indeed, not all Americans have received the same benefits from the massive road and highway
spending over the past several decades. Generally, the benefits of highways are widely dispersed
among the many travelers who drive them, while the burdens of those roads are more localized.
Having a seven-lane freeway next door, for instance, is not a benefit to someone who does not even
own a car. People of color are twice as likely to use nonautomotive modes of travel public
transit, walking, and biking to get to work, as compared to their white counterparts. In urban
areas, African Americans and Latinos comprise 54 percent of transit users (62 percent of bus
riders, 35 percent of subway riders, and 29 percent of commuter r...
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This document was uploaded on 02/06/2014.
- Spring '14