New Study on Racial Gap in Boston Commutes

The Boston Globe reported on its front page story November 25, 2012 on a new report by Northeastern University showing that black commuters spend more time than white commuters traveling to work. On the bus system, this gap totals 66 hours more per year for black commuters in waiting, riding, and transferring. The report by the Dukakis Center for Public Policy – Staying on Track – also provides a framework for a more sustainable and equitable regional transportation system overall. I was quoted in the Boston Globe article on past experience in getting the state to monitor and address transportation equity:

“Transportation agencies that receive federal funding are required to consider equity, but their models do not fully capture reality, said Penn Loh, who helped create the T Riders Union to advocate for lower-income and transit-dependent riders in 2000.

“We were claiming that there were significant disparities between communities by race, by income, and we certainly had a lot of anecdotes to back that up in terms of both daily experiences of people on different modes as well as historical experiences of where investment happened,” said Loh, then a community organizer and now a Tufts University professor.

But state planners were better equipped to calculate whether a bus route stuck to its schedule than whether that route adequately served the public, Loh said.”

Check out the work of the T Riders Union, which continues to lead the struggles for transit-dependent communities and transportation justice.

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Distinguished Senior Lecturer and Director of Master of Public Policy and Community Practice, Tufts University Department of Urban & Environmental Policy and Planning

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