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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Racial Equity, Black America, and Public Transportation, Volume 1: A Review of Economic, Health, and Social Impacts. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26710.
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1   This report documents and presents the results of a review of literature that establishes a baseline understanding of transportation’s economic, health, and social impacts on Black people in the United States. This review was coupled with a qualitative analysis of practitioner interviews to arrive at gaps in the literature as well as key themes that could inform an approach to subsequent research efforts. Preliminary recommendations deriving from the review of literature included (1) the need to ascertain the general variance between what literature and policies say about the experiences Black people have regarding transportation and what interviews revealed about how transportation is currently experienced by Black people; (2) the importance of including, in subsequent analyses, specific and intersectional experiences of Black people who are especially vulnerable to inequities; and (3) the necessity of an intentional effort to incorporate geographic equity in the research methods and final recommendations thereafter. Recurring themes in the literature and in the perspectives of interviewees included (1) trans- portation governance and how transportation investment decisions are made; (2) the specific impacts of slavery and their current, quantitative impacts on transportation; (3) the need to establish a comprehensive overview of disinvestment from Black neighborhoods for the purpose of naming recommended reparative investment priorities; (4) the specific correla- tions between transportation projects and housing instability; (5) the perception of Black communities as being less desirable in the eyes of transportation planners; (6) the need for reparative approaches to public health impacts stemming from transportation practices; and (7) the moral imperative of illuminating examples of existing responses to environ- mental racism. S U M M A R Y Racial Equity, Black America, and Public Transportation Volume 1: A Review of Economic, Health, and Social Impacts

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An overall objective of the transit community is to help develop an enhanced and more inclusive approach to public transportation planning and decision making. Public transportation planners have a critical role in addressing and correcting many of the problems caused by a 20th- and 21st-century transportation sector that severely impacted and, in some cases, destroyed Black communities in the building of today’s transportation systems and network.

The TRB Transit Cooperative Research Program's TCRP Research Report 236: Racial Equity, Black America, and Public Transportation, Volume 1: A Review of Economic, Health, and Social Impacts reviews the literature and summarizes common practices of the 20th and 21st centuries that had significant economic, health, and social impacts, and the racial gaps that emerged as a result of transportation inequities, deliberate actions, policies, and projects.

The objective of Volume 1 is to document the extent of the damage that has been done to Black communities as a result of transportation decisions and actions. Volume 2 will demonstrate a methodology to estimate how much it would cost to redress those damages. Volumes 3 and 4 will provide tools for elected and appointed officials and other stakeholder groups to engage effectively in the arena of transportation policy, planning, and funding at all levels of government.

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