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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 5 - Social Causes and Impacts." 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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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 5 - Social Causes and Impacts." 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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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 5 - Social Causes and Impacts." 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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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 5 - Social Causes and Impacts." 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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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 5 - Social Causes and Impacts." 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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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 5 - Social Causes and Impacts." 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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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 5 - Social Causes and Impacts." 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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20 The assumption instilled in academically trained transportation practitioners is that trans- portation is the ultimate social good. But social impacts make up the most widespread and challenging-to-redress implications of the legacy of anti-Blackness that is anchored to the trans- portation sector’s origin story. For instance, investment-induced displacement mostly impacts predominantly Black-inhabited communities and is often mischaracterized as a form of benefi- cial gentrification—a temporary trade-off of necessary community revitalization efforts—and Black people in the United States have encountered transportation policing in ways that erode the quality of life and cultural assets and are traumatic, poverty inducing, and dehumanizing. The operationalizing of transportation-planning standard practices that have not been inter- rogated to root out racist outcomes dovetails into a disconnect between communities and practitioners. Investment-Induced Displacement The legacy of harmful land-use and planning practices continues in the form of revitaliza- tion and development plans that increase property values and cost of living, which further deepen disparities experienced by Black communities and create dire displacement burdens. This problem is especially true for transportation infrastructure and other redevelopment efforts, where bike lanes, light-rail stations, and urban parks raise property values, rents, and ultimately lead to gentrification and displacement of lower-wealth Black residents who can no longer afford to live in their neighborhoods and receive the future local benefits of the planned improvements. Thomas studied the displacement risk in Fresno, California, associ- ated with a $35 million infrastructure project and concluded that the connection between revitalization and displacement in low-wealth communities is that while these investments are made in the interest of low-wealth communities and racialized people, they revitalize neighborhoods to the extent that they become more attractive to people who do not currently live there (2021). Zuk et al. reviewed a number of studies on gentrification and investment-induced displacement, concluding that gentrification—increasing property values and changing demographics—and displacement—unwanted relocation—are related but not the same phenomena (2018). The review also found that growth and property value increases follow transit development, and that in gentrifying areas, in-movers tend to be whiter and wealthier than existing residents (Zuk et al. 2018). Multiple studies across the country have documented gentrification and dis- placement dynamics, as well as local and activist responses to displacement. The qualitative, long-lasting effects on the health, well-being, cultural vitality, creativity, social relationships, connection to community, and joy have been less explored by transportation practitioners but have just as much of an impact on the livelihoods of Black residents. C H A P T E R   5 Social Causes and Impacts

Social Causes and Impacts 21   Two studies, one study in Seattle and one study in Denver, illustrate the link between gen- trification and light-rail investment. In Seattle, Hess found that light-rail stations can serve as anchors for gentrification, and the neighborhood and demographic change caused by stations militates against the goal of creating transit for existing residents (2020). He also noted that new white residents generally did not integrate well with existing residents who were not white, and enhanced land-use mix near stations created additional amenities, leading to further gentrifica- tion. Using American Community Survey (ACS) block group data from 1980 to 2014, the author examined demographic shifts around light-rail stations. He found that on average, within Seattle city limits, the number of Black residents decreased near stations while the number of white residents increased. In the suburbs, however, he found the opposite: Black, Asian, and Latino populations increased near stations, while white population decreased (Hess 2020). Maps showing the study area and how racial composition near light-rail stations has changed over time can be seen in Figure 3. Black residents did not experience the benefits of the added light-rail system and other associated amenities because the investment facilitated their displacement from the neighborhood, a troubling, common trend that often follows transportation-related invest- ment in communities of color. The findings are most obvious at the two suburban stations, in Seatac and Tukwila, the two most southern stations in Figure 3. There is a marked increase in nonwhite population near those stations from 1990 to 2000, a trend that continues up to 2014. Within Seattle itself, an increasing number of white people live near the south Seattle stations—Beacon Hill, Mount Baker, Columbia City, Othello, and Rainier Beach. The study also notes that although com- munity stakeholders were able to provide significant input on the land uses around each station, “growth policies and planning effectively set the agenda,” and goals such as increased commercial activity, reduced congestion and sprawl, and economic revitalization appeared to be more important than community concerns about light-rail stations (Hess 2020). The literature shows that transactional, tokenist, community engagement practices lead to mistrust, contention, Figure 3. Change in racial composition near Link light-rail stations in Seattle and its suburbs. Source: Hess 2020.

22 Racial Equity, Black America, and Public Transportation skepticism, and apathy between impacted communities and practitioners. Black residents' concerns about the negative impacts of transportation-related investments stem from outcomes like displacement, as well as from residents not being able to expect their needs or quality of life outcomes will be prioritized over existing urban renewal plans. In Denver, Bardaka et al. used statistical methods to evaluate the relationship between light- rail station development and gentrification (2018). Their methods were able to account for overall gentrification occurring citywide to isolate the effect of light-rail transit specifically. Similar to Hess, the authors noted that private investment follows public investment in transit, but also that gentrification occurs before and after the public investment is made. Looking at ACS block groups within 1 mile of stations, the authors examined changes in median income, educational attainment, the percentage of people in managerial or finance jobs, and housing values. They did not examine changes in racial/ethnic composition (Bardaka et al. 2018). Black community activists have a rich history of resisting gentrification and attendant displace- ment. California includes a number of examples of such resistance as described by Sandoval (2018). His study examines three neighborhoods in Oakland, Los Angeles, and San Diego as the sites of collective action against transit-oriented development. This analysis uses “ethnic identity as a mobility strategy,” arguing that Black neighborhoods have been treated as “internal colonies” and are spaces of everyday resistance through placemaking (Sandoval 2018). The first example of resistance takes place in Oakland: In 1991, BART unveiled construction plans for a multistoried parking structure at its Fruitvale station. Community activists opposed and protested the proposed addition that would physically and symboli- cally isolate the neighborhood from regional transit access while increasing traffic in the neighborhood. The community pressure and the opposition to the proposal forced BART to work with the community to develop an alternative project that would be community-oriented. The Unity Council, a community development corporation, would become the nonprofit real estate developer leading the transit-oriented development project. Their director, Arabella Martinez, drew on her federal, state, and local political and financial connections to raise the funds to secure the development of the transit village. The Fruitvale Transit Village is now touted as a model for equitable-based transit-oriented development in low-income neighborhoods (Sandoval 2018). In the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles, a Hope VI housing project and the con- struction of the Gold Line planted the seeds of resistance. Paradoxically, the construction of the housing project forced many families out of the neighborhood, and ultimately fewer total affordable units were available post construction. And while the Gold Line connection allowed for better access to the city center, Black residents were displaced and therefore unable to access the enhanced transit connections created. Following the problematic Hope VI project, affordable- housing construction in the neighborhood has been associated with the East Los Angeles Community Corporation (ELACC), a nonprofit community-development corporation. The ELACC emerged from the work of Chicano neighborhood activists and has notably rehabili- tated the Boyle Hotel, providing 71 affordable units. Additional grassroots resistance in the area resulted in the preservation of multiple older buildings near Mariachi Plaza that feature culturally significant artwork. In San Diego, barrio-based resistance around Chicano Park has long protested encroachment on Latino culture, including the construction of I-5 and a California Highway Patrol Station near Barrio Logan. Since its origin, Chicano Park has become an important symbol of Latino and Chicano culture and identity. The neighborhood has experienced gentrification pressures, including noise complaints about traditional Aztec drumming and dancing that has taken place in the park for over 40 years. Activists have forced the city to make focused investments to improve the existing community, including maintaining Latino visual and performing arts initiatives and Latino-owned businesses. Today, many murals are now protected under National Historic Preservation mandates. Transit-oriented development (TOD) planned in the area

Social Causes and Impacts 23   features affordable housing and Aztec, Mayan, and Mexican art. This type of TOD planning is culturally responsive and guided by activists and resident leaders who are trusted by the existing community. These cases offer a cautionary tale for planners and engineers engaged in TOD planning and implementation efforts. Displacement of existing residents is not preordained. Neighborhood conditions can improve without involuntarily forcing residents out of their homes. If com- munity needs are not identified and taken seriously, well-intentioned efforts like TOD can be opposed even by those who would benefit substantially from increased public transit access. To protect the health, well-being, and economic vitality of existing Black and brown residents, meaningful community engagement and policy protections must be prioritized. Transportation Policing Actively Harms Black People In addition to being excluded from the benefits of new transportation investments, Black people in the United States are routinely and disproportionately subjected to harassment, violence, arrest, and death at the hands of law enforcement. Increasing police presence is often the first solution sought to address community-safety challenges by elected officials and policy makers, which continues to harm and traumatize Black people who are disproportionately the focus of policing and surveillance; this is especially true with public transit (Bliss 2020). In 1994, Congress passed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, the largest public safety bill in the history of the nation. It flooded the United States with 100,000 new police officers and over $15 billion in funding for police departments and their programs (Wells 2017). The effects were quickly felt in neighborhoods experiencing demographic and economic changes. In gentrifying communities across the country, Black people found themselves contending with aggressive police presence in neighborhoods while simultaneously experiencing neglect, disinvestment, and other effects of austerity budgets that lessened access to much-needed services and programs (Beck 2020; LoBasso 2020). Much modern-policing strategy can be traced to the “Broken Windows” theory that crimi- nalizes “visible signs of disorder” like graffiti, loitering, and panhandling with the hope that patrolling low-wealth communities in search of these signs will lead to a reduction of violent crime. Since the 1990s, the Broken Windows theory has proliferated across the United States and grown to include other predictive and speculative policing practices, despite little evidence of their effectiveness, and the countless examples of the effects of mass incarceration, criminal- ization, death, and degradation of Black communities as a result. The result of law enforce- ment’s widespread focus on criminalizing quality-of-life disparities has been a dramatic increase in resources for policing juxtaposed against dramatic decreases in funding for programs and interventions that would improve quality of life in the Black communities that are heavily policed, creating a downward spiral of disadvantage and incarceration (Van Eyken et al. 2021). Spatial patterns of police-resident interactions that are exacerbated by failing and impassable infrastructure demonstrate that police presence enhances white comfort while police presence criminalizes being Black. Existing pedestrian and bicycling laws can be difficult to follow given general disrepair and the high-traffic volumes that exist in locations with subpar nonmotorized infrastructure. For example, Barajas examined cycling-related citations in Chicago, specifically those given for riding on the sidewalk (2021). The study finds that citations are given at a higher rate in majority Black areas—5.9 tickets per 1,000 residents—relative to majority white areas— 0.7 tickets per 1,000 residents. These differences were not explainable by the likelihood of cycling injury or death; however, majority Black neighborhoods did have worse infrastructure than white neighborhoods, which leads cyclists to seek alternatives to riding on the street (Barajas 2021). The spatial distribution of the rate of bicycle citations in Chicago is shown in Figure 4.

24 Racial Equity, Black America, and Public Transportation Figure 4. Distribution of sidewalk cycling citations with bicycle infrastructure in Chicago 2017–2019. Source: Barajas 2021. High concentrations on the west and south sides of the city correspond to locations with high concentrations of Black residents. In many Black neighborhoods, crosswalks and safe-crossing opportunities can be miles apart or nonexistent, forcing pedestrians to attempt navigating across roadways with motorized traffic whenever they feel it looks safe to do so. This approach is especially concerning in adjacent bus stops and in locations with wide thoroughfares and accompanying high speed limits. As Black residents attempt to travel through and within their neighborhoods as safely as possible, it is often difficult or impossible to avoid police interaction and the resultant risk to their personal safety when navigating these types of spaces (Hoffmann 2019; Ninivaggi 2021). One example of this phenomenon is provided by the story of Raquel Nelson (Snyder 2011; Paget-Seekins 2012). In 2010, Nelson was a college student and mother of three children, living in suburban Atlanta. She routinely used Cobb County Transit to meet her daily travel needs. On April 10, 2010, she was returning home with her children about an hour later than planned because she

Social Causes and Impacts 25   had missed an earlier bus. The bus stop nearest to her house was immediately across the street from her apartment building, with the nearest crosswalks each a third of a mile away. Along with other alighting passengers, Nelson crossed the street, reached the central median, and waited for the vehicles to clear. As one young passenger darted out onto the road and Nelson’s son A. J. followed her, he was struck and killed by a driver. The tragedy and trauma of her son’s death was further compounded by Nelson being convicted of several charges—including vehicular homicide and illegal crossing—with a three-year sentence related to the conviction. In the face of intense advocacy and outrage, the most severe charges were ultimately dropped, and Nelson paid a $200 fine for jaywalking 3 years after the incident (Schmitt 2013). Raquel Nelson was exposed to the carceral system and lost her young child, simply for making what she viewed as the best possible use of available transportation infrastructure. Similar stories and interaction with the legal system can be found in the literature on efforts to achieve zero transportation- related fatalities following “Vision Zero” principles. In addition to engineering, education, encouragement, and evaluation, Vision Zero efforts include a fifth “E”—enforcement. The research shows the result has been the increased criminalization of the movement of Black people, whether that be driving, bicycling, or walking, and further deterioration in the quality of life for Black people, potential exposure to more harm as a result of interaction with police, and distrust of municipal agencies that are champions of plans such as Vision Zero (Flores 2020). In addition to the issues that Black people face while navigating streets, policing on public transit has often resulted in deadly and deeply traumatic outcomes for Black riders and com- munities. For example, on the morning of January 1, 2009, Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old Black man returning from an evening of celebrating, was confronted, shot, and killed by BART police at Oakland’s Fruitvale Station while lying facedown and unarmed (Booker 2020). This incident ushered in a new wave of racial-justice consciousness in the transportation sector regarding the issue of police violence, but to date the police remain a key part of transit-network planning and operations, and their role has continued to expand in the years since Grant’s homicide. In Los Angeles (Johnson and Patterson in press), Long Beach, California (Puente 2020), and Washington, DC (Carter and Johnson 2021), and other cities across the United States, Black people are disproportionately stopped, cited, or arrested for fare evasion. According to the litera- ture, the data from New York City shows 92% of people arrested for fare evasion and 71% given summons for fare evasion were Black (Guse 2021). Further, a study conducted in Los Angeles found that stations in or near gentrifying communities had a larger police presence—resulting in more citations given to Black people—than stations in other neighborhoods (Johnson and Patterson in press). In their study of Washington, DC, Carter and Johnson found that although Black people account for 50% of the DC population, they account for 91% of passengers receiving fare citations (2021). Further, Black riders are more likely to be fined in predominately white neighborhoods and at high-volume stations. This literature provides evidence that simply being Black invites scrutiny and suspicion in white spaces and while accessing public transit. Overall, this literature suggests that despite the mandate of transit police to provide public safety on trains and buses across the nation, Black people often find themselves a target of those tasked with their protection and experience anxiety, trauma, fines, undue criminalization, interaction with the legal system, and even death as a result of these police interactions. Purple Lining Prioritizes White Comfort and Perpetuates Racist Planning Practices As cities gentrify and white people move into historically Black neighborhoods, Black people have often had to watch as the needs of the newcomers are quickly addressed over the outstand- ing priorities of the current residents. One example that illustrates how this often manifests

26 Racial Equity, Black America, and Public Transportation in transportation planning is through the installation of bike lanes. Because of the correlation between the construction of bike lanes and gentrification, Black people across the United States have often been adamant about resisting potential cultural erasure and co-opting of their neigh- borhoods and public space. In an environment where Black people constantly have their voices and needs disregarded, the resistance to bike lanes becomes understandable (Deadwyler 2019). Racism is structurally embedded into American society, and the transportation-planning sector has historically been a complicit actor in the perpetuation of racist structures; the systems in which transportation planning operates and the projects and priorities transportation plan- ning advocates for are other avenues in which the sector can continue to structurally perpetuate racism. By prioritizing and standardizing white comfort and the ways that white people prefer to move in and through the neighborhoods they inhabit, transportation planning forces Black people to adhere to that standard of movement, regardless of if it is culturally relevant for their communities (Armenta 2020). This prioritization of white-centering values is defined as “purple lining” by Dr. Destiny Thomas, Thrivance Group. When transportation planning purple lines a Black neighborhood, it does so by dictating how Black people should be moving through space and by deeming Black perspectives, needs, and personhood expendable in the planning process. Purple lining describes why transit systems deployed police officers to transit systems across the United States despite the trauma and anxiety Black riders experience due to their presence. Purple lining describes why streetcars and bike lanes are prioritized over the existing environmental and mobility con- cerns of Black neighborhoods. Purple lining describes transportation planning’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and how the response illuminated the prioritization of white people, professionals, and business interests over Black and low-wealth “essential workers” working in cities across the United States. Once acknowledged, purple lining becomes a powerful concept that can be used to reframe how planners and engineers relate to Black communities.

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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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