Equity Challenges in Major Transport Plans

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This paper explores the basic requirements of social justice in transport policies, and explore how they are taken into consideration, building upon two European Union's initiatives: the Trans-European Networks for Transport (TEN-T), and the CIVITAS initiative. Although equity has been central in spatial planning theory, transport has stayed outside this debate. In Europe, the EU transport policy has established a privileged relationship with the economy, without much explicit elaboration on the equity challenges it faces. Transport policy enjoys a high degree of autonomy, and is designed and implemented with little consideration of the contents, scope and objectives of other policies being applied in the same territory. Transport policy seems to have created its own "sphere" of action, within which a particular concept of justice can be developed. A concept in which the distribution of the primary good provided by transport (accessibility) among places and among people, could be considered as the main issue at stake. While recognising the merits of this approach to facilitate the consideration of equity under the current decision-making framework, this paper considers this autonomy as a relevant barrier to allow the deployment of a more fruitful integration of equity in transport. It does not seem realistic to expect that a broader vision of what equity means for transport, integrating the needs for representation and recognition, will gain wide acceptance anytime soon. Nevertheless, an incremental approach seems to be gaining some momentum. Establishing more participatory decision-making processes can help to move in this direction, but this will not yield the desired results unless the effort is coupled with a revision of what practitioners and decision makers consider as normality in their diagnosis, practices and solutions, so that the needs and expectations of usually excluded groups and communities can be integrated.




Aparicio, Á. (2018). Equity Challenges in Major Transport Plans. In Transportation Research Procedia (Vol. 31, pp. 121–135). Elsevier B.V. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trpro.2018.09.054

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