Inclusive Transportation is a unique book for town planners, looking at how to change up communities that continue to be in-hoc to cars, and this excludes those without access to other modes of transport. Often councils focus on thinking that everyone is a big family with a car, that drives to supermarkets and fast-food restaurants and cinemas and bowling alleys. Whereas the disabled, elderly and car-free people don’t get any consideration on how they are supposed to get around (especially when bus and train services are either inefficient or expensive or both).
An inclusive community gives priority to walkable shops and leisure services, parks within walking distance and access to education and jobs nearby. This vision for change also looks towards disrupting the status quo of transport, reflecting on past injustices. For instance, it’s a fact that the poorest in society end up in ‘food deserts’ (where the ‘local grocery’ is likely a NISA shop selling frozen pizza and not much else). And those who plan neighbourhoods that end up with pollution and dangerous roads (and the longest-travel-times) to meet daily needs, often don’t live there themselves.
The author of the book is a transport planner. And also a black woman who knows the issues that people of colour and women face collectively, in often being forgotten when planners think about getting from A to B. Creating safe walkable spaces for both those on low incomes and those vulnerable to not feeling safe, is key to creating livable communities.
Read this book if you are a neighbourhood advocate – you’ll learn where and how to push for change. Harriet Tregoning
about the author
Veronica O David is director of transport at Houston Public Works, with 20 years experience of engineering and transport planning. She co-founded Black Women Bike and serves on the board for America Walks.