ITE Journal - February 2020 - 40

the project, who might gain access when the project is built and
who might lose or remain without it, and the types of lifestyles
and income levels your project assumes users to have.
Did the project get the green light because of an underlying
assumption that moving motor vehicles faster would benefit all
users, or recommendations from a study that didn't consider
social impacts? If you're doing site design, is there reasonable
access for anyone not arriving by car? If it's a street, are there
plans for lighting both at crosswalks and along the entire route
so that people who don't drive feel safe and comfortable? How
will people who have vision disabilities navigate along and
across the street?
If it's clear that your project would create barriers or
inequities, or worsen those that already exist, or if you suspect
that may be the case, raise the issue and insist on alternative
solutions that are fair for everyone.
ƒ When developing projects, recommend changes that promote
equity. The following tools can help to accomplish this:
ƒ Design for all Users - Avoid designing only for people
who drive. Question forecasts about automobile trips that
assume the only infrastructure we can build is that which
prioritizes automobiles. For example, set a goal to design
intersections that promote slow turning speeds and shorter
crossing distances.
ƒ Demand Analysis - Equity indicators such as no-car
households and low-income households can shed light

on where there's likely demand for active transportation infrastructure. Recommendations should reflect
this demand.
ƒ Performance Metrics - Practitioners can help clients
evaluate their efforts to meet a plan's equity-related goals.
For example, a city might strive to ensure that X-percent
of communities of color are within Y-distance of active
transportation facilities, or to reduce crashes by Z-percent
in low-income communities.
ƒ Project Prioritization - Practitioners can factor
equity-related metrics (like the ones mentioned above) into
decisions about what projects to build, and where.
ƒ Engage with the public on their terms - We can work to hear
and respond to the voices of the people the transportation
profession has not adequately served and who continue to be
excluded. We must shift from a model of empowerment to one
of co-powerment,3 where the emphasis is on collaboration and
recognizing the power and knowledge that is present in the
community before we ever show up.
One way to do this is through partnering with community-based organizations (CBOs) to ensure that input on a project
is truly representative of the communities it will affect.4, 5
Whenever we work with community members or CBOs, we
must value their expertise and knowledge by adequately
compensating them for their time-as we would with any
other expert.6

Are we saying our industry should abandon engineering?
...No, of course not.
Engineering is the follow-through to implement the project goals and
address the challenges that are identified during the planning and
public engagement processes. It's the solution, the "how," while ethics,
equity, and empathy are the "why."
Engineering requires an ethical approach. Focusing on
ethics during each project reinforces the need to genuinely address
the engineer's Code of Ethics: to hold paramount the safety, health,
and welfare of the public. For too long, transportation engineers
have designed streets for automobile mobility and speed while
compromising the safety, comfort, and connectivity of people using
other modes. Designing a street that focuses on the safety, health,
and welfare of people who are unable to drive, or choose not to, is our
ethical responsibility as engineers.
Engineering influences equity. Historically, the transportation
profession has contributed to inequity in our society. We as designers

40

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ite j ou rn al

need to own that history and play an active role in working to build
equity into the planning and design process. Engineers must look at
project decisions through the framework of equity to increase investment
in communities that have been underserved and negatively affected by
past decisions. We must be deliberate in establishing a project's purpose
and need, to directly address issues of equity and ensure that the needs
of the community are at the forefront of the design process.
Practice empathy in engineering. Empathy should be part
of every engineering decision. This means going beyond imagining
yourself and your family walking, biking, driving, or riding transit on
your project-it means listening to and genuinely trying to understand
how other people's experiences may differ from your own.
Focusing on these guiding principles in our work might mean
a shift in perspective, but it will not de-emphasize the importance
of engineering. Engineering is among the transportation industry's
strongest tools, and that will always be true.


https://www.twitter.com/AlfredHFX/status/1172119210144743424 https://www.twitter.com/AlfredHFX/status/1172119210144743424 http://media.metro.net/projects_studies/toc/images/report_toc_MBLFLM_execsummary.pdf http://media.metro.net/projects_studies/toc/images/report_toc_MBLFLM_execsummary.pdf http://www.untokening.org/updates/2017/11/11/untokening-10-principles-of-mobility-justice https://static1.squarespace.com/static/59e46956bff2000caf3dcfa9/t/5d57f709b14a65000188b623/1566045962459/8.13.19+DRAFT+-+The+Equiticity+Racial+Equity+Statement+of+Principle+PDF.pdf https://static1.squarespace.com/static/59e46956bff2000caf3dcfa9/t/5d57f709b14a65000188b623/1566045962459/8.13.19+DRAFT+-+The+Equiticity+Racial+Equity+Statement+of+Principle+PDF.pdf https://www.tooledesign.com/equity/ https://www.tooledesign.com/ethics/ https://www.tooledesign.com/empathy/

ITE Journal - February 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ITE Journal - February 2020

ITE Journal - February 2020 - Cover1
ITE Journal - February 2020 - Cover2
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