ITE Journal - July 2020 - 22

| inside the industry
*		 Use the projects as opportunities to pilot new
processes to inclusively engage the community,
especially those who have limited access to
computers, broadband, do not use English as a
first language, or are not able to attend virtual
convenings because of time constraints or lack
of capacity. Be open to changing or iterating the
projects based on community feedback.
Accelerated speeding. Almost overnight, we saw
our roads clear of vehicles. Streets previously filled with
moving cars now had 100 feet of open right of way.
Unfortunately, this reduction in traffic is not corresponding with a reduction in speeds. In fact, across the
board increases in average speeds have been the norm,
even during peak periods.
Speeding already contributes to 25 percent of all traffic
fatalities and is one of the main determination factors in
whether a crash is fatal.10 Community based organizations are asking their cities to make the temporary and
permanent infrastructure changes needed to slow speeds,
like Complete Streets, and give more space for walking,
biking, and rolling. During this challenging time that
highlights how much of public space has been dedicated
to vehicular traffic, we can use this opportunity to:
*		 Track, highlight, and call out data and new
stories that highlight increased speeding during
COVID-19.
*		 Encourage transportation agencies to right size
streets through temporary and permanent measure slow speeds through design (i.e. Washington,

DC, USA changing its default speed limit from
25 to 20 miles per hour (40 to 32 kilometers per
hour), which went into effect June 1, 2020).11
*		 Continue to hold state departments of transportation accountable for reaching their safety targets.
Struggles to elevate the voices of underserved
populations. Transportation decisions have not
often considered the needs of communities, especially
communities of color, those who cannot afford a car,
or those who can't or do not want to drive. Thanks to
community-based groups, cities are moving towards
incorporating more inclusive community engagement
processes into their transportation projects. This may
mean offering translation services, providing compensation for participation, or giving more power to
communities to make decisions.
With that said, COVID-19 is highlighting the flaws
in the community engagement practices used by most
transportation agencies. These groups are struggling to
develop processes to engage with households who may
not have computer or broadband access, do not use
English as a first language, or are overwhelmed working
and caring for their family. While some agencies are
using virtual community engagement, outstanding
issues remain about what segment of the community
is able to participate in these forums, and whether this
type of engagement is continuing to perpetuate the
longstanding inequities in transportation projects. To
advance inclusive, equitable engagement we should:
*		 Partner with and compensate local trusted
partners in the community to have them engage
communities now and the future.
*		 Make sure engagement materials are culturally
appropriate, in multiple languages and mediums,
accessible, and easy to understand.
*		 Look at incorporating engagement into already
existing activities, such as food banks and health
centers.
*		 Consider whether a project and any interaction
with the community should be paused until it is
safe to conduct in-person engagement.

Health Disparities and the Built
Environment
Between 2008 and 2017, drivers struck and killed 49,340 people who were
walking on streets all across the United States. Credit: National Complete Streets
Coalition and Smart Growth America
22

J u ly 2020

ite j o urn al

Unfortunately, COVID-19 is impacting certain communities more than ever. For example, disproportionate
burden of (the) illness and death among racial and
ethnic minority groups.12



ITE Journal - July 2020

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

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