Transportation Policy for Poverty Reduction and Social Equity
Most people would agree that reducing poverty is an important goal, as is reducing the gap between the rich and poor. However, exactly how to achieve these goals is a matter of much debate. One often-neglected aspect is transport.
Transport is a key aspect of life, affecting us not only when we travel, but throughout our days. Our peace and quiet are disturbed by car horns. Our air is polluted from vehicular emissions. Our neighborhoods are given over to moving and parked cars, leaving less room for ourselves and our children to walk, bicycle, and play.
In addition to these quality of life and environment issues is that of economics. Investments made in roads take away from investments in public transport and facilities for non-motorized travel, such as by foot or bicycle. For those who can’t afford travel expenses, education and jobs may become inaccessible. For others, travel to and from work represents a heavy expense that contributes to keeping them in poverty. Reducing the travel expenses of the poor could thus help them to improve their standard of living.
This paper discusses various transport options and their advantages and disadvantages, and makes suggestions for improving mobility of the majority while simultaneously decreasing poverty and increasing social equity.