Listening and Learning is the First Step to Equity in Transportation - National Safety Council

Listening and Learning is the First Step to Equity in Transportation

Our goal of zero roadway fatalities cannot be achieved without addressing disparities that exist within transportation safety.

Heidi Simon
December 15, 2020

Earlier this year, the Road to Zero Coalition launched its Equity in Transportation Safetylistening sessions. These sessions, sponsored by Uber, were designed to be a first step in engaging the Coalition and its members in an important topic in transportation safety. It was an opportunity to listen and learn from those working in the field of equity and transportation, discuss ways that equity intersects with transportation safety and identify resources, best practices and examples of success in addressing existing disparities.

These sessions were critical to growing the equity conversation in our focus on road safety for all users. The Coalition saw record number of registrants and attendees, a high satisfaction rate among post-event survey respondents and a strong demand for continued engagement around this potentially sensitive topic. Our panelists and participants continue to engage with a thoughtful and respectful approach in sharing their knowledge and diverse viewpoints as we publish the recordings and share additional information. It is heartening to hear from so many who recognize the importance of finding ways to incorporate equity into our work.

These sessions provided an opportunity to bring in different perspectives, resources and information. Speakers emphasized the barriers that can exist when transportation options are unsafe, including not being able to access school and work. Practitioners in several sessions offered considerations for those working on the ground to make sure that the questions being raised and solutions being offered when addressing transportation safety reflect the needs and viewpoints of the communities they are in.

The listening sessions were designed to be our first step in tackling equity within the transportation safety space.  Looking ahead to 2021, the Road to Zero Coalition has committed to:

  • Convening an Equity Task Force, which will critically examine and identify areas for improvement with a plan to develop new programming, resources and communications
  • Continuing to bring discussions similar to the Equity in Transportation Safety series; the Coalition will begin using its platform on a regular basis in 2021 to offer conversations and opportunities to share perspectives and information around topics intersecting with our life-saving work
  • Striving to diversify the Road to Coalition leadership and membership to begin authentic and sincere partnership on our shared goal of reducing traffic fatalities

This is, of course, not an exhaustive list. We are on a path of learning, and the activities will need to reflect our progress on this journey. Our shared goal of zero roadway fatalities cannot be achieved without addressing the disparities and inequities that exist within transportation safety. Equity will need to be an ever-present force in our ongoing efforts to create safer streets for all.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Heidi Simon