Equity in Transportation Planning

The current Long Range Transportation Plan totals over $1.05 billion in proposed transportation projects in the Macon area (this number does not include public transit). However, between now and 2040 only 0.014% (roughly $1.5 million) of the funds are dedicated to funding  pedestrian and bicycle projects. U.S. Census numbers indicate we need to do better; 22% (5,665) of rental households and 12% (6,744) of all households in Macon-Bibb County have no access to a private vehicle. 51% (13,470) of rental households and almost 39% (21,910) of all households in the county have access to only one vehicle. vehicle access With no access or limited access to a private vehicle, many households in Macon-Bibb County need reliable and convenient public transit, safe and comfortable pedestrian amenities, and safe and accessible bicycle facilities to meet their daily transportation needs. Safe, healthy, affordable, and convenient transportation options are not always available to the populations that need them most. Often people with the greatest need to walk, bike, and take transit are disproportionately living in areas that are less bikeable, walkable and transit-served. This mismatch between need and the availability of high-quality walking, biking, and transit infrastructure results in long, unhealthy, and/or dangerous travel for some of the region’s most vulnerable populations. Additionally, long average commutes and limited transit can prevent access to jobs, thereby impacting people’s ability to escape poverty. According to the census, in Macon-Bibb County workers commuting by bus spend twice as much time each day commuting to and from work than workers driving alone. 46% of bus riders spend more than 45 minutes commuting to work vs. 6% of workers driving alone. Equity in transportation planning tries to understand and give people what they need to enjoy full, healthy lives. In contrast, equality in transportation planning aims to ensure that everyone gets the same things in order to enjoy full, healthy lives. Leveling the playing field means that transportation funding needs to be prioritized in areas with greater needs, rather than distributed equally based on geography. equity MATS is in the process of updating the LRTP and this is an excellent opportunity for community members to learn about the transportation planning process and to share ideas, suggestions, and concerns about how we can incorporate equity into the planning of a sustainable transportation network for all users whether they walk, use a wheel chair, ride a bike, take public transit, or drive a car. Please share your ideas, concerns, or suggestions for improving transportation in the Macon region via email to Senior Planner, Gregory L. Brown (gbrown@mbpz.org) or mail 682 Cherry Street, Suite 1000, Macon, GA 31201.