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Justice in transport policy

Tyler, N; (2004) Justice in transport policy. (School of Public Policy Working Paper Series 8 ). UCL (University College London), School of Public Policy, UCL (University College London): London, UK. Green open access

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Abstract

For the last hundred years or so, transport and planning systems have been based on the assumption that people had access to a car. What happens to people who have no such opportunity? Rural shops and facilities close, urban city centres degenerate leaving poorer people with little or no local goods and services. The increase in movement accorded to that part of the population with access to a car has left the other part of the population worse off than they had been before. This has had particularly bad consequences for those members of society who are already losing out, especially poor, elderly, disabled and young people. These people are dependent on others: neighbours, family or friends (if they have them), or what society chooses to dispense (if they do not).This is often seen as a transport, urban or rural planning problem. However, it is much more serious than that. People are being left without access to fundamental aspects of society: health care, education, legal and electoral rights in addition to affordable nutritious food. As a result they are losing out on the benefits of living within a society because the transport system is unable to accommodate their needs. The direction taken by transport and planning over the past hundred years or so has managed to open up enormous opportunities for some elements of society at the expense of restricting access to basic rights for others.The problem now is that society has designed itself to be inaccessible for certain parts of the population who have no means of reaching what are often considered basic aspects of modern life. These people are excluded from full participation in society as a result of a conscious decision to encourage movement rather than access. This has the unintended consequence that those who are unable, for whatever reason, to avail themselves of the means of movement, are also unable to obtain independent access to activities to which they are theoretically entitled as of right. This is inherently unjust.Transport should be available to all in a form that they can use independently because it is the means by which access to the fundamental activities is obtained. In general, this means what we might call ?public transport?: a transport system which the public is able to use. This suggests that the default transport system ? the one that should be designed and implemented as a starting point ? is the public transport system in its widest sense. Design for car traffic is secondary: it includes one part of the population at the expense of the rest. Devising measures that will help planners to plan such a system and which will demonstrate that access is sufficient is a matter of urgency. Such a measure would allow society to decide exactly what it means by ?sufficient? transport ? e.g. maximum walking time to a doctor?s surgery, fresh food, school ? and to allocate funds accordingly. The provision of accessible transport is a necessary element of making a just society.

Type: Report
Title: Justice in transport policy
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Additional information: Imported via OAI, 7:29:01 12th Nov 2005
Keywords: transport, accesibility, social justice, policy
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Civil, Environ and Geomatic Eng
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1354
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