Transit Planning, Access, and Social Justice: CompetingVisions of Bus Rapid Transit and the Chicago Street

by Elina Sukaryavichute

Institution: Miami University
Year: 2016
Keywords: Geography; Transportation Planning; Urban Planning; transit planning; accessibility; social justice; BRT; complete streets
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2130511
Full text PDF: http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=miami1468179645


Transportation planning is challenging given competing stakeholder interests, raising issues of fairness in mobility and access. This is the case with Bus Rapid Transit, a new way transit planners are seeking to expand the transit network and make the streets “complete” at the same time. While the existing literature on mobility, transport, and planning addresses issues of social justice, important questions remain unanswered: How might participants in mass transit planning process, especially of BRT, conceive and address issues of justice? The study uses discourse analysis of BRT planning documentation and policies and interviews with representatives of planning organizations to better understand how BRT planning balances access and mobility among diverse users. The case study is BRT on Ashland Avenue in Chicago, IL, where the CTA planned to build a 16-mile long corridor through areas with diverse ethnicities, income levels, and land uses. Results suggest planners may not use words “justice” and “fairness” explicitly, talking about the project, but frame the project in terms of balancing benefits and sacrifice between street users. While the project has recently been put on hold, the planning process reveals the ways planning participants debate the changing nature of access and mobility associated with BRT. Advisors/Committee Members: Prytherch, David (Advisor).