Along for the Ride #108

Guest Editor Anne Krassner takes the wheel this week, bringing an equity lens to the news.

Hello Folks,

My name is Anne Krassner and I am really excited to be curating this week’s newsletter! In addition to being a self-described transportation nerd, I am an urban planner who specializes in sustainable transportation and community-driven planning. I’m a proud veteran of the micromobility industry, where I worked on making bike and scooter share systems more inclusive and equitable. 

As a transportation planner and advocate for mobility justice, there are four questions that I use to guide my work and assess if what I am doing is working towards mobility justice in an equitable way: Who benefits from what we’re doing? Who is harmed by what we’re doing? Who is leading the conversation? Who decides what happens? 

These questions are not just a helpful gut check, but rather help anticipate unwanted or unplanned impacts and make the space to course correct. I use these four simple questions to ensure that a project budget reflects equity priorities, to structure partnerships, to coordinate internally and externally, and to choose how to measure the success of an initiative. We succeed when equity is not something thought of in a silo, but instead threaded through every aspect of our work, whether you're a data scientist, product manager, or city official. Only then can we truly begin to address historical inequities and move the needle on mobility justice. 

In looking for article’s for this week’s newsletter, I wanted to include articles that explore usual themes in Along for the Ride through an equity lens, really examining who benefits and who is being harmed by some of the things going on in our industry. I also looked for interesting things and innovations in transportation and planning happening in different pockets of the world, hoping that you’ll learn something, be inspired, and maybe even make a connection.

Before I let you enjoy the various nuggets of knowledge below, I’d like to make intentional space to address the white supremacy and systemic racism in the room (PS. it’s in every room). Though we all took a collective breath of relief with the guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin case, it was abruptly cut short by news of the deadly police shooting of 16-year-old Ma'Khia Bryant in Columbus, Ohio. Every pocket of the world we live in is designed to uphold white supremacy culture, and urgent action is needed to reimagine and rebuild our systems, communities, cities, and countries into more kind and just places where we all thrive. 

Here’s the good news: you have the power to get us there. We are all city-builders in one way or another, contributors to the communities we live in. As such I believe it’s our responsibility to work together and co-create more resilient, safer, healthier, and truly equitable communities. If you’re white, confronting our own racism and the systemic racism around us will be uncomfortable and challenging. Sit with discomfort. Welcome it. Be in active learning with it. 

If you’re wondering where to get started or ready to pick back up on this work, Creative Reaction Lab in St. Louis Missouri has some amazing virtual workshops specifically thinking about equity in planning and design. You can also do your Googles to find a resource that speaks to you. There are plenty out there. Now onto some articles:

Industry

  • We’ve made cars safer for people in them, but deaths are rising for pedestrians and cyclists. Why is this happening and how can we stop it? (Hint: it’s people power) (Bloomberg)

  • Are we going to take the opportunity to better connect our micromobility and transit systems with this new influx of funding for transit agencies? (Bloomberg)

  • As people return to work and our cities begin to move more, will the next pandemic be traffic? (ITDP). And as a follow-up, cycling is ten times more important than electric cars in reaching net-zero (The Conversation).

  • Feeling climate anxiety? This is a largely white phenomenon (Scientific American).

  • Artists and transit agencies working together to tackle pandemic-related transit challenges? Yes please! (Smart Growth America)

  • We’ve seen how police enforcing traffic and bike laws poses disproportionate risk and harm to Black and brown people, so you won’t be surprised that mandatory helmet laws do as well. (The Guardian)

Around the World

  • What the 15min City looks like in Santiago, Chile (The Common Edge)

  • Motorcycle taxi hailing in Africa is booming. Get a glimpse of the fascinating tech battles happening throughout the continent (The Subtext)

  • Innovations in worship in public spaces during the pandemic in Bogotá, Colombia (Icon)

  • Bills are surfacing in France that give financial incentives to trade in your car for an ebike. (Streetsblog)

  • Tembici, Brazil’s leading bike share operator, is working with iFood to encourage food deliveries with e-bikes in São Paulo (The Spoon) I participated in the creation of this program and am excited to see it expand to over 500 delivery cyclists!

Reports

Autonomous Vehicle Heaven or hell? Creating a Transportation Revolution that benefits all. (Greenlining).

“To get there, we must put marginalized people first, reclaim our streets for people and not cars, and utilize this autonomous vehicle revolution as a tool to address the transportation, environment, and economic injustices of the past.”

That was so fun. Thank you Sarah for the platform, and I hope you enjoy the content linked here! Have a great weekend.

-Anne

PS. I am currently an independent consultant, helping companies and organizations with community engagement, program development, impact assessment, and more. If this newsletter resonated with you and you would like to continue the conversation or collaborate, find me on LinkedIn or email me at akrassner@gmail.com. I would love to hear from you!


P.P.S. If you are interested in providing a guest contribution to Along for the Ride, please respond to this email for more information! Contributions are paid, and I’ll even send ya a hand-written card! I am especially interested in bringing on writers from diverse backgrounds including (but not limited to): gender, race, class, sexuality, religion, disability, ethnicity, and more.