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A justice-theoretic approach to the distribution of transportation benefits: Implications for transportation planning practice in the United States

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  • Martens, Karel
  • Golub, Aaron
  • Robinson, Glenn

Abstract

Transportation improvements inevitably lead to an uneven distribution of user benefits, in space and by network type (private and public transport). This paper makes a moral argument for what would be a fair distribution of these benefits. The argument follows Walzer’s “Spheres of Justice” approach to define the benefits of transportation, access, as a sphere deserving a separate, non-market driven, distribution. That distribution, we propose, is one where the maximum gap between the lowest and highest accessibility, both by mode and in space, should be limited, while attempting to maximize average access. We then review transportation planning practice for a priori distributional goals and find little explicit guidance in conventional and even justice-oriented transportation planning and analyses. We end with a discussion of the implications for practice.

Suggested Citation

  • Martens, Karel & Golub, Aaron & Robinson, Glenn, 2012. "A justice-theoretic approach to the distribution of transportation benefits: Implications for transportation planning practice in the United States," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 46(4), pages 684-695.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:transa:v:46:y:2012:i:4:p:684-695
    DOI: 10.1016/j.tra.2012.01.004
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Karner, Alex, 2016. "Planning for transportation equity in small regions: Towards meaningful performance assessment," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 46-54.
    2. Karen Lucas & Bert Wee & Kees Maat, 2016. "A method to evaluate equitable accessibility: combining ethical theories and accessibility-based approaches," Transportation, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 473-490, May.
    3. Rowangould, Dana & Karner, Alex & London, Jonathan, 2016. "Identifying environmental justice communities for transportation analysis," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 151-162.
    4. Arsenio, Elisabete & Martens, Karel & Di Ciommo, Floridea, 2016. "Sustainable urban mobility plans: Bridging climate change and equity targets?," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 30-39.
    5. repec:eee:trapol:v:57:y:2017:i:c:p:79-89 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Mullen, Caroline & Tight, Miles & Whiteing, Anthony & Jopson, Ann, 2014. "Knowing their place on the roads: What would equality mean for walking and cycling?," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 238-248.
    7. Schwanen, Tim & Lucas, Karen & Akyelken, Nihan & Cisternas Solsona, Diego & Carrasco, Juan-Antonio & Neutens, Tijs, 2015. "Rethinking the links between social exclusion and transport disadvantage through the lens of social capital," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 123-135.

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    Keywords

    Justice; Equity; Access; Walzer; Rawls;

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