IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

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

Listed author(s):
  • Martens, Karel
  • Golub, Aaron
  • Robinson, Glenn
Registered author(s):

    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.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice.

    Volume (Year): 46 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 4 ()
    Pages: 684-695

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:eee:transa:v:46:y:2012:i:4:p:684-695
    DOI: 10.1016/j.tra.2012.01.004
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    Order Information: Postal:

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    in new window

    1. Mimi Sheller, 2000. "The City and the Car," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 24(4), pages 737-757, December.
    2. Cairns, Shannon & Greig, Jessica & Wachs, Martin, 2003. "Environmental Justice & Transportation: A Citizen's Handbook," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt7b3688t0, University of California Transportation Center.
    3. Sen, Amartya, 1973. "On Economic Inequality," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198281931.
    4. Sanchez, Thomas W., 2008. "Poverty, policy, and public transportation," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 42(5), pages 833-841, June.
    5. Delucchi, Mark A., 2007. "Do motor-vehicle users in the US pay their way?," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 41(10), pages 982-1003, December.
    6. Davis, Coray & Jha, Manoj K., 2011. "A dynamic modeling approach to investigate impacts to protected and low-income populations in highway planning," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 45(7), pages 598-610, August.
    7. Mizuki Kawabata, 2009. "Spatiotemporal dimensions of modal accessibility disparity in Boston and San Francisco," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 41(1), pages 183-198, January.
    8. Lucas, Karen, 2006. "Providing transport for social inclusion within a framework for environmental justice in the UK," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 40(10), pages 801-809, December.
    9. Q Shen, 1998. "Location characteristics of inner-city neighborhoods and employment accessibility of low-wage workers," Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 25(3), pages 345-365, May.
    10. Levine, Jonathan & Garb, Yaakov, 2002. "Congestion pricing's conditional promise: promotion of accessibility or mobility?," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 179-188, July.
    11. David Levinson, 2009. "Equity Effects of Road Pricing: A Review," Transport Reviews, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(1), pages 33-57, July.
    12. Mizuki Kawabata & Qing Shen, 2006. "Job accessibility as an indicator of auto-oriented urban structure: a comparison of Boston and Los Angeles with Tokyo," Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 33(1), pages 115-130, January.
    13. Dong, Xiaojing & Ben-Akiva, Moshe E. & Bowman, John L. & Walker, Joan L., 2006. "Moving from trip-based to activity-based measures of accessibility," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 163-180, February.
    14. Karel Martens, 2011. "Substance precedes methodology: on cost–benefit analysis and equity," Transportation, Springer, vol. 38(6), pages 959-974, November.
    15. H Couclelis, 1996. "The death of distance," Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 23(4), pages 387-389, July.
    16. Alan T. Murray & Rex Davis, 2001. "Equity in Regional Service Provision," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(4), pages 557-600.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:transa:v:46:y:2012:i:4:p:684-695. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.