May 16, 2019, 12:00PM (ET)

Transit Stigma & Social Equity: What Transportation Administrators Say They Are Doing About It

Services provided by public transportation agencies in the United States are crucial for personal mobility, maintaining and improving one’s quality of life, and participation in the broader society. Societal goods like education, healthcare, employment, and cultural and civic opportunities are made possible by transit provision and decisions made by agency administrators. Thus it can be argued that public transport is necessary for connecting individuals, specifically the poor, to resources necessary for improving their quality of life and for pursuing urban social justice.

But in many parts of the United States, including most mid-sized and small metropolitan areas, transit users are frequently stigmatized for lacking access to private automobiles. Many authors have documented transit’s perceived role as the transport option for the poor, marginalized, and powerless. Simply put, in many places, public transportation is the wrong transportation.

Drawn from interviews with transit agency administrators from across the United States, this research finds that such administrators are vividly aware of transit stigma, actively working to dismantle it, and examining cutting-edge and controversial options. This webinar will examine their approaches, reflect on their insights, and critically examine their approaches to ending or mitigating transit stigma in their service area.

Presenters: Gerard C. Wellman, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Politics & Public Administration, California State University; and Josephine K. Hazelton, Doctoral Student, University of Nebraska at Omaha

Gerard C. Wellman is an Associate Professor of Public Administration at California State University, Stanislaus in Northern California. Receiving his PhD from the University of Nebraska in 2011, Gerard’s primary research interests revolve around questions of equity and justice in transportation and mobility planning, specifically with regard to public and active transportation and the negative societal effects of car-centric urban planning. His recent publications can be found in Public Administration Quarterly, Public Works Management & Policy, Journal of Community Development, and, of course, the Journal of Public Transportation. When not spending time with his three young sons, Gerard enjoys gardening, running half marathons, and exploring California’s beautiful landscape.

Josephine Hazelton is a doctoral student in the School of Public Administration at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, where she is also a research assistant in the Center for Public Affairs Research working on the Rural Nebraska Transit Project. Her research primarily focuses on public and active transportation decision-making, social justice in transportation, and feminist theories of urbanism. Josephine received her BA in Political Science and Master of Public Administration from California State University, Stanislaus. She is originally from Northern California.


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1 Comment
  1. I would like to participate in the webcast on May 16th. How do I join the webcast? Just by clicking on the connection information link?

    Thank you for giving me the information!

    Nathan Caldwell
    US Fish and Wildlife Service
    Urban National Wildlife Refuge Transportation Connections Study

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