Linking data on structural transit inequities with health disparities to increase collaboration among Washington, DC, agencies around transportation decision-making.
In Washington, DC, poor air quality and traffic violence associated with structural and historic underinvestment in transit negatively affect public health in neighborhoods where residents are predominantly Black, brown, and/or have low incomes. However, local public health authorities have not sufficiently engaged with structural determinants of health related to transportation, meaning that the DC government lacks the incentives and mechanisms to act effectively or collaboratively on these issues. Greater Greater Washington is taking action to fill this gap in the policy narrative by collecting data that explicitly tie transportation inequities with health disparities, creating resources that community leaders and residents can use to advocate for transportation needs.
Greater Greater Washington will aggregate census tract–level data on trips, transportation infrastructure, air quality, traffic deaths and injuries, and demographics into a spatialized representation of the links between structural disinvestment in transportation and negative health outcomes in Black and brown communities. Throughout this process, Greater Greater Washington will receive support from the DC Transportation Equity Network (DC TEN) coalition, which primarily comprises direct service organizations addressing a variety of social issues. DC TEN will provide early feedback on specific research questions and help interpret findings, and its steering committee will receive regular updates on the project’s progress.
This work will culminate in a brief report intended for staff in the DC departments of Health and Transportation, as well as local elected officials, to help decisionmakers better understand the intersections of their work and foster improved collaborative decision-making to advance health equity. Greater Greater Washington will also disseminate information to the public, direct service nonprofits, and community-based organizations through fact sheets and a free public webinar, in an effort to strengthen the constituency of support for equitable transportation decision-making.