Racial Equity Statement

California Transportation Commission Racial Equity Statement

Published: January 27, 2021

The California Transportation Commission recognizes that throughout California’s history, improvements to the State’s transportation system have disproportionately benefitted some population groups and burdened others. The Commission condemns all forms of racism and is actively working to promote equitable outcomes through our programs, policies, and practices.

In the mid-Twentieth Century, California undertook a major expansion of transportation infrastructure aided by an influx of federal funding. While infrastructure improvements were being planned, designed, and constructed, Black, Indigenous, and other people of color were disenfranchised, lacked voting protections, and were underrepresented in government decision-making. New highways were frequently constructed through predominately Black, Latino, Asian, and low-income neighborhoods to meet the needs of primarily white suburban commuters, and through tribal lands. Racist policies and decisions also influenced the siting of other types of transportation infrastructure, such as commuter railways, and the delivery of transit services. The results of racial segregation and disinvestment of transportation funds in communities of color are still visible in cities today.

Californians who live in historically underserved communities are more likely to be negatively impacted by increased exposure to air pollution and noise from cars, trucks, ships, trains, and aircraft, and struck or killed by drivers when walking and biking. These vulnerable communities may have limited access to safe and affordable transportation options to connect residents to jobs, education, healthcare, and recreation. In addition, people of color may experience diminished safety and comfort while walking, biking, driving, or using public transportation as a result of racial discrimination in enforcement.

The Commission vows to create mobility opportunities for all Californians, especially those from underserved communities, to thrive in all aspects of life. The Commission will:

  • Work to build and strengthen relationships with community-based organizations, non-profits, advocacy organizations, and other equity experts and practitioners;
  • Empower the Commission’s Equity Advisory Roundtable and future related efforts to help inform transportation decision making;
  • Strengthen understanding of community transportation needs and challenges through the forthcoming Community Listening Sessions;
  • Ensure equity, public health, and robust public engagement via our planning and programming guidelines;
  • Provide expanded opportunities for Commissioner and staff training related to diversity, equity, and inclusion; and
  • Feature equity topics and elevate diverse perspectives in public meetings of the Commission.

We uphold our dedication to serve and improve the quality of life for all Californians by continuing to prioritize transportation equity issues and ensuring all experience safe, affordable, and efficient transportation.