February 4 marks the birthday of Rosa Parks, an icon of the fight for desegregated transportation. Since 2018, February 4 has also marked Transit Equity Day, when transit riders and workers across the country raise their voices to demand equitable public transit run on clean energy. More than 65 years have passed since Rosa Parks stayed in her seat, but our transportation system is far from equitable.
According to the AllTransitRankings Fact Sheet, thirty-five percent of 33,088 households in Atlanta that are making under $50,000 are within a half mile of high frequency full-day transit. To make the transit system equitable, we need to expand transit options in low-income communities and make that percentage of accessibility to transit higher. The issue of climate change is also linked to the issue of transit inequity. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, nearly one fifth of U.S. emissions are caused by private vehicles.
Expansion of better public transportation could also greatly reduce our carbon footprint. As we look towards post-pandemic economic recovery and celebrate the legacy of Rosa Parks, let's consider how we can invest in clean, equitable transportation.
Why rebuild a broken system, when we could build a better one?