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Environmental justice and the siting of SR-85 and North Gateway Transfer Station

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It is widely recognized that, compared to others, minority and low-income populations are more exposed to environmental burdens and unwanted land uses like waste facilities. To prevent these injustices, cities and industry need to recognize these potential problems in the

It is widely recognized that, compared to others, minority and low-income populations are more exposed to environmental burdens and unwanted land uses like waste facilities. To prevent these injustices, cities and industry need to recognize these potential problems in the siting process and work to address them. I studied Phoenix, AZ, which has historically suffered from environmental justice issues. I examined whether Phoenix considered environmental justice concerns when siting their newest landfill (SR-85) and transfer station (North Gateway Transfer Station). Additionally, I assessed current views on sustainability from members of the Phoenix Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee and of decision-makers in the Public Works Department and Solid Waste Division. Using a mixed methods approach consisting of interviews, document analysis, and a demographic assessment of census tracts, I addressed two main research questions:

1. Do the distributions and siting processes of environmental burdens from SR-85 and North Gateway Transfer Station constitute a case of environmental injustice according to commonly held definitions?

2. Do current Solid Waste and council members on the Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee consider environmental justice, defined as stakeholder engagement, to be a part of sustainability?

The results show that the distribution and siting processes of environmental burdens from these facilities may constitute a case of environmental injustice. While city officials do involve stakeholders in siting decisions, the effects of this involvement is unclear. An analysis of long-term demographic data, however, revealed no significant racial, ethnic, or economic effects due to the locations of the SR-85 and North Gateway Transfer Station.

Interviews with current members of the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee, Public Works Department, and Solid Waste Division indicated that Phoenix’s decision-makers don’t consider environmental justice as part of sustainability. However, they seem to consider stakeholder engagement as important for decision-making.

To help mitigate future injustices, Phoenix needs buffer zone policies for waste facilities and stakeholder engagement policies for decision-making to ensure the public is engaged appropriately in all circumstances. Enacting these policies will help Phoenix become both a more sustainable city and one in which stakeholders have the opportunity to provide feedback and are given decision-making power.

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Date Created
2015

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Transportation cordon pricing in the San Francisco Bay Area: analyzing equity implications for low-income commuters

Description

Cordon pricing strategies attempt to charge motorists for the marginal social costs of driving in heavily congested areas, lure them out of their vehicles and into other modes, and thereby reduce vehicle miles traveled and congestion-related externalities. These strategies are

Cordon pricing strategies attempt to charge motorists for the marginal social costs of driving in heavily congested areas, lure them out of their vehicles and into other modes, and thereby reduce vehicle miles traveled and congestion-related externalities. These strategies are gaining policy-makers` attention worldwide. The benefits and costs of such strategies can potentially lead to a disproportionate and inequitable burden on lower income commuters, particularly those commuters with poor accessibility to alternative modes of transportation. Strategies designed to mitigate the impacts of cordon pricing for disadvantaged travelers, such as discount and exemptions, can reduce the effectiveness of the pricing strategy. Transit improvements using pricing fee revenues are another mitigation strategy, but can be wasteful and inefficient if not properly targeted toward those most disadvantaged and in need. This research examines these considerations and explores the implications for transportation planners working to balance goals of system effectiveness, efficiency, and equity. First, a theoretical conceptual model for analyzing the justice implications of cordon pricing is presented. Next, the Mobility Access and Pricing Study, a cordon pricing strategy examined by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority is analyzed utilizing a neighborhood-level accessibility-based approach. The fee-payment impacts for low-income transportation-disadvantaged commuters within the San Francisco Bay area are examined, utilizing Geographic Information Systems coupled with data from the Longitudinal Employment and Household Dynamics program of the US Census Bureau. This research questions whether the recommended blanket 50% discount for low-income travelers would unnecessarily reduce the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the cordon pricing system. It is proposed that reinvestment of revenue in transportation-improvement projects targeted at those most disproportionately impacted by tolling fees, low-income automobile-dependent peak-period commuters in areas with poor access to alternative modes, would be a more suitable mitigation strategy. This would not only help maintain the efficiency and effectiveness of the cordon pricing system, but would better address income, modal and spatial equity issues. The results of this study demonstrate how the spatial distribution of the toll-payment impacts may burden low-income residents in quite different ways, thereby warranting the inclusion of such analysis in transportation planning and practice.

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Created

Date Created
2013

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Disconnected: investigating the social and political conditions shaping Mexico City's air quality regulatory environment

Description

Mexico City has an ongoing air pollution issue that negatively affects its citizens and surroundings with current structural disconnections preventing the city from improving its overall air quality. Thematic methodological analysis reveals current obstacles and barriers, as well as variables

Mexico City has an ongoing air pollution issue that negatively affects its citizens and surroundings with current structural disconnections preventing the city from improving its overall air quality. Thematic methodological analysis reveals current obstacles and barriers, as well as variables contributing to this persistent problem. A historical background reveals current programs and policies implemented to improve Mexico’s City air quality. Mexico City’s current systems, infrastructure, and policies are inadequate and ineffective. There is a lack of appropriate regulation on other modes of transportation, and the current government system fails to identify how the class disparity in the city and lack of adequate education are contributing to this ongoing problem. Education and adequate public awareness can potentially aid the fight against air pollution in the Metropolitan City.

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Created

Date Created
2018