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This report outlines a framework for mobility equity, or a transportation system that increases access to high quality mobility options, reduces air pollution, and enhances economic opportunity in low-income communities of color. Decades of local, regional, and state transportation plans and investments have not adequately responded to the mobility needs of low-income communities of color, reinforcing unequal land-use patterns and contributing to disproportionate health and economic impacts. Today, technological advancements are making it easier to address community-identified mobility needs with a multitude of clean transportation options. However, we lack the planning, policy, and decision-making structures that will equitably deliver mobility benefits to low-income communities of color. To establish a transportation system that benefits all people, California must embrace an equitable deployment of investments and policy interventions to prioritize the mobility needs of low-income individuals of color and address the historical neglect they have experienced. This type of reform must center social equity and community power as primary values in all transportation planning and decision-making. To get there, this paper proposes a framework designed to elevate these values and address structural inequities through an adaptable, customizable process for community, advocates, and transportation decision-makers.
To evaluate initial success of California's Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund program in assisting underserved communities tackle climate change,, The Greenlining Institute examined 10 projects: nine already funded and one that is eligible for funding. These case studies provide an early snapshot of the Fund’s impact and suggest ways the program might be improved. These 10 projects alone will provide over 2,000 solar power systems for low- income families generating nearly six megawatts of clean power, plant 2,250 trees in disadvantaged communities, provide 252 homes permanently-affordable to lower income households, create over 400 jobs and replace 600 old, highly polluting cars and trucks with clean electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles.
Equitable mobility pilot projects should center the voices usually left out of decision-making through a community-driven process. Equitable mobility pilot projects must also address entrenched injustices by providing the following benefits to low-income communities of color in a way that is meaningful, direct, and assured: (1) Increased access to affordable, efficient, safe, reliable mobility options; (2) Reduced air pollution; (3) Enhanced economic opportunities. Historically, transportation investments and plans have not met the mobility needs of low-income people of color because decisions have been made behind closed doors without community input. This has resulted in these communities suffering from disproportionate levels of transportation-related pollution and longer and less reliable commutes. A lack of good mobility options limits low-income people's ability to raise themselves out of poverty. Today, low-income people of color often face financial, technological, physical, or cultural, barriers to accessing shared mobility services (i.e. bikeshare, scooter share, Uber, carshare, etc.). Some of these mobility services have also be shown to compete with public transit ridership and utilize unfair labor practices, both of which harm people of color.
Climate change grant programs can provide multiple benefits, including improved air quality, lower electricity costs, improved health outcomes, and green job opportunities. However, these benefits often fail to reach low-income communities of color—even though these communities tend to live in the most polluted neighborhoods and stand to greatly benefit from the improved environmental and economic conditions that clean energy resources can provide. Climate change grant programs represent one way to level the playing field and make clean energy benefits reach all communities, but they must be designed intentionally with equity. Grant programs must clearly define their social equity goals and develop evaluation criteria to track success. The analysis should indicate the strengths and areas for improvement in meeting equity goals and should be used to inform the direction of the program moving forward. Programs must plan proactively to collect the data needed to evaluate their success or shortcomings in meeting social equity goals.
Communities of color continue to be excluded from homeownership, a crucial wealth building vehicle for families in the U.S. With concerns about gentrification and displacement rising in many areas, homeownership rates are not equally distributed along racial and ethnic lines, and people of color do not access mortgages at equal rates as their White counterparts. We used home mortgage data collected under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act to provide insight into lending patterns to communities of color in California and the three cities of Fresno, Oakland, and Long Beach – chosen for their demographic and geographic diversity. People of color are largely underrepresented in loans received across California, and especially in the urban areas of Long Beach and Oakland. Overall, communities of color do not access home purchase loans at rates comparable to non-Hispanic Whites. Further, home purchase loans in low- to moderate-income census tracts across California vastly exceeded loans to low- to moderate-income borrowers – creating what seems to be a statistical portrait of gentrification. As our demographics continue to shift, our economic prosperity will increasingly depend on people of color having expanding access and opportunity to reach their full potential.
In addition to disenfranchising people through law and policy, felony disenfranchisement laws create additional barriers to voting. The complexity of these laws and a lack of awareness about them have caused confusion and misinformation among formerly incarcerated communities as well as probation officers and the general public. Many who are actually eligible to vote do not know they are eligible and therefore refrain from voting. This report unpacks the issue of felony disenfranchisement in California by studying the issue from the community’s perspective, asking questions about the importance of voting among the formerly incarcerated, their current knowledge and awareness of who can vote, what their primary barriers are to voting and what suggestions they have for how to improve both access to voting and access to information about who can vote.
Three transportation revolutions—electrification, vehicle sharing, and autonomous (self-driving) vehicles—are poised to transform our entire transportation system, impacting everything from how people move and the shape of our communities to the livelihoods of millions now employed in driving jobs. This report seeks to chart a path away from personally-owned autonomous vehicles and instead establish a vision and a path towards a “heaven” scenario that improves mobility for all people, reduces air pollution, and increases economic opportunities, particularly for marginalized populations. In a “heaven” future, all people will have access to fleets of autonomous vehicles that are electric and shared, known as FAVES, that replace the need for personal vehicle ownership. In this equitable and sustainable vision, we must continue to prioritize walking, biking, and public transit—still the healthiest, most sustainable alternatives—over FAVES and all other autonomous vehicles, to the maximum extent possible. To get there, we must put marginalized people first, reclaim our streets for people and not cars, and utilize this autonomous vehicle revolution as a tool to address the transportation, environment, and economic injustices of the past.
The U.S. has seen tremendous growth in shared-use mobility services over the past decade. This expansion, however, has not reached underserved communities. Low-income households could greatly benefit from the cost-savings of sharing otherwise underused assets, as these communities lack sufficient access to public transit and “first-last mile” solutions. The Transportation Sustainability Research Center (TSRC) interviewed carsharing company experts with experience serving low-income communities, an insurance industry expert with substantial experience working with carsharing companies, and leaders of community-based organizations (CBOs). These entities brought unique insight in identifying best practices that can be encouraged through government regulations. These recommendations can guide program design and are summarized at the end of this report. Interviewees helped inform four major policy areas: (1) outreach; (2) infrastructure; (3) insurance; and (4) credit/payment. Interviewees offered their expert opinions and recommendations for how to successfully implement low-income carsharing programs.
For small business owners of color, entrepreneurship remains a critical wealth-building tool providing a pathway to self-determination and the middle class. In Oakland and nationally, entrepreneurs of color face significant barriers in starting and scaling their business due to the racial wealth gap, among other barriers.The city of Oakland knows the unique barriers its residents and entrepreneurs of color face. It released a 2018-2020 Economic Development Strategy with a racial equity lens, and a notable goal is to shrink the racial wealth gap through asset building in local communities of color. To support the city’s 2018-2020 Economic Development Strategy, The Greenlining Institute assembled a Small Business Advisory Group comprised of local small business leaders committed to advancing the needs of Oakland’s entrepreneurs of color. With this white paper, the SBAG provides the city a menu of recommendations to achieve the ambitious racial equity and small business goals included in its 2018-2020 Economic Development Strategy. This white paper includes specific recommendations for the city to foster a healthy and more inclusive small business ecosystem that allows entrepreneurs of color to thrive.
This issue brief analyzes the inclusion of people of color in the workforce, contracting networks, and supply chains from 2014-2016 of eight federal government offices: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Federal Reserve Board of Governors, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Federal Housing Finance Agency, National Credit Union Administration, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, US Securities and Exchange Commission, and the US Department of the Treasury Departmental Offices.