Sociocultural and historical factors about transportation often have trouble fitting into a policy conversation, particularly if they are not readily quantifiable. This has significant ramifications for issues of equity and bringing about more just distribution of resources. It also can lead to hurtful and damaging “blind spots” that allow systemic racism and classism to continue unabated. I am happy to be conducting a study that will result in a white paper synthesizing current research findings on sociocultural research on bicycling, particularly in fields not in conversation with transportation studies. The review will pay close attention to questions of equity, diversity, and inclusion and the influence of categories of social identity such as race, gender, and class. Literature will be gathered from a variety of disciplines including but not limited to history, anthropology, cultural studies, sociology, geography, communication, media studies, literature, gender studies, and ethnic studies. Insights from these disciplines offer new avenues for transportation research and new resources for practitioners.
This is a propitious moment for such a review, because of growing concerns about equity and justice within active transportation. Sociocultural and historical research on active transportation promises to point toward solutions for addressing challenges of inequality and cultural difference. We expect to have a draft of the white paper done by Fall 2018. My collaborators on this project are Adonia Lugo and Rebecca Van Stokkum.