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The Social Justice (of) Movement: How Public Transportation Administrators Define Social Justice

Author: GERARD C. WELLMAN
Published in PAQ, Vol. 39 No. 1

Transit administrators wield an exceptional amount of power over the lives of the urban poor. Their decisions have immediate and lifelong consequences, and can determine where and when transit dependent populations can access societal resources like jobs, schools, hospitals, and cultural facilities. Few public administrators have as much responsibility to make fair decisions and honor the principles of social justice as public transit administrators. Learning how they define basic concepts like fairness and justice will assist public policymakers in better understanding the mobility challenges of the poor as well as the environment of social justice in public transportation agencies.
The purpose of this study is to further the study of transportation equity and the relationship between social justice considerations and public administration research. Transportation equity is a small but rapidly growing subset of urban studies and public policy academia, and this research, informed by the principles and literature of public administration, intends to document the extent to which social justice values are taken into account in the administrative discretion of transit agency professionals.

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