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Exploring How Transit Practitioners Navigate Nervousness

PAQ, Vol. 44 No. 1, (2020)

This study explores how practitioners navigate feelings of nervousness associated with racial and economic inequities connected to public transit systems. It utilizes Gooden’s (2014) 10 principles for conquering nervousness, which have received little attention in the literature to date. This preliminary investigation thus examines the extent to which the principles are adopted – or not – by transit practitioners across four diverse metropolitan areas. A purposive sample of transit equity experts led to 12 in-depth interviews. The analysis illustrates varying degrees of principle adoption amongst the participants. Findings suggest that external legal triggers (such as Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964) most often move the needle on racial equity in public transit. The least adopted principles indicate that agencies are less likely to adopt a race- conscious approach, limiting acknowledgement of historical inequities and structural barriers, which allows nervousness to linger and inequities to persist on a societal level.
KEYWORDS: Social equity, nervousness, race, public transit

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