When Mohamed Aden moved from his home in East Africa to California, he and his wife relied on light rail as their primary mode of transportation. When they relocated to Minnesota, they expected similar transportation options to be available.
“I thought Minneapolis has such a big population, they would have public transportation here,” Aden told a gathering at the Capri Theater last week. “I talk to my family members who live in Europe and they ask, ‘Why do you need a car?’ They don’t understand, because they have a system there.”
Aden’s story was shared in a new book called A Mile in Our Shoes: Stories about Transportation and Equity. Published by EquityNow Twin Cities, A Mile in Our Shoes asked Twin Cities residents to answer a simple question: What’s it like to travel a mile in your shoes? The stories we gathered highlight the daily challenges facing people who rely on public transit in the Twin Cities, contrasted against the relative privilege of people who have access to more transportation choices.
The idea for the book stemmed from our desire to connect the larger systemic issues of transportation inequity to the stories of residents who experience those problems every day.
“We hope the book will encourage more people to think about how real people are affected by policy decisions,” says Ebony Adedayo, program coordinator for the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability. “And even more importantly, we need to ensure residents have more opportunities to be decision-makers when it comes to how transit is planned for their communities.”
In addition to stories, the book highlights principles of transportation equity that should be used to guide future transit investments in the Twin Cities region. Leaders at all levels of decision-making need to consider equity issue from the early stages of planning, to hiring and to the environmental effects on the community once a transitway is in place.
Click the image above to read A Mile in Our Shoes and learn more about the transportation equity principles.