Freight Transportation Justice
The San Francisco Bay Area is home to the nation’s fifth largest container seaport, the Port of Oakland, which plays an important role in the movement of consumer goods in and out of the United States.
While the economic benefits of this industry--including low-priced, imported consumer goods and job creation--are widely touted, these economic benefits are not equitably distributed in this region. Local residents lack meaningful access to jobs generated by Port-related activities and Port-related truck drivers face poor working conditions as they face some of the highest health risks but some of the lowest wages and least control over their work environment.
Total Combined Truck Flows To/From California, 1998
Source: U.S. Department of Transportation
Worsening this inequity, the diesel-fueled ships, trucks, and trains that move these goods rely on a network of ports, rail lines and railyards, highways, and distribution centers that are primarily located in low-income communities of color, generating disproportionately high environmental health costs for local residents.
The Pacific Institute, through our pursuit of sustainable regional solutions that integrate economic and environmental concerns, has played a leadership role in uniting regional efforts with a shared vision of greater justice for those who shoulder the burden of the Port’s activities while receiving few of the benefits.
The goal of our Freight Transport Justice Project is to reduce the adverse health impacts of freight transportation on low-income neighborhoods of color closest to freight transport hubs, and to increase the share of the benefits that are enjoyed by residents of these communities. We build the power and capacity of communities to participate in decision-making regarding freight transportation and play a leadership role in local and regional collaborations working to win community health, local hire, job creation, and economic justice victories.
In October 2010, the Pacific Institute released Gearing up for Action: A Curriculum Guide for Freight Transport Justice, which was developed over the past five years with organizations and coalitions in other freight transport corridors and major hubs in the United States in order to build community power to address these common challenges.
Download the Curriculum Guide here.