Transportation Equity: Reengineering the Quality of Urban Life

“When someone is deprived of transportation options [it affects] their ability to get an education, it affects their ability to have access to healthy food, it affects their ability to access employment centers.”

Richard Ezike, Ph.D., Noted Subject-Matter Expert on Transportation Equity

Transportation access remains one of the most important issues affecting American urban life. And yet, many commuters—especially those who live in affluent suburbs and exurbs—remain woefully unaware that many of their urban counterparts are deprived access to the full array of mobility choices. Such transportation inequity means that a resident in the inner city would require a painstakingly long commute to work at a job, acquire healthcare, shop, or attend school.

In this episode, Richard Ezike, Ph.D. discusses his nationally recognized thought leadership regarding the inequities inherent in the American transportation system. His career is inspired by his early childhood dreams of becoming an architect building beautiful cities, advanced scientific study, and fellowships at some of the nation’s leading policy organizations.

During these key interview segments, Dr. Ezike builds a story on reengineering the quality of urban life:

  • Relives his childhood dream of doing meaningful work as an architect building cities [starts at 4:42]
  • Defines Transportation Equity and the benefits that it can provide access-deprived residents of urban communities [starts at 13:48]
  • Explains the importance of promoting science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) in education [starts at 22:15]
  • Offers first-hand the benefits of mentoring young people from underserved groups [starts at 26:01]

reengineering the quality of urban lifeAbout our guest: As a child growing up in Kingsport, Tennessee, Richard Ezike was “fascinated by the design of buildings.” On family trips, young Richard brought along his Kodak camera to capture images of the buildings that he admired most. He recalls: “I really wanted to be someone that was able to design the next major city in the country.”

In high school, Richard discovered a passion for scientific study; he thrived in AP Chemistry, and soon after, earned bachelors and doctoral degrees in Chemical Engineering. But it was years later, at a prized fellowship with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, that he understood the importance of an equitable transportation system to a functioning system. That was when his childhood dream of creating great places to live merged with his passion for promoting science and economic, environment, and social parity.

Today, he is nationally recognized thought-leader in Transportation Equity.

Richard Ezike received a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from North Carolina State University and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan. Currently, he is a New Mobility and Equity Fellow for the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington, D.C. Dr. Ezike is a frequent events speaker and podcast guest in the areas of transportation equity, resource sustainability, social responsibility, STEAM learning, careerism, and the environment.

EPISODE DATE: September 14, 2018

Published work:

Transportation, Sustainability, and Equity and the Effect on the African-American Community, Published October 20, 2016

Transportation, Environment and Health: Inexorably Linked for Black People, Washington Informer, Published September 7, 2016

Can Transportation be a Bridge to Wealth for African Americans?, Published May 10, 2016

Social media:

Richard Ezike, Ph.D. Website

LinkedIn Page

Photo credits: METRO Green Line Train, Getty Images; Photographic Portrait, Richard Ezike, PhD.