Smart City Initiatives Present New Frontier For Transportation Rights Struggles

When Columbus made Amazon’s list of finalists for the tech giant’s second headquarters, critics had one major concern: the city’s transportation system. With talk of a Hyperloop once again in the air and a Smart City project in the works, how citizens get around Columbus has become a pressing question.

“The ability to access social and economic opportunity in a fair or equal way, that is- what we see is if people don’t have the same right to travel, usually that’s based on some sort of discriminatory behavior,” says Tom Sanchez, a professor of Urban Affairs and Planning at Virginia Tech.

Sanchez, who’s speaking at The Ohio State University on Wednesday, says transportation is a civil right. He points to cases where funding for transportation projects goes toward light rail systems that have one set of ridership, compared to a bus system that has a different demographic of ridership.