Date of Graduation

Spring 5-21-2022

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Urban and Public Affairs


College of Arts and Sciences


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First Advisor

Timothy Redmond

Second Advisor

William Riggs

Third Advisor

Sarah Burgess


ABSTRACT Significant research has demonstrated that active transportation infrastructure is essential for the growth and livability of San Francisco: it increases access to economic opportunities, promotes overall improved public health, encourages mobility without contributing to roadway congestion, prevents traffic injuries and fatalities, and supports the sustainability goals of the city. Despite the fact that communities of color will benefit the most from active transportation infrastructure development, historical disenfranchisement in tandem with a lack of diverse representation within public participation contributes to an inequitable distribution of walking and biking investments throughout the city of San Francisco. While research shows that Black and Hispanic cyclists are disproportionately represented in pedestrian and bicycle fatalities, public participation within transportation planning lacks diverse representation. To understand how San Francisco’s transportation development can better reflect the needs of its diverse and historically marginalized residents, I asked the following research question: How can San Francisco effectively engage Equity Priority Communities in active transportation development through participatory planning? In this thesis, I argue that reform of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA)’s outreach and engagement practices is necessary to promote more equitable outcomes. Through a demographic analysis of active transportation community outreach participation, I demonstrate that the SFMTA’s current practices fail to engage the city’s diverse populations. I utilize the perspectives of sixteen SFMTA transportation officials and Susan Fainstein’s model of urban justice to form policy recommendations that will advance equity for the agency’s interaction with the public. This project is important because as SFMTA’s Office of Racial Equity and Belonging is developing Phase 2 of their Racial Equity Action Plan, my research identifies an area in need of improvement and provides a path forward.