From April 2018 to August 2018, transportation equity community conversations were hosted by 12 organizations to help us answer the question “How can Ottawa become a leader in transportation equity and mobility justice?” The Healthy Transportation Coalition and HealthBridge partnered in this work with the aim of informing the application of an equity lens in the 2019 revision of the City of Ottawa Transportation Master Plan and related transit decisions. City for All Women Initiative (CAWI) joined this undertaking as part of their work to apply an intersectional gender lens (Gender- based Analysis+) to city decision making (Status of Women Canada, 2018). Toward this end, the City of Ottawa Equity and Inclusion Lens was applied in the design of the consultation, selection of facilitators and participants, and the analysis of findings.
Participants in the conversations included representatives from the equity-seeking groups identified in the Equity and Inclusion Lens (see “Themes by Equity-Seeking Groups”, p. 10). It was noted that for many people living on low-incomes and for those without a car, public transit is an essential service. Participants expressed challenges faced in accessing services, doing grocery shopping and avoiding isolation when public transit was not easily accessible.