TP1 cropNot all communities have the same access to healthy, safe, reliable and affordable transportation options, such as public transit and biking and walking paths. Public transit in communities south of the I-8 freeway is often unaffordable, inaccessible and inconvenient. For those that do not travel by car, a trip to the grocery store may require an hour walk on an unsafe sidewalk. Work commutes can be up to two hours longer by transit than they are by car, and as a result, some communities do not have access to the same quality of life, just because of where they live.

Transportation justice is the right of every person to a safe, accessible, affordable, and healthy transportation system in their communities. In San Diego, environmental justice communities have suffered from transportation injustices for decades. Environmental justice communities’ vision of transportation justice is one where people will not have to own a car to access jobs, go to the doctor, go to school and take care of their basic needs. The way towards this vision is through a city, county, and statewide focus on affordable, zero-emission mass transit.

At Environmental Health Coalition (EHC), we prioritize three major tenants of transportation justice to achieve this mission:
1. Accessibility
Better and more abundant transportation options and increased affordability give community member's greater access to goods, jobs, housing and services.
2. Health and Safety
A focus on zero-emission mass public transportation and pedestrian-first infrastructure reduces toxic pollution along with pedestrian and bicyclists collisions with cars.
3. Prioritization of investments in environmental justice communities
Investment in transportation for environmental justice communities ensures those communities most impacted by transportation injustice, benefit first from important improvements.

To learn more or to get involved, call Transportation Justice Policy Advocate, Ana Castro Reynoso at (619) 474-0220 Ext 161 or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Our Current Transportation Justice Projects:

We focus on Local, City, County, and State wide initiatives to ensure that, together, we bring transportation justice in our neighborhoods. In 2018, we partnered with social justice leaders to release a comprehensive assessment of City of San Diego’s Climate Action Plan that investigates how effectively the City invested in low-income communities of color. With little to no data recorded or progress evaluated since the Plan’s adoption in 2015, San Diego’s environmental justice communities continue to carry a greater burden of the harmful effects of climate change. Our in-depth report sets baseline data in six categories and highlights increased mass transit and direct investment in the most impacted communities as immediate solutions the City must implement to protect the region. To read the full Start Here, Start Now assessment, click here


Local governmental bodies often include important transportation projects in their plans, but fail to adequately prioritize funding for those projects in environmental justice communities. In 2018, the City Heights Community Action Team (CAT) secured prioritized funding for increased pedestrian safety at Altadena and El Cajon Blvd, an especially dangerous intersection in the community.

In 2015, a car struck Paw Seh, a City Heights resident, and her daughter at the intersection of Altadena and El Cajon Boulevard. Their neighbors jumped into action to demand better safety measures at this notoriously dangerous intersection. The City responded to community members by installing safety measures. However, EHC conducted a community survey of residents in the area and found that indicated residents felt more in danger the more they used the intersection. City Heights residents jumped into action once again to demand funding for a High-Intensity Activated Crosswalk (HAWK) at this same intersection. After months of advocacy, the City approved funding for the HAWK lights community members needed.


Accurate representation in the leadership that plans our cities matters. In 2017, the passage of AB805 allowed us to begin the process of making that change.
Assembly Bill 805 is a bill authored by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher that achieves:
Transportation justice: Investments in transit, bicycling, and pedestrian infrastructure in San Diego’s most impacted neighborhoods first.
Democracy: Voting authority based on population size to ensure fair representation.
Reduced air pollution and climate change resilience: Protect public health and the environment from toxic air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions
Accessibility: Better and more abundant transportation options and increased affordability give community member's greater access to jobs, housing and services.

EHC worked with allies in labor, conservation, Climate Action Plan advocates and many others across the region to ensure change in the transportation leadership. Now in its implementation, EHC is working on enacting the new voting structure at the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) as they develop their 2019 Regional Transportation Plan Update, as well as with the Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) as they begin to develop their first transit-first ballot measure in 2020.


SB375 is Senate bill that holds our regional transportation-planning agency, SANDAG, accountable for reducing its pollution. Our communities demanded SANDAG reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by the year 2035. The Senate Bill works to hold our regional transportation-planning agency, SANDAG, accountable for reducing transportation related pollution in the County. EHC has worked with allies in the Quality of Life Coalition to ensure equitable implementation of the bill.

In March 2018, EHC asked for the California Air Resources Board to require SANDAG cut its emissions by 25 percent by the year 2035. Although only a 19 percent target was finalized by the Board, EHC is working closely both with ARB and SANDAG staff to ensure that San Diego meets the 19 percent reduction standard for San Diego in an equitable and transparent way.