For several generations, urban transportation policymakers and practitioners around the world favored a “mobility” approach, aimed at moving people and vehicles as fast as possible by reducing congestion. The limits of such an approach, however, have become more apparent over time, as residents struggle to reach workplaces, schools, hospitals, shopping, and numerous other destinations in an equitable and sustainable manner. Researchers have been able to define this challenge more precisely and elevate the importance of “accessibility” over the past few decades, but the adoption of new policies, tools, and investments by practitioners remains slow and uneven across most regions.
The Moving to Access initiative, a collaboration between Brookings’s Metropolitan Policy Program and Global Economy and Development program, is an extensive, multi-year effort that seeks to inform and promote an access-first approach to urban transportation policy, planning, investment, and services. This event on January 11 brought together experts across three major disciplines—transportation, urban planning, and finance—and explored where these disciplines agree, where they diverge, and what policies could support a more accessible built environment. The event featured a panel discussion with current metropolitan leaders and distinguished scholars and closed with a keynote dialogue with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx.