Words Matter When Disrupting the Transportation Status Quo

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Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the importance of language and word choices when changing conventional approaches to transportation planning.
  • Learn right and wrong words to use in transportation planning to more accurately and appropriately describe various user groups, populations, planning terms, and proposed changes.
  • Boost your confidence to engage the public and interact with important stakeholders without falling at the first hurdle by saying the wrong thing.

More Course Details

Language is a critical component of managing disruptive change in transportation planning and design. Changing the way streets function and prioritize different people and activities is fraught with social and political challenges, so the words we use matter. Unconscious bias and unintentional "othering" manifest themselves in the language we use in presentations, reports, and outreach.

The speaker identifies critical words to avoid and others to use when discussing potential changes to streets and community spaces with diverse community members, road users, and other stakeholders.