Getting There From Here: A Conversation About Regional Transportation

Fordham Urban Law Journal’s Cooper-Walsh Colloquium, “Getting There From Here: A Conversation About Regional Transportation,” will take place on Friday, October 21, 2016, at Fordham Law School. The annual Colloquium is organized in conjunction with Professor Susan Block-Lieb, the Cooper Family Chair of Urban Legal Studies, and Professor Sheila Foster, the Albert A. Walsh Chair of Real Estate, Land Use, and Property Law.  The event is co-sponsored by the Urban Law Center at Fordham Law School. The 2016 Cooper-Walsh Colloquium is dedicated to exploring regional transportation as a source of economic growth, social inclusion, and sustainable development. The Colloquium will examine how federal, state, and local governments shape metropolitan and regional transportation, and identify and assess potential reforms. It will feature roundtable discussions of articles and essays that the Fordham Urban Law Journal will publish in its Spring 2017 Cooper-Walsh Issue.

Friday, October 21, 2016, 9:30 am – 4:10 pm

Fordham Law School, 150 West 62nd Street, Room 7-119


REGISTRATION: 9:30 – 9:50 a.m.                  



9:50 – 10:00 a.m.                  

Dean Nestor Davidson, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs; Professor of Law; Faculty Co-Director of the Fordham Urban Law Center



10:00 – 10:30 a.m.                

Mr. Samuel Schwartz, President and CEO of Sam Schwartz, a transportation consulting firm, and author of Street Smart: The Rise of Cities and the Fall of Cars


TODs Make a Difference in Job Location by PROFESSOR ARTHUR C. NELSON

10:30 – 11:20 a.m.                 

The end of the 20th century saw the decline of major new investment in heavy rail (“subway”) transit systems serving the nation’s largest metropolitan areas and the rise of transit systems serving medium and smaller metropolitan areas such as light rail transit (LRT), bus rapid transit (BRT), and streetcar transit (SCT) systems. Whether transit-oriented developments (TODs) served by these systems make a difference has not been studied rigorously. This article reports research about whether and the extent to which jobs are attracted to transit stations. The research is applied to23 transit systems in the United States during over the period from Great Recession into the earlier years of recover (2008 through 2011). The research finds that LRT and SCT TODs increased their share of regional jobs up to a mile away from transit stations while BRT TODs increased their regional job share within one-half mile. The research also finds that all systems gained important shares of regional jobs in office, education and health care economic sectors near transit stations.  TOD policy, planning and investment implications are offered.

Professor Rae Zimmerman will respond.


Civil Rights and Environmental Justice in Regional Transportation Planning: A Path to Regional Equity? by DR. AARON GOLUB

11:30 a.m. – 12:20 p.m.        

A long history of exclusion and discrimination, exacerbated by policies systematically favoring suburbs while wreaking physical, social and economic destruction on central cities, has resulted in severe and persistent inequality and concentrated poverty in modern America. Place-based inequality, directly linked with racial segregation, can only be fully comprehended from a regional perspective. In this article, we provide an overview of the metropolitan transportation planning process, which is required by federal law to ensure regional collaboration on major investments, and the complex institutions and processes that have developed in response to those requirements. We then discuss the three federal legal doctrines currently available to challenge metropolitan inequality and discrimination in transportation policy: Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 12,898 on Environmental Justice, and the duty under the Fair Housing Act to “affirmatively further fair housing.” Finally, we examine efforts to address contemporary inequality through nine case studies of community-initiated challenges to policies with impacts that cross local city borders. We argue that while existing legal doctrines and tools have the potential to support successful challenges to metropolitan inequality, there are important limitations that must be addressed before significant progress can be made. We conclude with recommendations for action and reform.

Professor Alexis Perrotta will respond.



12:30 – 1:30 p.m.                   


Transportation Planning in the Age of Climate Change by MR. CHRISTOPHER JONES

1:40 – 2:10 p.m.                     

Evaluating the costs and benefits of transportation megaprojects is one of the central challenges of regional planning. Schedules and cost estimates undergo constant revisions. Externalities are difficult to calculate, and traditional benefit-cost analysis is inadequate for measuring the transformational potential of large infrastructure projects. Climate change adds an additional layer of complexity. Environmental impacts need to be assessed against future conditions, rather than the status quo, and the pace of environmental change is difficult to predict.

Regional Plan Association is completing its fourth plan for the New York metropolitan area in its 90 year history. This article outlines priorities for an aging transportation network, and argues that reform needs to address rising sea levels, increased flooding and higher temperatures as well as changing growth and travel patterns. It posits that emerging transportation network must not only be resilient, it also needs to respond to public choices on where to reinforce and where to retreat from areas that are vulnerable to climate impacts.


New Strategies for Reducing Transportation Emissions and Preparing for Climate Impacts by DIRECTOR VICTORIA A. ARROYO

2:20 – 3:10 p.m.                      

The transportation sector is on its way to becoming the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Federal and state vehicle and fuel standards will significantly reduce emissions, but they will be insufficient to put the U.S. on track to achieve needed reductions. Similarly, transportation infrastructure is already being damaged by climate change, but current programs and investments are insufficient to prepare for extreme weather, rising seas and other impacts. Our paper highlights four underappreciated strategies that will be critical to achieving the shift to a low-carbon, resilient transportation sector. First, federal vehicle and fuel standards need to be complemented by coordinated federal and state strategies to promote clean vehicle adoption. Second, it will be critical to develop tools and practices that integrate greenhouse gas planning into transportation decision making. Third, it will be necessary to mainstream resilience into transportation planning and investments. Finally, the broken transportation funding mechanism will need to be replaced or complemented with new mechanisms that can sustainably fund our transportation system during this period of transition. The paper highlights existing models and emerging approaches for all of these strategies, but argues that broad implementation will need to be accelerated to meet emission reduction goals and prepare for climate impacts.

Mr. Emil H. Frankel will respond.


Traffic Enforcement, Social Justice and Safe Streets by MR. MARCO CONNER

3:20 – 3:50 p.m.                     

A recent shift in public discourse has shined a light on decades of racially disparate policing and criminal justice practices. Horrific high-profile killings of African-Americans during police traffic stops reveal only the surface of our troubled race relations and a failed and inhumane criminal justice system. At the same time, in 2015, a total of 1,949 people died in traffic in CT, NJ and NY. Nationwide 35,092 people lost their lives; and with few exceptions traffic fatalities have continually increased across the country since 2014. Increased traffic enforcement and prosecution is still seen by most as part of the solution to this epidemic. However, a lack of conclusive research raises questions about the efficacy of traffic enforcement to deter dangerous driving. Given these realities, can transportation planners defend promoting traffic enforcement and increased prosecution to deter dangerous driving, in the effort to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries – the goal of Vision Zero as a government policy in New York City and elsewhere? Does enforcement work, and do viable alternatives to our current practices and policies exist? This paper and presentation argues that parts of our troubled enforcement practices must be abandoned and resources instead dedicated to new and existing practices, like automated camera enforcement, based on a transparent data-driven process that applies equity-analyses and recurring evaluation to the areas of transportation- engineering, education and enforcement. It suggests an ideal framework for a life-saving 21st century traffic enforcement and criminal justice regime for New York City and beyond in the age of Vision Zero.



4:00 – 4:10 p.m.                     

Professor Susan Block-Lieb, Cooper Family Chair of Urban Legal Studies

Professor Sheila Foster, Albert A. Walsh Professor of Real Estate, Land Use and Property Law; University Professor; Faculty Co-Director of the Fordham Urban Law Center


For more information on the Fordham Urban Law Journal or the Cooper-Walsh Colloquium and Book, please contact the Cooper-Walsh Colloquium & Articles Editor, Susan Moskovits, at