Date of Award

7-11-2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Essex, Jamey

Keywords

citizen participation, Detroit, equity, public transportation, racial minorities, urban planning

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

This research explores citizen participation in the Detroit metropolitan region in formal governmental institutions in the public transportation sector. Its purpose is to understand whether citizens feel empowered to be active, effective, and robust stakeholders within the public transit policy process. By surveying members of the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) and observing various CAC and Regional Transit Authority (RTA) public meetings, this study determines the level and perceived effectiveness of participation by CAC members in transit decision-making to be moderate, yet restrained by the institutional structure. The wider implications on creating an equitable transit system are discussed. I conclude that with limited influence and the lack of obvious representation of marginalized groups, it is difficult to determine whether the CAC’s involvement will lead to the creation of an equitable transit system to benefit Detroit’s transit dependent populations.

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