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How the Department of Transportation is Helping AAPI Communities

The Department of Transportation is taking specific steps that will ensure that AAPI communities can benefit from and have full access to transportation systems, programs and projects.

A year ago, I wrote that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) was in the midst of launching several important activities as part of its commitment to the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.  As I said then, transportation is vitally important to the growth and development of the AAPI community.  And I’m happy to report that over the past 12 months, DOT has taken specific steps that will enable the community to fully and safely participate in the nation’s transportation system.   

For example, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has developed pedestrian safety resources for Chinese-, Filipino-, Vietnamese- and Korean-speaking families. These handy materials include tips for parents of elementary school children on how to prevent pedestrian accidents, along with a “Walkability Checklist” families can use to determine if their neighborhoods are pedestrian-friendly.  These free resources are available for download on the NHTSA website.  In addition, NHTSA is actively working to finalize and implement a dissemination plan to make sure these important safety messages reach the frontlines of the AAPI community.

Passenger safety is also a major priority for DOT.  This month, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which oversees bus and truck safety, released a Multilingual Bus Safety Consumer Checklist in the following Asian languages:  Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese.  Available for free online, the bus safety checklist makes it possible for English and non-English speaking passengers alike to obtain important consumer information on bus companies currently in operation – their safety performance, safety ratings and consumer complaint history.  Members of the AAPI community will benefit greatly from having such information before deciding how to travel and which carriers to utilize.

These steps exemplify DOT’s pledge to ensure that AAPI communities can benefit from and have full access to transportation systems, programs and projects.  We look forward to deepening this commitment as well as our ongoing relationship with the AAPI community in the years ahead.

David S. Kim is Associate Administrator for Policy and Governmental Affairs at the Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation.