Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 3-2011


As ports and goods movement activity expands throughout the United States, a major challenge is how to make the adverse impacts of freight transportation a more central part of economic development, policy and planning discussions and transportation decision making. In 2009, faculty and staff from the Urban & Environmental Policy Institute of Occidental College and from the environmental health sciences and regional equity programs of the University of Southern California (USC) began a study of this evolving global trade and freight transportation system, focusing on areas in the United States where the system is expanding and where community, labor and social justice groups have begun to challenge the system. Funded by The Kresge Foundation, the purpose of the study – which resulted in this report – was to provide an overview of the growth and scale of the goods movement industries and the shift from a production to a distribution economy. At the same time, the study documents examples of organizing and policy approaches that have injected important considerations of health, labor, and community impacts into decisionmaking and identified new directions so that local and regional communities can better address what is happening in their backyards due to these shifts.

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