Thursday, May 09, 2019

Driving Suspended

In New York if drivers don't pay their traffic tickets the state suspends their license. This policy can have a devastating effect on low income drivers, who can be forced to choose between losing access to work, health care and food or continue driving on a suspended license and risk criminal charges and bigger fines.

Opportunity Suspended is a story map visualizing the number of traffic debt suspensions imposed in New York in 2016. The map starts by using proportional markers to show the number of traffic suspensions issued in each zip-code area in the state. The second map in the story shows this data normalized, showing the number of suspensions in each zip-code area per 100,000 people of driving age.

The third map in Opportunity Suspended uses proportional colored markers to show both the number of suspensions and the racial compilation of the zip-code. On this map large purple square markers show where there was a large number of suspensions in an area with a high percentage of people of color. The small grey squares show a small number of suspensions in areas with a small percentage of people of color. A choropleth layer is then added to this map to show the poverty levels in each zip-code area.

The maps in Opportunity Suspended reveal that there is a strong correlation between the number of traffic suspensions with both race & poverty. In New York the suspension rate is 9 times higher in the 10 poorest zip-code areas than in the 10 wealthiest zip-code areas. The suspension rate is 4 times higher in the 10 zip codes with the highest concentration of people of color than in the ten zip codes with the most concentrated white population. In other words in New York traffic suspensions are issued most often against those who are probably the most reliant on being able to drive.

1 comment:

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