Justice in transport as justice in accessibility: applying Walzer’s ‘Spheres of Justice’ to the transport sector


Karel Martens

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

policy - equity


Transport, Justice, Equity, Spheres of Justice, Distribution


This paper seeks to provide a theoretical basis for a distributive approach to transport. Using the theory developed by Michael Walzer in his ‘Spheres of Justice’ (1983), I argue that the transport good, defined as accessibility, should be distributed in a so-called separate sphere, i.e. independent from the way in which other key goods, like money or power, are allocated. I subsequently explore what kind of justice principle could guide the distribution of the transport good, once a separate sphere would be established. This preliminary exploration results in the elimination of a number of widely supported distributive principles, and in the tentative identification of a criterion matching the particularities of the transport good. The explorations in the paper are not intended as final answers, but rather seek to open the debate about the need for an explicit distributive transport policy and the distributive principle that should guide such a policy.


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