CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A national transportation expert is traveling around the country hoping to change the conversation surrounding equity, and he made a stop in central Virginia on Wednesday, November 28.

On Wednesday night, dozens came out to the Jefferson School to hear Charles Brown share his ideas on how improving transportation could bring more equity into the Charlottesville community.

"The importance of equity in the transportation decision-making process,” Brown said.

Professor Brown says the key to having a fair-minded community is proper access to transportation.

“In order to understand the disparities that exist, you have to look at the root causes and sometimes the root causes takes us to systemic discrimination," Brown said.

Brown teamed up with the Piedmont Environmental Council to talk about specific ways people in central Virginia can help change the conversation around equity.

"Simply having conversations, simply not being afraid to talk to one another, to get to know each other, to go into other people’s lives, to celebrate what they're bringing and hear what they have to say,” Peter Krebs of the Piedmont Environmental Council, said.

Brown says making sure sidewalks are safe and accessible are some of the small steps localities can take in making sure members of the community have more equal opportunities - but it doesn't stop there.

"It also means that you take a look at the processes, procedures, and the distribution of resources in addressing those needs because often times or too often, people have not received the resources - meaning funds, money, et cetera - to bring about the changes they want to see in the community,” Brown said.

The Piedmont Environment Council says the Charlottesville-Albemarle community is moving in the right direction.

“To create a network of safe, beautiful, restorative transportation links for bicycles and pedestrians here in Charlottesville and Albemarle as one community - no sidewalks that stop at a county line, no bike paths that end at a city line - one single network for everyone,” Krebs said.

If you missed Brown's discussion on Wednesday night, he will be holding another event on Thursday at 11 a.m. at the Cherry Avenue Boys and Girls Club.