Definition – equality refers to the state of being equal, especially in status, rights or opportunities. The Declaration of Principles on Equality, formulated by the Equal Rights Trust, defines the Right to Equality as: “the right for all human beings to be equal in dignity, to be treated with respect and consideration and to participate on an equal basis with others in any area of economic, social, political, cultural or civil life. All human beings are equal before the law and have the right to equal protection and benefit of the law.”
The terms equality and equity are sometimes used interchangeably, which can lead to confusion as there are important distinctions. Simply put, equality is treating everyone the same, while equity is giving everyone what they need to be successful. With equality, everyone gets the same things and is treated in the same way – but that does not necessarily acknowledge that people do not have the same needs. In contrast, equity acknowledges that people have different starting points and different needs and attempts to provide what each individual needs to be successful and to accelerate progress towards equality for all groups in society (see also diversity).
Relevance to SUMP – An overarching objective of SUMP development is to “ensure all citizens are offered transport options that enable access to key destinations and services” (emphasis added). To help achieve this objective, the principle of equality can be applied at different stages of the process, for example: equality of opportunity to participate in SUMP preparation; and using equality as a criterion during scenario appraisal and measure selection. See also equity.