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Public Policy and Administration


Frances Goldman


Transportation infrastructure, such as highways and interstates, creates a barrier that can physically limit access to those living in adjacent neighborhoods, a phenomenon known as community severance. In addition to creating a physical disconnect, these infrastructures can leave residents feeling socially isolated and excluded from the rest of the community. This qualitative single-case study focused on social exclusion and community severance and problems arising from the U.S. transportation network, addressing the development of the interstate system and its possible impacts on communities. The exclusionary effects of transportation-related severance were well supported in the literature. However, most of research had been quantitative. Framed within the relative deprivation theory and the concept of social exclusion, the current study addressed the lives and perceptions of individuals living in an impoverished neighborhood who were at risk of social exclusion as a result of community severance. The analysis of focus group data from 26 participants revealed the effects of community severance within the context of a U.S. state highway infrastructure. Data analysis included coding and theming. The findings indicated a geographic separation caused by the state highway infrastructure perpetuated a perceived division by creating sides of the community. Findings may be used to improve the understanding of the risk of transportation-related community severance, which may inform future community development policy and transportation impact assessments.