These papers explore how equity has been incorporated into the transportation decision making process.
Equity-oriented Criteria for Project Prioritization in Regional Transportation Planning
Agustina Krapp, Asociación SustenarShow Abstract
Jesus Barajas (email@example.com), University of California, Davis
Audrey Wennink, Chicago Metropolitan Planning Council
Transportation inequities, consequences of decades of auto-oriented planning alongside discriminatory land-use and transportation planning and policy decisions resulting from structural racism, severely impact opportunities for people of color and other historically marginalized populations. While a growing body of work has examined inequities with respect to long-range transportation planning, less attention has been focused on how equity is incorporated in short-term planning processes via the Transportation Improvement Program. This research reviewed the documentation of the metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) that serve the 40 largest urbanized areas in the US for their use of equity-based criteria for transportation project prioritization in regional planning. Just over half deployed at least one equity criterion for allocating transportation funds, which fell into one of six categories with varying degrees of complexity and potential for impact. While most MPOs included equity in their prioritization criteria, the methods could be improved to better align with more complete definitions of transportation equity, focusing on how targeted groups are defined, more comprehensive methods for equity evaluation, and an increase in the weight that equity is given in prioritization. MPOs and other agencies implementing transportation projects should adopt a justice-oriented framework for project prioritization that ensures that projects first affirmatively remedy historical inequities and work with affected communities to adopt appropriate and meaningful solutions.
Strategies and Barriers to Addressing Equity in Transportation: Experiences of Transportation Practitioners
Kaylla Cantilina, University of MichiganShow Abstract
Shanna Daly, University of Michigan
Matthew Reed, University of Michigan
Robert Hampshire, University of Michigan
ABSTRACT The importance of advancing transportation equity is more visible as other structural inequalities in our society have received increasing attention. The development of equity metrics and strategies form a foundation for achieving transportation equity goals. However, there is a gap between understanding these fundamental resources and integrating them into practice, in part because of barriers that span transportation contexts. To investigate practitioners’ approaches to transportation equity and barriers to achieving improved equity, we conducted 59 interviews with transportation practitioners from the public, private, non-profit and academic sectors. Our findings revealed that a majority of the transportation practitioners sampled were interested in addressing equity. Key approaches they used to do so were collaborating with other organizations and sectors, integrating non-transportation related data, and considering the contextual needs of vulnerable communities. Key barriers to the implementation of transportation equity approaches were that more or better equity related data is needed, there are challenges with accessing and collecting data, and a lack of standards and metrics for measuring outcomes. These findings can guide work to better integrate approaches recommended by prior literature into practitioners’ best-practices.
Toward the Development of a Unified Process and Methodology Guide for EJ Analysis in Planning and Programming
Eliot Benman, Alan M. Voorhees Transportation CenterShow Abstract
David Aimen, Rutgers University
Federal Environmental Justice directives require transportation agencies responsible for planning and programming federal funds, including state Departments of Transportation (DOTs) and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), to identify and address disproportionately high and adverse human health and environmental impacts on minority and low-income populations. Despite issuance of federal and state guidance and training programs, many MPOs nationwide continue to seek clarity on effective environmental justice (EJ) approaches and procedural considerations. The South Central Pennsylvania Unified EJ Process and Methodology study was a year-long effort undertaken by Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), and a consortium of MPOs in PennDOT District 8 to identify a unified and replicable approach to implementing EJ in transportation planning. The consortium engaged a technical assistance consultant to facilitate a collaborative process to identify a process framework, set of analytical methodologies, and effective strategies for advancing EJ in the regional transportation planning process. The study demonstrated a model for convening regional, state, and federal partners to reach consensus around an effective EJ process and methodology. This paper provides an overview of the study process, findings related to the concerns of the participating MPOs, and a brief description of the recommended analytical approaches. Finally, the paper discusses lessons learned during the course of the study and considers additional work required to further enhance the EJ process.
Practical Strategies for Achieving Transportation Justice: Seeing Beyond State-Sponsored Approaches
Alex Karner (firstname.lastname@example.org), University of Texas, AustinShow Abstract
Jonathan London, University of California, Davis
Dana Rowangould, University of Vermont
Kevin Manaugh, McGill University
Transportation policies, plans, and projects all rely heavily on state institutions because of the substantial cost of infrastructure and the need to assess transportation system performance, including equity. But prior work on environmental justice critically assesses the state’s role in perpetuating injustice. Most research and planning practice related to transportation equity has relied upon state-sponsored analytical methods. We argue that transportation planners and scholars can benefit from critical assessments of these approaches and propose a shift in focus from transportation equity to transportation justice that is more closely aligned with models of social change promulgated in the environmental justice literature and related movements. This shift highlights multiple approaches that can be pursued to advance transportation justice.
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