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Equitable Access to Transportation Systems: Policies and Practices


Here you'll find national, regional and state resources for understanding the decisions and framework that support a given transportation system. 

Guidance Sources

Understanding Transportation Related Infrastructure Access in 52 Major U.S. Cities, Federal Transit Administration, April 2019.

This guide presents methods to quickly assess transportation supply and demand in any city and identify areas where transportation needs are deficient.


Map of transit deserts in major U.S. cities

Environmental Justice Analysis in Transportation Planning and Programming: State of the Practice, Federal Highway Administration, February 2019.

Documents the state of the practice among state DOTs and metropolitan planning organizations regarding how these agencies are considering and addressing environmental justice concerns in their transportation planning and programming process. The report concludes with a discussion of best practices.


Transit and Livability: Results From the National Community Livability Survey, Small Urban and Rural Transit Center, Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute, December 2018.

A National Community Livability Survey in both urban and rural U.S. communities analyzed the role of transportation and public transit toward quality of life. Results indicated that improving job availability, affordable housing and transportation options can improve livability in metro communities. Improved livability in nonmetro communities results from improving job availability, affordable housing, quality healthcare, affordable transportation options and overall cost of living.

Community Connections Innovations Handbook, Federal Highway Administration, October 2018.

Analytical tools, public involvement strategies, planning and design techniques, and operational improvements are presented to enhance communities and connect people to services and opportunities. Sixteen urban, suburban and rural community projects are featured.



Travel Behavior: Shared Mobility and Transportation Equity, Federal Highway Administration, August 2017.

Researchers introduce the STEPS to Transportation Equity framework, which categorizes transportation equity barriers into five categories: spatial, temporal, economic, physiological and social. For each barrier category, shared mobility opportunities and challenges are explored along with policy recommendations.



Access to Opportunity through Equitable Transportation: Lessons from Four Metropolitan Regions, Urban Institute, October 2020.

Transportation equity and inclusion are examined in different types of metropolitan regions and explores how these regions might track and improve transportation equity over time. Also included are case studies of four Metropolitan Statistical Areas facing different barriers to providing equitable transportation in Seattle, Washington; Lansing, Michigan; Baltimore, Maryland; and Nashville, Tennessee.


► Fact sheet

► Technical appendix

Evaluating the Distributional Effects of Regional Transportation Plans and Projects, National Institute for Transportation and Communities, May 2017.

This research offers guidance for integrating equity into the regional transportation planning process based on the distributional effects of plans and projects.



Bypassing Equity? Transit Investment and Regional Transportation Planning,” Journal of Planning Education and Research, 2014.

Researchers explore how intergovernmental context and metropolitan planning organization activities impact rail proposals for low-income and minority communities.


Multimodal Transportation Best Practices and Model Element, National Center for Transit Research, June 2014.

Feasible public transportation solutions, improved accessibility and connectivity between modes, and coordinated land use efforts are presented to establish a multimodal transportation system appropriate to the size and character of a community.




Advancing Transportation Equity Initiative, Planning and Programming, Minnesota Department of Transportation, undated.

With this initiative, MnDOT wants to better understand how the transportation system, services and decision-making processes help or hinder the lives of people in underserved and underrepresented communities in Minnesota, and identify key actions that transportation agencies can take to make meaningful change.


Advancing Transportation Equity: Research and Practice, Minnesota Department of Transportation, February 2019.

Transportation equity issues in inner city neighborhoods and in rural and tribal communities are discussed along with programs from across the country that aim to improve transportation equity.

Additional Resources

U.S. DOT Health and Equity Portal

Strategies and resources are available to improve equitable access to transportation in low-income and minority communities.