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Equitable Access to Transportation Systems: Research in Progress

Introduction

NCHRP has scheduled the following research projects to evaluate issues in transportation equity, including policies and practices to improve access for diverse populations with atypical travel times and commute patterns, the role of transportation investments in gentrification, and methods to meaningfully engage underserved populations and communities of color in transportation decision-making.

Guidance Sources

NCHRP 08-159: Understand How Accessibility to Employment, Health Care, Education and Other Vital Needs Varies for Different Population Groups in Different Settings, and Methods for Effectively Assessing Mobility and Accessibility Needs, start date: May 2021; expected completion date: unknown.

Traffic models may not represent the challenges faced by many underserved populations whose travel behavior do not always fit traditional commute work hours or travel patterns. This project will identify opportunities for state DOTs and other transportation agencies to minimize inequities, and develop methodologies to help decision-makers better understand the factors that influence the travel needs of diverse populations.


NCHRP 08-160: Understand the Role of Transportation Infrastructure Investment in Gentrification and Displacement and Identify Effective Policies and Strategies to Address These Effects, start date: May 2021; expected completion date: unknown.

Researchers will examine the role of transportation investment and the investment decision-making processes that lead to gentrification. Specifically, this project will identify strategies, policies and data that state DOTs can use to avoid displacement and the other adverse impacts of gentrification on low-income and minority communities.


NCHRP 08-161: Identify Emerging Approaches for Public Engagement to Meaningfully Involve Minorities, Low-Income and Other Vulnerable Populations, start date: May 2021; expected completion date: unknown.

Based on recent experience with all-virtual public engagement as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, this research will determine the challenges of meaningfully engaging minority, low-income and other vulnerable populations in transportation decision-making and identify effective engagement approaches that achieve equitable transportation outcomes.


NCHRP 08-162: Identify Practices and Policies to Advance Social Justice and Equity Into Transportation Decision-Making, start date: May 2021; expected completion date: unknown.  

This research project will examine transportation infrastructure’s role in enabling systemic inequities, its failure to ensure access for all users (urban and rural) and the causes of long-term community impacts such as gentrification and displacement. Researchers will identify effective policies and strategies in transportation investment decision-making to eliminate systemic racism, reverse impacts and ensure equity in future transportation investments.


NCHRP Synthesis 53-01: Practices to Promote Equity in Transportation Funding, start date: May 2021; expected completion date: unknown. 

To develop equitable transportation funding policies and strategies, researchers will document methodologies, formulas, tools and performance measures used by state DOTs to promote equity in programmatic and project funding distribution. Using information gathered through a literature review and survey of state DOTs, researchers will examine funding practices in all phases of a transportation project (asset management, planning, design, construction, maintenance and operation).