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CHAPTER 2. IDENTIFYING PROTECTED POPULATIONS OVERVIEW Environmental justice assessment traditionally has focused on identifying distributive effects to minority populations and low-income populations. This focus has evolved out of the language of Executive Order 12898 issued by President Clinton in 1994. From a technical perspective, however, the same analytical process can be used to identify distributive effects on nearly any population group. Although considerable attention has been given to minority and low-income populations in the past decade, federal and state policies and regulations offer some level of protection to many other population groups. A review of federal law and regulations shows that the universe of protected populations includes those defined by age, disability, gender, religion, class, race, low-income, limited English proficiency, and national origin. Assessment of distributive beneficial and adverse effects is an objective, analytical part of the environmental justice assessment process. Common transportation planning practice is to evaluate the effects of transportation system changes to "the public" or "local populations," in other words to the population at large. By identifying how effects may be differentially distributed among various population groups, the methods provided in this guidebook give you the ability to evaluate transportation system changes with greater precision. This form of analysis is a vital element in performing an environmental justice assessment. Assessment of distributive effects involves combining demographic and spatial analyses with social, economic, and environmental effects analyses. The objective of environmental justice analysis in transportation is to assess the extent to which the benefits and costs of a proposed transportation system change would be experienced differentially by protected populations and other members of society. To make such an assessment, it is essential to have a clear sense of the areas in which minority populations and low-income populations move about most frequently, that is, where they are most likely to experience positive or negative impacts. The most common means of defining areas where impacts are likely to be concentrated is through place of residence. This is a logical approach for many types of effects. For example, noise impacts are generally most significant when they occur near a person's home, as are community cohesion and aesthetic impacts. Unless a person spends nearly all of his/her time at home, however, many other types of effects are likely to be experienced throughout the day during daily activities. To assess the nature and magnitude of impacts that vary spatially throughout a community, it is first necessary to gain a sense of the geographic space within which protected populations tend to circulate. This geographic space is commonly referred to as "activity space." To determine the activity space of protected populations, you must examine the social, affective, and physical aspects of these communities. Specifically, we present methods that can assist in estimating: · The location and relative importance of activity spaces. · Accessibility to these locations. 19