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January 2011 TRANSIT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM Sponsored by the Federal Transit Administration Responsible Senior Program Officer: Gwen Chisholm-Smith Research Results Digest 97 TRANSIT AGENCY COMPLIANCE WITH TITLE VI: LIMITED ENGLISH PROFICIENCY REQUIREMENTS This digest summarizes the results of TCRP Project J-5, "Legal Aspects of Transit and Intermodal Transportation Programs," Study Topic 11-03. The research was conducted by Jocelyn K. Waite, Esq., Waite & Associates. OVERVIEW OF PROJECT PURPOSE plaints and lawsuits and could become AND OBJECTIVES ineligible for federal funding. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 19641 The 2000 Census shows that in the provides that: United States, 26 million individuals speak Spanish and almost 7 million individuals No person in the United States shall, on speak an Asian or Pacific Island language. the ground of race, color, or national The number of individuals who speak those origin, be excluded from participa- tion in, be denied the benefits of, or be languages has increased greatly since the subjected to discrimination under any time of the Census. Such individuals and program or activity receiving federal others from outside the United States who financial assistance. have a limited ability to read, write, speak, or understand English are categorized as Under the authority of 42 U.S.C. having "limited English proficiency" (LEP). 2000d-1, the U.S. Department of Trans- Federal requirements to meet the needs of portation (U.S. DOT) has promulgated reg- LEP populations are increasingly becoming ulations prohibiting actions with a dis- a concern for transit agencies--particularly parate impact upon any persons. 49 C.F.R. C O N T E N T S in local communities where a large per- 21.5(b)(2) provides that: Overview of Project Purpose centage of the population does not speak A recipient, in determining the types of and Objectives, 1 English fluently and is highly dependent services, financial aid, or other bene- Summary of Phase I Research on transit services. To meet those federal fits, or facilities which will be provided Process, 2 requirements, transit agencies have taken under any such program . . . may not, Summary of LEP a variety of steps to better serve the needs directly or through contractual or other Requirements, 2 and demands of persons lacking English arrangements, utilize criteria or meth- Summary of LEP Enforcement ods of administration which have the Activity, 4 proficiency, such as providing multilingual effect of subjecting persons to discrim- Summary of Survey trip information in stations and via the ination because of their race, color, or Questionnaire, 5 Internet; using fewer language-dependent national origin. . . . Summary of Phase I Research Conclusions, 7 methods of communication (e.g., silhou- ettes, graphics, and arrows); and deploying Since 1972, the Federal Transit Admin- Bibliography, 8 istration (FTA) has required applicants for multilingual staff. State and local transit Appendix A--Survey Questionnaire, 17 agencies that have not implemented pro- Appendix B--Survey grams that satisfy federal LEP require- Respondents, 18 ments face possible discrimination com- 1 42 U.S.C. 2000d et seq.