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B-1 A P P E N D I X B Interview Case Studies Summary Introduction As part of the literature review for this project, the research team surveyed equity analyses conducted for long-range transportation plans (MTPs) and transportation improvement programs (TIPs) among 26 metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) representing a diversity of population sizes and geographic areas. Based on this scan, the team identified 10 MPOs (also of varying sizes and geographic areas) to interview for a more in-depth understanding of their approaches to equity analysis. Table B-1 lists the selected MPOs, the state(s) in which they are located, their service population size, and the rationale for selecting them. Table B-1. Subject MPOs and the rationale for selecting these agencies to interview. Agency (MPO) State Population Served Reason for Interview Selection Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) GA 4,818,000 Conducted nuanced discussion of project distribution, used best-practice outcome measures, held workshop series on equity. Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) CO 2,827,082 Adopted equity policy, trains underserved persons on engagement via Transit Alliance Citizensâ Academy. Madison Area Transportation Planning Board (MATPB) WI 434,438 Small MPO with nuanced discussion of project impacts on equity and measures to mitigate disparities. Memphis Urban Area MPO TN, MS 1,077,697 Medium-sized MPO that conducted transit gap analysis, incorporated equity into project selection criteria, and engaged underserved persons in analysis. Metropolitan Area Planning Agency (MAPA) â covers Omaha, NE, and Council Bluffs, IA* NE, IA 285,407 Small MPO that used interesting output/outcome indicators and incorporated equity into project selection criteria. (continued on next page)
B-2 Equity Analysis in Regional Transportation Planning Processes Table B-1 (Continued). Agency (MPO) State Population Served Reason for Interview Selection Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) CA 7,150,828 Conducted thorough outcome-based equity analysis, expressed discontent with disparate impact standard, convened Regional Equity Working Group, developed grant-funded plan focused on regional equity. Mid-America Regional Council (MARC)* MO, KS 1,895,535 Medium-sized MPO that conducted detailed analysis of funding distribution and safety. Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) OH 1,426,183 Medium-sized MPO that used innovative approaches to displaying results of the equity analysis. Oregon Metro â covers Portland, OR OR 1,499,844 Currently updating equity analysis with input from a stakeholder committee. Wichita Area MPO KS 518,985 Small MPO that just adopted a comprehensive equity program. *These agencies did not complete the online survey questionnaire. The research team developed a list of general questions to ask each agency, as well as tailored questions that focused on each agencyâs practices. The list of general questions was reviewed and approved by the research panel as part of the literature review (Appendix A). The research team offered interviewees the option to submit some of the general answers via an online survey before the interview, which helped the team to focus the interviews on the customized questions about the agencyâs specific practices. Eight of the 10 MPOs completed the pre-interview survey. As part of the interview process, agencies were asked about their interest in participating in the pilot technical assistance projects to be conducted as part of the TCRP H-54 study during 2018. Agencies expressing a definite interest included ARC, DRCOG, MARC, Memphis, and MORPC. Metro and MTC were also interested in staying involved with the TCRP study in some capacity. Agency Context This part of the assessment provided information about the agencyâs capacity, responsibilities, roles, relationships, and other characteristics relevant to its equity analysis process. Staff Availability Agency sizes ranged from as few as eight staff members to more than 250. All agencies reported at least one staff member conducting equity-related analyses as part of their core job responsibilities. At MORPC, responsibility was split between their public involvement team and their modeling group; this is a good example of integrating public involvement with technical analysis. Duties of the Agency Most of the MPOs, particularly those housed in regional councils of government or other agencies, perform duties beyond those federally required of MPOs. These included, for example,
Interview Case Studies B-3 planning for rural areas, operating travel-demand management programs, staffing councils on aging, coordinating regional emergency services, and rehabilitating low-income housing. Partnerships Every MPO named at least one partner with whom they were working to accomplish their equity analysis. Most referred to transit providers and other local, regional, or state agencies. Several also had partnerships with local colleges or universities, nonprofit organizations, or private contractors. Partnerships tended to support three areas: (i) public involvement; (ii) data and analysis; and (iii) legal support. Examples included the following: The MATPB contracted with the university survey center to conduct a household travel survey that supplements the national household survey by oversampling areas with high minority populations and with households in poverty that included children or older adults. This provided a rich set of baseline data on current travel patterns for these groups. Nebraska and Iowaâs OmahaâCouncil Bluffs Metropolitan Area Planning Agency (MAPA) reported that their participation in EPAâs Sustainable Communities program was instrumental in bringing equity analysis to the front end of the planning process, allowing them to consider project impacts prior to funding decisions. The agency also reported that the regionâs Equity and Engagement Committee had been increasingly involved in the transportation planning process, and there was an ongoing effort to incorporate fair housing assessments into that process as well. In the Portland area, the Oregon Metro received a grant that allowed them to partner with an environmental justice expert at Portland State University to identify appropriate performance metrics and analysis indicators, and to conduct some scenario planning. Points at which MPOs Consider Equity All agencies conducted equity analyses during long-range planning processes, and most conducted them for TIPs. The MATPB also conducted equity analyses in modal plans for bicycling and transit. ARC conducted equity analyses for the Public Participation Plan and system performance evaluation reports, and was considering creating an agency-wide âequity playbook.â Familiarity with Existing Law, Regulations, and Guidance Agencies reported a wide range of familiarity with Title VI and EJ laws and regulations; comments on their levels of experience included the following: Staff not familiar with Title VI case law; EJ is easier than Title VI; MPOs rely on the civil rights offices of their state DOT or other outside council; Although no specialty in Title VI, staff is trained and has general familiarity; and Annual refresher courses help staff understand the major aspects of the law. Although most agencies found FHWA and FTA training and resources helpful, several critiqued existing federal guidance, noting issues such as conflicts between the FHWA and the FTA guidance; the âcumbersomeâ nature of FTAâs guidance to MPOs; and the lack of specific âhow- toâ instructions from both agencies, such as how to perform an impact assessment. Planning and Environmental Linkages Descriptions of equity analyses from the planning process that informed project development were not robust, but it is possible that the respondents who participated in the interviews were
B-4 Equity Analysis in Regional Transportation Planning Processes simply not familiar with their agencyâs planning and environmental linkages (PEL) activities. Multiple respondents either said they are not working on PEL or are not sure if their agency is. One agency reported that this is outside of their purview but recognized that it is generally seen as a good practice. Some said their agencies were trying to improve PEL, but none described a clearly defined process. Equity Analysis Process The interviews included discussions of each step in the equity analysis process, beginning with the fundamental element of public involvement planning and implementation, and carrying through the steps of (1) identifying populations for analysis, (2) assessing needs, (3) analyzing relative benefits and burdens, and (4) mitigating inequities. Public Involvement The agencies reported using a wide variety of techniques to involve underserved persons in the planning and decision-making process. Two approaches were consistently regarded to be effective: (1) holding meetings/forums/open houses at community centers, and (2) conducting focus groups and listening sessions with community organizations and agencies. Several agencies discussed the valuable public involvement they achieved through partnerships. The guide will highlight some of these stories, such as the following: The Memphis Urban Area MPO has focused efforts on building internal capacity for inclusive engagement and processes. To study LEP issues, they conducted an internal audit on staff language skills and identified local population groups speaking Spanish, Bengali, Hindi, and French, to whom they made customized outreach efforts. Memphis reported success with real-time surveys at public outreach meetings and a series of YouTube videos in English/Spanish that featured local mayors from underserved communities. The MTC established a Regional Equity Working Group to provide input on all aspects of the MTCâs equity efforts, including technical matters such as establishing the thresholds for designating high-priority areas. This regular engagement not only encouraged communication between community organizations and the MTC, but also between the organizations. The Oregon Metro emphasized the importance of engaging stakeholders early in the equity analysis process. Because their initial analysis was not well received, they worked with community partners to help identify concerns and to make sure they were addressed effectively. This engagement helped encourage buy-in to the final plan. Identifying Populations for Analysis Multiple MPOs mentioned looking for a way to get beyond geographic-based analyses; they study needs and potential impacts of plans on all underserved persons, not simply those people that lived in a census tract with high concentrations of other underserved persons. The MTC noted that about 60% of the low-income population lived outside of the MPOâs geographically-defined underserved communities. The ARC noted that they were dedicating resources to determine how to address their regionâs changing demographics; their interests echoed the observations about the suburbanization of poverty discussed in the âIndicatorsâ section of this report. The MORPC was the only agency in the study that used a population-based analysis, explaining that they didnât think they could draw effective or meaningful geographic boundaries that werenât wanted to use methods for defining populations for analysis that would enable the agency to
Interview Case Studies B-5 arbitrary. They noted that the approach was not difficult for an MPO that maintained an in-house travel-demand model. Identifying Needs and Concerns Aside from the insights gleaned through the discussions of public involvement approaches, the interviews did not reveal much information about the technical process of needs identification. The MTC indicated a desire to start the process with a needs assessment that would help them to identify new indicators for planning analyses that would focus more clearly on the needs of people rather than relying upon metrics for assessing system performance and infrastructure conditions. Assessing Relative Benefits and Burdens Analysis Tools and Indicators All MPOs reported using GIS, and most confirmed that they use a travel-demand model. Most MPOs said it was difficult to determine the ârightâ portfolio of indicators for their analysis, and noted challenges related to continually evaluating the nature and validity of source data. They also noted that measuring current conditions is much simpler than forecasting future impacts. Half of those interviewed indicated that they or partners/stakeholders would like to capture indicators they are currently unable to measure, such as the following: multimodal measures, bicycle access to jobs/essential services via âlow stressâ networks; access to middle-wage jobs; exposure to toxic substances; and displacement. The ARC noted the importance of using community comments, both negative and positive, to develop indicators of key impacts that resonate with underserved persons in the region. Multiple agencies critiqued the current regulatory practices of overlaying projects onto maps of underserved communities, observing that: Location-specific tables and overlays of TIPs onto target areas are limited to roadway projects because transit spending canât really be mapped in the same way; Overlaying spending on maps is not meaningful, but we had to do it to comply with most recent FTA certification; and Public engagement is more meaningful than these mapping exercises. Meaningful indicators that can be tracked fairly easily can sometimes be difficult to interpret due to changing socio-economic conditions. For example, transit accessibility tends to be highest in the dense urban cores of cities, which have traditionally been home to high concentrations of underserved persons. Several respondents observed, however, an increasing suburbanization of poverty in recent years: low-income people were being priced out of revitalized urban neighborhoods and moving to older, first-ring suburbs that have less transit coverage. Others indicated that they are doing well on providing residential areas with high transit access, but receive criticism that the transit service doesnât provide adequate access to desirable employment opportunities in wealthier areas with few underserved persons. Defining Disparate Impacts or DHAE No agency had made a formal finding of disparate impact or DHAE in its final adopted plans or TIP. Some found apparent differences in indicators but, upon further investigation, concluded that these did not translate into disparities. It is possible that some agencies resolved or avoided potential disparities during the planning process, but their approach did not document a systematic approach for anticipating and addressing potential impacts outside of the formal analysis. Some have received criticism from equity advocates about their approach. The MPOs surveyed did not have a uniform approach to determining relative impacts or effects. One MPO said a disparate impact was âlike pornography, weâll know it when we see it.â Another questioned the effectiveness of the traditional approach to âdo no harm;â they were considering
B-6 Equity Analysis in Regional Transportation Planning Processes going beyond this litmus test and assessing the level to which the agencyâs work was improving overall mobility for underserved persons by studying whether these populations are receiving equal benefits from the system as a whole, rather than simply analyzing impacts of a given plan, program, or project. A few examples of agenciesâ analysis methods and experiences are noted below: The MORPC took the approach of comparing plan-related benefits for underserved persons with those for control populations, and digging deeper if the collective benefits were not trending in the same direction for both groups. For example, they saw that their plan would generate fewer improvements in transit access to underserved persons than to other populations. Upon further investigation, they realized the effect was due to expanding service coverage to areas with lower proportions of underserved persons. Although this initially seemed like a disparate impact, the result of the expansion would benefit transit-dependent underserved persons by providing them with a greater range of access to jobs and services throughout the region. This example reveals the importance of resisting the temptation to jump to conclusions based on a narrowly defined threshold or indicator of disparity, and taking the time to consider the causes and effects of plan impacts. The Memphis MPO did a transit gap analysis by comparing transit versus automobile travel times between selected origin-destination zones in their travel-demand model, and overlaying the results on a map of major job centers. The results helped the agency to identify projects that would improve the efficiency of transit accessibility between underserved communities and employment hubs, such as the regionâs first bus rapid transit (BRT) line. MARCâs equity analyses revealed that the monies from a relatively small pool of safety program funds were being spent largely in areas that were not underserved communities. Communities were awarded these funds competitively based on successful applications; the uneven distribution of allocations stemmed from the fact that most applicants were suburban communities with low populations of underserved persons. For the numerous MPOs that manage competitive programs such as these, this story suggests that it may be prudent to examine whether similar disparities are occurring in their regions, and, if so, to consider potential mitigation strategies such as proactively supporting low-resourced communities that find the application process daunting. Mitigating Inequities As noted in the previous section, the agencies studied in the literature review, including the 10 interviewed for this report, did not report having formally found a disproportionate or disparate impact. Several agencies rely on their National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process to identify mitigation opportunities needed during the development of specific projects. Other agencies take more deliberate, proactive approaches to improve regional equity by generating positive outcomes through plans and investments. Most agencies reported having adopted policies or goals related to equity. These ranged from broad vision statements to improve access and equity of transportation systems to specific policy goals such as providing âequitable access to benefits of bicyclingâ or strategies to âadvance racial equity, diversity, and inclusion.â The MAPA, for example, was anticipating a big opportunity to incorporate equity as a guiding principle for transportation decision-making during the forthcoming update of the Regional Equity Profile. Building upon the MARC safety funding program example discussed in the previous section of this report, many MPOs require competitive program applicants to document potential equity impacts/benefits of their proposed projects, usually in the form of a narrative. These qualitative assumptions can be tested and validated through a targeted public engagement approach. Other
Interview Case Studies B-7 techniques for connecting programming decisions and agency actions on equity analyses include the following: The DRCOG sets aside a portion of program funds specifically for underserved communities. The MATPB includes health and equity criteria for awarding funding to TIP projects through a point-based evaluation process. The insights about health disparities gleaned from that process afford the agency a deeper understanding of equity issues. The Memphis MPO has used equity criteria in funding decisions since 2010, and continues to fine tune questions to be more objective. The MORPC runs proposed TIP projects through the travel model to determine which population groups benefit from the proposed project, comparing the relative benefits between groups and to the region as a whole. Their decisions factor in questions about what proportion of those benefiting are underserved persons and how that proportion compares to the regional average proportions. The MTC distributes funding to county congestion management agencies who identify local projects benefiting underserved communities. The agency is striving to ensure the right indicators are used to clearly document that the proposed projects actually benefit low- income populations. MAPAâs Transportation Alternatives Program looks at the prevalence of zero-vehicle households in areas being considered for rail, bicycle and pedestrian projects. MATPBâs transit travel-time analysis led to recommendations of improved transit service such as BRT and low-cost express transit from the cityâs periphery (where most underserved persons reside) to its core. The agency was interested in trying to use its model in some form to conduct similar analyses during annual reviews of proposed service changes. MARCâs analyses found that bicyclists and pedestrians were at greater risk in underserved communities. Upon closer examination, they found that this was because underserved communities tended to be in the urban core and have significantly higher bicycle and pedestrian activity; this increased exposure rate was a major contributor to the higher incident rate. To address this equity issue, they began a traffic safety program for underserved communities and developed intersection countermeasures that local jurisdictions could apply to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety. Advice to Other MPOs Many of the MPOs did not volunteer advice for their peers, but a few did, including the following: The MTC recommended convening a forum at which MPOs could have an open discussion on these topics. The Memphis Urban Area MPO mentioned public engagement strategies that helped them to set a productive tone for meetings and outreach. The geographic distribution of their library system created venues for reaching underserved persons and residents of rural communities who would not otherwise engage in urban planning. Their YouTube channel allowed them to provide resources such as public service announcements and how-to videos on reading the TIP. The MORPC recommended that other MPOs try their population-based analysis approach, which could be adapted by any MPO with an in-house travel-demand model. The ARC felt that the best approach for MPOs to address equity was to inject the regional perspective consistently throughout ongoing project development. This means developing good relationships with advocates and stakeholders through advisory groups and dialogue.
B-8 Equity Analysis in Regional Transportation Planning Processes Questionnaire/Survey Below is the list of questions that were used during these interviews. Those conducive to a survey format were provided to interviewees to submit online in advance of the interviews, which helped the interviewees and the interviewers prepare for the calls. The list served as a general guide, from which the team selected key questions and to which they added customized questions about the agencyâs practices that were identified during the literature review. Technical Capacity Questions What is your agencyâs role with respect to planning and operating the transportation system? Does your agency have any additional functions beyond the typical MPO long-term planning and programming roles? How many staff work for the MPO? How many staff are exclusively dedicated to equity- related activities? What other resources are being used to address equity and measure equity impacts? How familiar are staff at your agency with Title VI case law? Are you familiar with FTA and FHWA guidance on Title VI and EJ? If so, do you find this guidance easy to follow when conducting equity analyses, or are there areas where you need clarification? Analysis Questions At what stage(s) of the planning and programming process does your agency conduct equity analyses? (key documents/stages could include Public Participation Plan, unified planning work program, Long-Range Plan, TIP, system performance evaluation reports, and certifications of compliance with Title VI) How do these analyses inform the process/product for which they are conducted? Are there specific challenges, issues, or concerns that your agency is particularly focused on addressing when it conducts an equity analysis of the MTP/TIP? How does your agency address equity in funding decisions? For example - equity measures in TIP project selection criteria, public engagement process for TIP adoption, etc. Have you been able to make any PEL (e.g., anticipating or addressing potential equity- related issues that could arise during a future NEPA process, and/or utilizing datasets and tools to support both planning and NEPA stages)? What indicators have you chosen to conduct equity analyses? How did you select those indicators? Are there indicators that you or your stakeholders would like to be able to capture, but are currently unable to? What data and tools do you use to analyze these indicators? What datasets and tools work well? What would you like to improve? How do you define high-priority areas within your service area? How do you identify the needs of low-income and minority populations as directed by EJ directives? Do you assess needs for populations or communities above and beyond the required populations? If so, what do you look at?
Interview Case Studies B-9 What, if anything, would you like to improve about your identification process to make it more meaningful and/or inclusive? Decision-Making Process Questions Has your agency adopted policies or goals related to equity? Does your agency have a policy defining what constitutes a disparate impact? If so, please describe it. If not, how do you define a disparate impact for the purpose of equity analyses? Can you describe your agencyâs working relationships with transit agencies, local governments, and other stakeholders? How do these relationships affect your approach to equity? Are transit agencies active on your agencyâs technical committees or policy boards? How do you engage transit agencies in planning for multimodal networks, accessibility, and connectivity? How are you engaging rural areas in your planning process, such as small communities and unincorporated areas that may be interspersed throughout the metropolitan region? What public participation approaches have you found effective in engaging underserved communities? What approaches havenât worked so well? Have you, the public, or the federal government found that any decisions your agency has made resulted in a disparate impact on underserved persons? If so, how did you resolve it? For example, did you revise the plan or program before final adoption? What happened during that process? Have any of the other transportation agencies in your region made a finding of disparate impact? What happened during that process? Wrap up Questions What are your current and upcoming activities relating to planning and equity analyses? Are there any opportunities for pilot testing our draft guidance in support of your efforts? Are there stakeholders within your region or other MPOs that you recommend we interview? Do you have any suggestions for peer MPOs, other agencies, and/or noteworthy practices and tools to include in our research?
B-10 Equity Analysis in Regional Transportation Planning Processes Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) Agency Context The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) is a large MPO serving 4,818,000 people. In addition to serving as the regionâs MPO, the ARC also provides the following services to the area: the ten-county Area Agency on Aging, the seven-county Workforce Development Agency, 10-county Regional Economic Development Agency/Regional Commission; 24-county North Georgia Metro Water Planning District; and a seven-county homeland security planning group. The ARC has 200 staff members, 25 working for the MPO, approximately 5 of whom had equity-related analyses as part of their core job responsibilities. The ARC partnered with several different types of organizations to get support for equity-related activities, including transit providers, college/university departments or research centers, nonprofit organizations, local/regional government agencies, and state government agencies. Universities can be useful for conducting research when a lead professorâs topical areas of interest align with those of the MPO. The ARC has found the following resources to be helpful as they conduct equity analyses: Online courses (National Highway Institute, National Transit Institute, etc.); In-Person/Instructor-led courses (National Highway Institute, National Transit Institute, etc.); FHWA and/or FTA guidebooks (e.g., FTA circulars on Title VI and environmental justice); FHWA and/or FTA workshops/peer exchanges; Transportation Research Board reports/meetings; and Professional association reports/meetings. Equity Analysis Process The ARC conducts equity analyses as part of its Long-Range Plan, Public Participation Plan, TIP, system performance evaluation reports, and Title VI compliance. In addition to incorporating equity analysis in its quantitative and planning work, the ARC says it is considering various agency policies and practices from an equitable perspective (including development of an agency âequity playbookâ). Public Involvement In a survey of public involvement effectiveness, the ARC listed the following approaches as very effective in engaging underserved persons: Public meetings/forums/open houses at neighborhood centers (schools, community centers, branch libraries, etc.); Meetings held on weekday evenings; Meetings held on weekends; and Focus groups/listening sessions with community service organizations/agencies. The Long-Range Planâs Appendix K describes the ARCâs public involvement process, including a series of workshops targeting equity issues called the âBuilding Opportunity Workshop Series.â Case Study at a Glance State(s) Serviced: Georgia MPO Size: 25 MPO Service Population: 4,818,000 Tools & Models Used: GIS Innovative Practice: Equitable Target Area identifies high-priority underserved communities
Interview Case Studies B-11 The ARC partnered with a local non-profit, Partnership for Southern Equity, as a trusted community voice to help with outreach. Workshops included the following: A September 2014 Equitable Target Area Workshop where over 60 âcivic & non-profit leaders, equity stakeholders and locally elected officials, including previous Social Equity Committee members as well as members of the Poverty Equity Opportunity Committee, convened to share specific policy suggestions and feedback on the Equitable Target Area Index methodology and mapsâ discussed below. A January 2015 Workshop on Poverty and Transportation Access with over 175 attendees at a speech (Rebecca Burns of Atlanta Magazine) and panel discussion (Keith Parker, MARTA; Michael Rich, Emory Center for Community Partnerships; and Nathaniel Smith, Partnership for Southern Equity), where participants had an opportunity to give their suggestions for moving the region forward. An April 2015 workshop on âLivability Through an Equitable Lensâ â ARC worked with a local arts organization, The Creatives Project, to highlight key issues of community development and livability through personal portraits and stories of individuals living in local neighborhoods. Approximately 30 people participated in this discussion, providing feedback which was translated into policy suggestions. A September 2015 event at which a non-profit from Durham, NC, delivered a keynote on the economic challenges facing youth in the South and over 100 people participated in discussion groups. A January 2016 event at which the Center for Social Inclusion in New York City shared tips for community-based planning initiatives, and attendees responded with their feedback. They were also invited to participate in an evaluation of the ARCâs outreach efforts throughout the development of the Atlanta Regionâs Plan. The ARC said these workshops were critical in addressing equity and in updating their methodology and policy. They led to the creation of advisory groups that meet every other month to provide advice to decision makers and helped ARC improve its definition of âequity.â Identifying Populations for Analysis The ARC has analyzed the impacts of its activities on low-income and minority groups. The ARC used a geographic profile to identify âEquitable Target Areasâ (ETAs) using an ETA Index as follows: 1. For each census tract, measure five indicators: the percentage of the population that (i) is in poverty, (ii) identifies as African-American, (iii) identifies as Asian, (iv) identifies as Hispanic, or (v) identifies as another Non-White race (Figure B-1). 2. For each indicator, use standard deviations to group the census tracts into Categories 1, 2, or 3. a. Category 1: Census tracts where the percentage of the indicator population exceeds the highest standard deviation. b. Category 2: Census tracts where the percentage is between the second highest and highest standard deviation. c. Category 3: Census tracts where the percentage falls below the second highest standard deviation. 3. Determine an overall race/ethnicity category for each census tract by using each tractâs highest categorization among the race/ethnicity indicators. In other words, if a census tract was Category 1 for Asian and Category 3 for all other race/ethnicity categories, then that tract is Category 1 for race/ethnicity.
B-12 Equity Analysis in Regional Transportation Planning Processes 4. Determine each census tractâs overall ETA Index Category of Very High, High, Medium, or non-ETA (Figure B-2). Variable Category 1 Category 2 Category 3 Poverty 86%-34% 33%-22% 21%-0 African-American 98%-80% 79%-50% 50%-0 Hispanic 92%-40% 39%-28% 28%-0 Asian 46%-13% 12%-7% 7%-0 Other Non-White 7%-4% 3.9%-3% 2.9%-0 Source: ARC (2016a), The Atlanta Regionâs Plan, Appendix J, âEquitable Target Area Methodologyâ Figure B-1. ARC equitable target area methodology by standard deviation categories. ETA Index Categories Poverty Category Race Category ETA Index 1 1 Very High 2 High 3 2 1 Medium 2 3 3 1 Non-ETA 2 Source: ARC (2016a), The Atlanta Regionâs Plan, Appendix J, âEquitable Target Area Methodologyâ Figure B-2. ARC equitable target area index categories.
Interview Case Studies B-13 The ETA allows the ARC to focus on underserved communities that face more severe disadvantages where a more targeted analysis is warranted, as shown in Figure B-3. The areas scoring as Very High, High, and Medium on the ETA Index contain 22% of the ARCâs population, whereas areas with the very highest disadvantage have just under 5% of the population. Source: ARC (2018) Figure B-3. Percentage of the Atlanta regionâs population in each ETA category. This approach results in a distribution of ETA tracts in the ARC region (Figure B-4): Source: ARC (2016a), The Atlanta Regionâs Plan Figure B-4. ETA Index by census tract.
B-14 Equity Analysis in Regional Transportation Planning Processes Identifying Needs and Concerns The ARCâs Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) appendix discussing the ETAs mapped out several indicators that show gaps in transit access in ETA areas. The ARC overlays its maps of underserved communities with transit travel-time buffers around services: 60-minute access to grade schools, higher education, hospitals, and libraries, and 30-minute access to grocery stores. In addition to the data and tools used to assess the planâs impacts (listed below), the ARC used travel-demand models and traffic simulation models to create these maps. Buffers The ARC maps 0.5-mile buffers (as the crow flies) around certain amenities to point out areas with little access. Transit Travel Sheds The ARC used Open Trip Planner Analyst, which uses transit schedule information and route- finding algorithms, to create transit travel sheds based on trip duration times. The ARC created transit sheds around services: grade schools, grocery stores, higher education, hospitals, and libraries. Travel durations for the transit sheds are 60 minutes except for grocery stores, which are 30 minutes. Each travel shed includes about 0.5 miles walking distance. Travel sheds assume a 9 AM weekday departure time and may be smaller at other times of day or weekends. Figure B-5 shows transit sheds within ETAs; the portions of ETAs shown in gray cannot use transit to get to that service within the defined time period. Source: ARC (2016a), The Atlanta Regionâs Plan Figure B-5. Transit and travel walking shed to grocery stores.
Interview Case Studies B-15 Entry-Level Jobs The agency also mapped the location of low-wage jobs against areas with transit access. Most are outside of ETAs and may not have good transit access (see Figure B-6). Source: ARC (2016a), The Atlanta Regionâs Plan Figure B-6. Transit and low-wage jobs accessibility from ETAs. Assessing Relative Benefits and Burdens Tools and Data Used GIS U.S. Census, American Community Survey (ACS) Excel Statistical packages Open Trip Planner Analyst Indicators Selected The ARC looked at project distribution and distribution of financial commitments with underserved communities and other communities.
B-16 Equity Analysis in Regional Transportation Planning Processes Analysis Process Using GIS, census data, and the projects from the Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP) and TIP, the ARC overlays a map of project locations onto a map of underserved communities. They then compare the number of projects and costs for all projects between the two areas. Defining Disparate or Disproportionate Impacts Using the analysis process described, the ARC found that one-half of planned investments from their RTP directly affected underserved communities and over two-thirds of the financial commitment to significant projects in the region were within or directly adjacent to underserved communities. This led the ARC to conclude that underserved communities, which comprised 12% of the regionâs land and 22% of the population, saw an increased number of projects and funding compared to the general population. However, the analysis notes that the mere presence of transportation projects and funding within underserved communities does not necessarily correspond with meeting the needs of the underserved persons or those communities. Some projects have had strong opposition from the community. In those cases, the project impact was reviewed and revised before implementation. Mitigating Inequities The ARC has not identified any disproportionate impact of the plans and programs that it has analyzed, but is taking other measures to mitigate or prevent inequities: The ARC has an equity goal that guides its plan: âPromote an accessible and equitable transportation system.â The agency also has a board-adopted Title VI Plan and Program which also addresses equity goals. In project selection, projects receive points for improving accessibility to job centers. The criteria also measures equity and public engagement scores to influence a more objective project selection process. The ARC has a Transportation Equity Advisory Group that includes transit agencies. Lessons Learned and Noteworthy Practices Key lessons learned from this case study include: An ETA Index can be useful to identify the geographic areas that have multiple kinds of underserved persons. Almost a quarter of the ARCâs service population lives in areas that qualify as ETA areas. By creating a tiered system, the ARC attempted to identify geographic areas that were most at risk. Mapping accessibility and transportation service buffers can show where underserved communities experience gaps in service. These buffer maps could then be used in project selection to ensure that gaps are reduced over time. Resources Interview with and survey responses from the ARCâs Communications, Marketing, Community Engagement Principal. ARC. 2016a. The Atlanta Regionâs Plan. Retrieved from: http://atlantaregionsplan.com/ regional-transportation-plan/. ARC. 2016b. 2016â2021 TIP. Retrieved from: http://www.atlantaregional.com/ transportation/transportation-improvement-program.
Interview Case Studies B-17 Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) Agency Context The Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) is a medium-sized MPO serving the Denver metropolitan region, which includes Boulder. In addition to its MPO duties, the DRCOG also serves as the regional planning commission and the Area Agency on Aging. The MPO has 20 staff members, including three who conduct equity-related analysis as part of their core job responsibilities. The DRCOG uses the phrase âequityâ to refer to geographic parity (i.e., funds are distributed equally throughout the region). The DRCOG uses the term âenvironmental justiceâ to refer to issues related to underserved persons. The DRCOG has strong working relationships with the Regional Transit District (RTD) and the Colorado Department of Transportation (Colorado DOT). Each agency serves on the othersâ committees and they are well coordinated. The DRCOG also partners with the Denver Regional Mobility and Access Council (DRMAC), which serves as a coordinating body primarily for human service transportation providers in the region, and there is a seat reserved for the DRCOG on the DRMAC board. The DRMAC partnership provides insight into the needs of other underserved populations (e.g., the elderly). Equity Analysis Process The DRCOG has conducted equity analysis as part of its Long-Range Plan. The MPO is interested in receiving more coordinated guidance from FHWA/FTA and the state DOT regarding equity analysis, especially related to planning and environmental linkages (PEL). Public Involvement The DRCOG has used a range of strategies to engage underserved persons in the planning process. In a survey of public involvement effectiveness, DRCOG reported that conducting focus groups or listening sessions with community service organizations/agencies is a very effective engagement strategy. The DRCOG has found several strategies to be somewhat effective, including: public meetings held at central government centers and neighborhood centers; and meetings held on weekday evenings and during weekdays (e.g., at lunchtime). To gather input, the DRCOG has found interactive workshop formats (e.g., gaming exercises, charrettes), online survey tools, and visualizations to be somewhat effective. For communication, the DRCOG has found social media and agency emails to community organizations and individuals to be somewhat effective as well. The DRCOGâs Public Participation Plan identifies partnerships as being a critical strategy to engaging underserved persons. In addition to the DRMAC and the RTD, the MPO found a key partner in a local non-profit organization, the Transit Alliance, in engaging underserved persons in transportation decision making. The Transit Alliance conducted a Citizensâ Academy program to empower citizens on how to participate in the transportation planning process. The Citizensâ Academy is a 7-week program that trains participants on topics such as multimodal transportation, mobility, infrastructure investments, and community development. Participants are encouraged to develop a personal action plan to address a transportation need or issue in their communities. In Case Study at a Glance State(s) Serviced: Colorado MPO Size: 20 MPO Service Population: 2,798,757 Tools & Models Used: GIS, Travel-Demand Model Innovative Practice: Proximity Analysis; Citizensâ Academy
B-18 Equity Analysis in Regional Transportation Planning Processes 2017, Transit Alliance held its 23rd Academy, and, over the years, roughly one-third of the program graduates have later served in the region in a volunteer or elected positionâincluding on the DRCOG board. The DRCOG partnered with the Transit Alliance to encourage stakeholder engagement from underserved persons around the development of the Northwest Corridor to enhance multimodal connections between Denver and Boulder. The Transit Alliance developed a one-day Corridor Academy to focus on the rail and bus rapid transit (BRT) corridors in the study. The primary focus of the Corridor Academy was to engage underserved persons, including low-income, minority, and LEP individuals. The Transit Allianceâs Citizensâ Academy is recognized as a good strategy for civic engagement, and the model is being replicated in other cities, including Houston, Texas, and Nashville, Tennessee. After many years helping to shape the discussion about transit and transportation development in the region, the Transit Alliance closed its doors in January 2018. Before doing so, its leadership approached the DRCOG about the possibility of allowing the Citizensâ Academy to live on. As a longtime partner in and contributor to the Citizensâ Academy, the DRCOG agreed to organize and host, and are looking forward to continuing this important work. Identifying Populations for Analysis The DRCOG has analyzed the impact of the Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP) on racial subgroups, ethnic subgroups, foreign-born populations, persons with disabilities, veterans, the elderly (over 65), children, low-income households, households below the poverty level, individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP), and zero-vehicle households. The thresholds used to determine whether an area is considered an underserved community are: TAZs in which more than 33% (regional average) of the population is classified as minority, and TAZs in which more than 11% (regional average) of households have an income below the HHS poverty guidelines. The DRCOG developed an online tool to better understand the spatial relationship between planning issues (transportation, housing, food access, etc.) and demographic and economic distribution within the region. The Equity Atlas tool allows the layering of maps to illustrate areas of high and low access to opportunity (see Figure B-7). The tool includes overlays related to underserved communities, based on race/ethnicity and income. While DRCOG does not use the Equity Atlas as an evaluation tool, it is available online for practitioners and community members to utilizeâhelping to encourage the consideration of equity in local planning efforts and foster public engagement.
Interview Case Studies B-19 Shown: Non-white populations map layer Source: DRCOG (n.d.), Equity Atlas Figure B-7. DRCOG Equity Atlas. Identifying Needs and Concerns The DRCOGâs 2040 Long-Range Plan includes many projects, services and policies that will improve transportation for people living in underserved communities and especially for those unable to use an automobile to travel. It will also provide a system that connects people with a greater number of job opportunities via convenient commutes. Coordinated Transit Plan The needs of underserved persons were also considered specifically as a part of the development of the Coordinated Transit Plan to identify needs related to general public transit and human service transportation. The DRCOG analyzed the various populations that make up their underserved communities and discussed the transportation impacts and challenges they face related to transit. The DRCOG also partnered with the DRMAC to hold a forum for stakeholders and the public to provide input on this issue. Assessing Relative Benefits and Burdens Tools Used GIS Travel-demand model Indicator Selected The primary indicator selected was proximity of proposed transportation project with respect to underserved communities.
B-20 Equity Analysis in Regional Transportation Planning Processes Proximity Analysis To assess the potential impact of the projects in the MTP, the DRCOG conducted a proximity analysis to examine the distribution of fiscally constrained regionally funded projects in relation to underserved communities. The DRCOG overlaid a map of the fiscally constrained projects over a map of traffic analysis zones (TAZs) meeting the thresholds the agency had set for identifying underserved communities (Figure B-8). Proximity was determined by whether the project touches or goes through a relevant TAZ. This analysis approach measures relative distribution, not connectivity or accessibility between the underserved communities and the infrastructure. The analysis determined that the negative impacts of the proposed projects would be distributed across the region. Furthermore, vehicle miles traveled would increase more in areas outside of underserved communities. Based on proximity, negative impacts of the transportation projects (e.g., construction effects and right-of-way acquisitions) would be associated with the improvements and are not disproportionately located in low-income communities and minority communities. The analysis found that no new major facilities planned would create new barriers to minority areas and low-income areas because the plan primarily focuses on improving existing road and rail corridors with only a few new roads proposed. Source: DRCOG (2017) Figure B-8. Fiscally constrained regionally funded projects and EJ areas.
Interview Case Studies B-21 Current Initiatives and Aspirations The 2018â2021 Transportation Improvement Program incorporates equity considerations into the programming process. Project sponsors are prompted to identify whether a project was in an underserved community and provide a narrative description of the benefit(s) to the surrounding or adjacent underserved community. Additionally, the DRCOG is expanding the scope of equity considerations in its Title VI and Public Participation Plans to include LEP considerations. Resources DRCOG. 2017. 2040 Metro Vision Regional Transportation Plan. Retrieved from: https://drcog.org/sites/default/files/resources/FINAL%20- %202040%20MVRTP%20w%20APPENDICES%20-%20April%202017.pdf. DRCOG. 2011. Metro Vision 2035. Retrieved from: https://drcog.org/planning-great- region/metro-vision/metro-vision-2035. DRCOG. 2010. Public Participation Plan. Retrieved from: https://drcog.org/sites/drcog/files/resources/FINAL%20DRCOG%20Public%20Involvement %20in%20Regional%20Transportation%20Planning%20Adopted%20April%202010.pdf. DRCOG. 2016. Coordinated Transit Plan. Retrieved from: https://drcog.org/sites/drcog/files/resources/C1-DRAFT%20Transit%20Coord%20Plan- TAC%20Jan%202016.pdf. DRCOG. n.d. Equity Atlas. Available at: http://www.denverregionalequityatlas.org/.
B-22 Equity Analysis in Regional Transportation Planning Processes Madison Area Transportation Planning Board (MATPB) Agency Context The Madison Area Transportation Planning Board (MATPB) is a medium-sized MPO serving the Madison Metropolitan Planning Area, which consists of the City of Madison and all or portions of 27 neighboring cities, villages, and towns. In addition to serving as the regionâs MPO, the MATPB also provides the following services to the area: assistance to rural and unincorporated areas outside the MPOâs boundaries; transportation demand management activities; preparing transportation analyses of urban sewer service area amendments; and some assistance with local planning activities. The MATPB has eight staff members, three of whom conduct equity-related analyses as part of their core job responsibilities. The MATPB has a strong working relationship with Metro Transit (Metro), the regionâs transit provider, as well as member jurisdictions, including the City of Madison and the Wisconsin DOT. The MATPBâs relationship with Metro extends to advisory and governance of the MATPB itself, with Metroâs planning director serving on the agencyâs planning committee and Metroâs general manager serving on its policy board. Additionally, the MATPB has partnered with the University of Wisconsin Survey Center, based locally at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, to conduct supplemental travel surveys to aid the MPOâs equity analysis efforts. Equity Analysis Process The MATPB conducts equity analyses as part of their Long-Range Plan, Public Participation Plan, TIP, and notably, for mode-specific plans like the regionâs Bicycle Transportation Plan. The MATPB has made recent efforts at planning and environmental linkages (PEL) by performing equity analyses at the corridor study level. The MATPB acknowledges that conducting robust equity analyses in the planning phase would better inform potential project impacts; however, the agency states that one of the challenges of doing equity analyses at the planning level is the uncertainty regarding project details, which makes impacts uncertain (e.g., the specific alignment of a bikeway in an underserved community). Public Involvement In a survey of public involvement effectiveness, the MATPB noted that focus groups and listening sessions with community organizations and agencies were among the most effective public outreach strategies, as were targeted emails and online survey tools. The agency had only modest success with social media, and found events held at government centers or on weekday evenings to be the least effective among their public involvement efforts. Figure B-9 depicts the public engagement phases that are part of the MATPBâs ongoing RTP 2050 planning process. Case Study at a Glance State(s) Serviced: Wisconsin MPO Size: 8 MPO Service Population: 434,438 Tools & Models Used: GIS, travel-demand model Innovative Practice: Nuanced discussion of project impacts on equity and measures to mitigate disparities
Interview Case Studies B-23 Source: MATPB (internal document provided during interview) Figure B-9. Public engagement approach for the RTP 2050 update. The MATPBâs 2015 Public Participation Plan (PPP) and Public Participation Evaluation 2017 (PPE) report reveal that: Of the total MATPB planning area population of 435,430, the minority population is around 17%, whereas the low-income population within the area is around 18%. Populations with LEP represent approximately 5% of the Madison urbanized areaâs population (roughly half of this population are Spanish speakers). The MATPB notes that the regionâs minority and low-income populations are fairly geographically dispersed, but that there are some concentrations of these populations within the city of Madison. In addition to the above populations, the MATPB includes the elderly, persons with a disability, and zero-vehicle households, who represent approximately 10% of the regionâs population, as additional target population groups for public involvement efforts and transportation need assessments. In order to better reach these populations, the MATPB maintains a contact list of organizations representing or working with them. Regarding public involvement outreach strategies to these target populations, the PPP notes that: The MATPB will identify representatives of minority, disability, and low-income groups and an effort will be made to include them on the Citizen Advisory Committee and in MPO mailings. Whenever possible, the MATPB will hold meetings at locations accessible to persons with a disability, bus riders, and bicyclists, and that are convenient to neighborhoods with a concentration of minority and low-income persons. Translators/interpreters will be provided for meetings by the MATPB, if requested. Information, including a Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) and other plan/study meeting notices and press releases, will be provided by the MATPB to minority news media. For the RTP and other selected meetings, the MATPB will distribute digital format announcement flyers in English and Spanish via email to the MPOâs email list and to special interest groups representing minority and low-income populations. The MATPB will utilize available resources, such as Madison365 (a new nonprofit media enterprise intended to keep greater Madisonâs underserved persons informed about events, programs, etc.). The PPP notes that extra effort must be made to reach those traditionally underserved in these processes. The MATPB looks to the diversity of meeting participants and avenues used to reach underserved persons as the primary metrics to gauge the success of these efforts.
B-24 Equity Analysis in Regional Transportation Planning Processes Despite the above efforts, the MATPB had little success in engaging these underserved persons. Meetings held in areas with significant concentrations of low-income and minority populations, including one held at a community recreation center, had no representation from these groups. Although attendance from members of the MATPBâs RTP Advisory Committee was high at these meetings, it should be noted that minority representation was lacking on this committee. Page 14 of the MATPBâs PPE contains a matrix evaluating the efficacy of the agencyâs public involvement techniques. Of the strategies employed, the MATPB notes that public involvement materials; coordination with other planning efforts and activities; and surveys were the most effective techniques to engage the areaâs minority and low-income populations. Identifying Populations for Analysis The MATPB has analyzed the impacts of future transportation investment plans and programming on racial subgroups, ethnic subgroups, low-income households, and zero-vehicle households. The MATPB classifies low-income households as those below 150% of the federal poverty level. For both low-income and zero-vehicle households, the MATPB uses the traffic analysis zone (TAZ) as the geographic unit of analysis, and in the case of RTP 2035, the agency used 2000 Census data to locate these populations. To identify concentrations of minority populations, the MATPB uses the census block as the geographic unit of analysis along with 2010 Census data. The thresholds used to identify concentrations of low-income, zero-vehicle, and minority populations are 1.5 or 2 to 3+ times the regional average concentration of these populations within the given geographical unit. Identifying Needs and Concerns RTP 2035âs equity element states that almost all of the regionâs underserved communities are served with complete coverage by Metro. The exception is the east Sun Prairie area, which is served by a shared-ride taxi system. However, many of Madisonâs low-income neighborhoods are spread around the urban periphery in isolated pockets, which has proven challenging from a transit service standpoint. The MATPB asserts that, relative to their density, residents of underserved communities in Madison have good transit options, but the intended destinations for a majority of individuals in these areas are crosstown trips to locations such as suburban activity centers that the transit system is not set up to serve as well. RTP 2035 recommends the implementation of high- capacity rapid transit service that would substantially improve transit service to many low-income communities and minority communities. Additionally, partnerships with Metro and the City of Madison led to a bus stop improvement study to analyze bus stop amenities, ADA and pedestrian accessibility, and other options for improving bus stops. To supplement the National Household Travel Survey data, MATPB contracted with the University of Wisconsin Survey Center (UWSC). The UWSC survey over-sampled in areas with high minority population and households in poverty with kids or seniors to provide a rich set of baseline data on current travel patterns for these groups. Using this travel survey data, MATPB conducted a mode split and travel-time analysis by race, ethnicity, and income, finding differences as high as 30% when comparing rates of travel to work alone between White, Non-Hispanic residents and residents below the federal poverty line. As a whole, minority groups were found to have somewhat longer travel times to work than White, Non-Hispanic residents of the area. The primary alternative transportation modes for work travel used by minority residents and low-
Interview Case Studies B-25 income residents of the region were carpooling, transit, and walking. The MATPB largely attributes this travel-time disparity to higher use of cars/vanpools and buses among these groups. Using the regional travel-demand model, the MATPB compared peak and off-peak period transit travel time between underserved communities and major regional activity centers. The agency found that transit travel times between underserved communities and major employment and retail centers were generally long when compared to driving. However, the bulk of Metro ridership during peak travel periods is toward the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus area, and some origin-destination (O/D) pairs between these areas are competitive with drive times. As expected, off-peak and weekend travel between underserved communities and activity centers demonstrate longer travel times. Likewise, O/D pairs from peripheral underserved communities and suburban activity centers were found to have long service headways and travel times. As noted above, the MATPBâs transit travel-time analysis led to recommendations of improved transit service such as BRT and low-cost express transit that would serve underserved persons located on the urban periphery. Assessing the Relative Benefits and Burdens GIS Analysis Using the above demographic and socio-economic criteria to identify regional underserved communities, the MATPB performed a GIS analysis of planned and programmed transportation investments on these populations. This involved overlaying RTP 2035 and Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) projects on TAZs with concentrations of these groups above the chosen thresholds. Qualitative Analysis Using the GIS overlay maps, the MATPB conducted qualitative project-level analyses of planned and programmed transportation investments in underserved communities. Given that the vast majority of Madisonâs transportation investment funding is for maintenance, much of this assessment focuses on the positive and negative impacts of standard upkeep and new construction. For example, the MATPB contends that while roadway preservation projects may negatively impact adjacent underserved communities during construction phases through increased dust and noise, they conclude that improvements to local pavement and traffic conditions would likely produce a net positive benefit for these communities. The MATPB sees this as especially true for preservation and safety projects with accompanying pedestrian/bicycle and streetscape improvements that improve non-motorized accessibility for underserved persons, and names eight such projects in RTP 2035 (see Figure B-10). Additionally, RTP 2035 includes eight planned and programmed off-street bicycle/pedestrian facility projects in or near underserved communities, with the MATPB stating that these projects will âgreatly improve non-motorized accessibility and strengthen the social fabric of these neighborhoodsâ (MATPB 2012).
B-26 Equity Analysis in Regional Transportation Planning Processes Source: MATPB (2012) Figure B-10. Underserved communities relative to planned and programmed roadway preservation and bikeway projects. The MATPB categorizes these qualitative analyses by capacity expansion (roadway), non- capacity expansion (roadway), and pedestrian/bicycle projects. Much of MATPBâs focus has been on pedestrian, bicycle, and transit facilities and services because those are the more affordable modes of transportation. Given the Madison planning areaâs relatively small size, MATPB staff stated that auto accessibility was less of a concern and saw limited benefit in conducting auto accessibility analyses. When asked about the level of effort required to perform these quantitative analyses, MATPB staff stated that it was not high but that an attempt to quantify impact per dollar would entail a considerably more substantial effort. Mitigating Inequities In RTP 2035, the only major state roadway capacity expansion project in the MPO planning area is the Verona Road and West Beltline project. This project includes construction of one interchange, reconstruction of two interchanges, and the widening of an arterial roadway. Impacted neighborhoods in the project corridor include a high concentration of underserved persons. The MATPB states that these improvements would have both positive and negative impacts on these communities, with the most significant impacts occurring during a later freeway conversion phase that is not recommended as part of the current plan. The recommended improvements to this corridor have incorporated specific design features to âmitigate the adverse impacts by increasing
Interview Case Studies B-27 neighborhood connectivity, decreasing neighborhood traffic problems, and minimizing direct impacts.â These mitigating design features include a grade-separated crossing of Verona Road; the construction of a new pedestrian/bicycle underpass and other pedestrian/bicycle facilities; and various roadway segments that increase local connectivity. As part of this effort, the Wisconsin DOT funded a physical improvement plan for the affected neighborhood to plan for residential and commercial redevelopment, and to add other improvements such as traffic calming devices and lighting. RTP 2035 further recommends that the Wisconsin DOT and the City of Madison continue efforts to minimize and mitigate impacts on the area and stimulate accessibility and development initiatives including affordable housing for area residents. The MATPB also mentions that a relatively high proportion of the other roadway projects and off-street bicycle projects that benefit neighborhoods in these corridors are located in or near identified underserved communities. In addition to the above project, RTP 2035 includes several major environmental impact studies of state highway corridors that could eventually result in impacts to underserved communities, depending on the improvements recommended (see Figure B-11). Source: MATPB (2012), Regional Transportation Plan 2035 Figure B-11. Underserved communities relative to planned and programmed highway capacity changes and transit corridor studies. The MATPBâs Performance Measures Report, started in 2016, checks progress on equity goals and project impacts on an annual basis using existing and desired trend lines. Additionally, because pedestrian, bicycle, and transit modes of transportation are the most affordable, the MATPB uses accessibility of underserved communities to these projects as a scoring criteria (12% of points awarded for Surface Transportation Block Grants). Quantifying these accessibility scores would bolster this effort. The MATPB also includes health and equity criteria for awarding funding to TIP projects through a point-based evaluation process. MATPB staff noted that the insights about health disparities gleaned from that process afforded the agency a deeper understanding of equity issues.
B-28 Equity Analysis in Regional Transportation Planning Processes Lessons Learned and Noteworthy Practices Key lessons learned from this case study include: Strong partnerships with local agencies, governments, and universities, including the University of Wisconsin Survey Center, allowed for a better understanding of existing conditions and needs. The MATPB employed standard approaches to analyzing mode split, travel time, and the location of planned and programmed investments relative to underserved communities. However, their qualitative assessment of relative benefits and burdens at the project level provided an extra level of depth with little additional investment of resources. This approach is a departure from the geographical distribution of TIP funding approach often employed by MPOs, but it is perhaps more meaningful in that it qualitatively evaluates the efficacy of investments with respect to these populationsâ needs and constraints rather than assuming that all investments in underserved communities are beneficial regardless of their nature. The MATPBâs transit travel-time analysis led to recommendations of improved transit service such as BRT and low-cost express transit to serve underserved persons on the urban periphery. The agency has been in consultation to develop a tool that will allow them to measure bicycle âlevel of stressâ and transit accessibility while accounting for planned improvements. The MATPBâs introduction of equity-focused performance measures provides historical trend lines in underserved communities and will help increase transparency and accountability in these key areas. The MATPB includes health and equity criteria for awarding funding to TIP projects through a point-based evaluation process. The insights about health disparities gleaned from that process afforded the agency a deeper understanding of equity issues. Resources MATPB. March 2012. Regional Transportation Plan 2035: Environmental Justice Analysis. Retrieved from: http://www.madisonareampo.org/planning/documents/Environmental Justice_001.pdf. MATPB. 2015a. Bicycle Transportation Plan for the Madison Metropolitan Area and Dane County 2015. Retrieved from: http://www.madisonareampo.org/planning/documents/ Final_BTP_2015_web.pdf. MATPB. September 2015b. Public Participation Plan. Retrieved from: http://www.madison areampo.org/planning/documents/Final_PPP_2015_web.pdf. MATPB. 2016. Performance Measures Report. Retrieved from: http://www.madisonarea mpo.org/planning/documents/performance_measures_report_final_raster.pdf. MATPB. 2017a. Madison Metropolitan Area and Dane County Transportation Improvement Program 2017â2021: Attachment D: Environmental Justice Analysis of the 2018â2022 Transportation Improvement Program. Retrieved from: http://www.madisonareampo.org/ planning/improvementprogram.cfm. MATPB. 2017b. The Madison Area Transportation Planning Board Public Participation Evaluation. Retrieved from: http://madisonareampo.org/documents/ ppe_2016.pdf.
Interview Case Studies B-29 Memphis Urban Area MPO Agency Context The Memphis Urban Area MPO is a medium-sized organization serving the Greater Memphis region. The MPOâs service area includes all of Shelby County and the western portion of Fayette County in Tennessee, as well as the entire DeSoto County and northwestern portion of Marshall County in Mississippi. The Memphis Urban Area MPO does not conduct any functions beyond the federally required MPO responsibilities associated with long-term planning and programming. The MPO has eight staff members, four of whom conduct equity-related analyses as part of their core job duties. The Memphis Urban Area MPOâs equity-related activities are supported by strong working relationships with local stakeholders, including the Memphis Center for Independent Living (a non-profit organization that addresses mobility and accessibility issues), and the local advocacy group Latino Memphis. Equity Analysis Process The Memphis Urban Area MPO strives to conduct equity analysis at each stage of the planning and programming processâincluding the development of the Public Participation Plan (PPP), Long-Range Plan, and Transportation Improvement Plan. The MPO also conducts equity analysis as part of its Title VI compliance. The demographic and geographic characteristics of the Memphis region have presented some unique equity challenges that the MPO has had to address. The areaâs demographic make-up is primarily split between Black and White populations; however, there is a small but growing Hispanic population. Additionally, the service also includes rural communities in western Tennessee. The Memphis Urban Area MPO has developed public involvement strategies to ensure that needs and concerns of Hispanic and rural communities are considered in equity analyses. Public Involvement The Memphis Urban Area MPO conducted extensive public involvement for the development of the current Long-Range Plan, LIVABILITY 2040 Regional Transportation Plan, including using new strategies to promote and facilitate the meetings. The MPO advertised public meeting on ads on Memphis Area Transit Authority buses, and also developed a series of YouTube videos to roll out the public participation effort (see Figure B-12). The videos featured mayors from jurisdictions around the region (urban, suburban, and rural). These videos were played at the opening of the public meetings to help elicit interest and excitement about the planning process. Case Study at a Glance State(s) Serviced: Tennessee and Mississippi MPO Size: 8 MPO Service Population: 1,077,697 Tools & Models Used: GIS, Excel, Travel-demand model MPO Documents with EJ Element: MTP, TIP, PPP Innovative Practice: Use of educational/promotional YouTube videos; transit gap analysis to identify gaps between underserved communities and employment centers
B-30 Equity Analysis in Regional Transportation Planning Processes Source: Memphis Urban Area MPO (2014), screenshot from YouTube presentation Figure B-12. Memphis MPO Livability 3 video with mayor. To foster a more inclusive public involvement process, public meetings were held throughout the region, including rural communities and in Mississippi. Meeting locations were accessible by transit, to the extent possible. Meeting notifications were distributed via email and postcards mailed to businesses and residences within a one-half-mile radius around the public meeting location. During the public meetings, the MPO used a real-time survey tool with hand-held clickers to ensure that input was recorded from all participants. Input from these meetings identified the maintenance of existing infrastructure and public transportation as key priorities for the public; these themes are reflected in the Long-Range Plan and the TIP. The PPP establishes the MPOâs commitment to engage underserved persons, including Title VI, EJ, and LEP groups. MPO staff continually evaluate the effectiveness of public involvement activities through surveys (printed and online) and statistical analysis. The MPO calculates the âreturn on investmentâ of the various strategies by considering the number of persons that participate in a particular activity compared to the total number of persons notified about said activity. The qualitative and quantitative data inform improvements to outreach strategies and techniques. In a survey of effective public involvement approaches for engaging underserved persons, the Memphis Urban Area MPO reported that the following strategies are very effective: focus groups to be very effective. The Memphis Urban Area MPO reported that public meetings/forums/open house held in neighborhood centers are more effective than when held at central government centers. The MPO also reported that the following strategies have been somewhat effective: meetings held on weekday evenings, during the weekdays, and on weekends. Other strategies used include producing major documents in both English and Spanish. The agency also conducted an internal audit to determine which language capacities exist among staff Bengali, Hindi, and French. Also, the Memphis Urban Area MPO has a partnership with libraries that makes printed copies of planning documents available at 17 library locations across the four- county MPO region. that could be used to connect with the local population. In addition to Spanish, the audit identified and listening sessions with underserved persons and related organizations, and the use of social media. They have also found workshops/charrettes/interactive gaming exercises, online survey tools, and visualization (e.g., using videos, visual preference surveys, and other methods)
Interview Case Studies B-31 Identifying Populations for Analysis The Memphis Urban Area MPO analyzed the impacts of future transportation investment plans and programming on underserved persons, which they defined to include any of the following: Low-income households, and households below the poverty line; Racial and ethnic subgroups (such as minority and Hispanic populations, respectively); Mobility-limited persons, and persons with disabilities; Veterans; Elderly/older adults; and Persons with LEP. Using 2010 U.S. Census and 2012â2013 ACS data, the MPO classified areas with a higher than average portion of these groups as underserved communities. To develop the Long-Range Plan, the Memphis Urban Area MPO conducted a transportation disadvantage analysis to identify underserved communitiesâthose areas with higher concentrations of minority or low-income populations or people with LEP. To determine the transportation-disadvantaged areas, these three maps were merged into a common map to depict areas facing at least one component of disadvantage. Identifying Needs and Concerns Identifying Transportation Needs To understand the transportation needs of underserved persons, the Memphis Urban Area MPO analyzed the travel modes used (Figure B-13). Using data on travel modes to work, the MPO found that underserved persons have different travel characteristics compared to other communities. The analysis found that, when compared to the general population: Low-income persons are more likely to carpool, ride transit, and walk to work; Minority persons are more likely to carpool and ride transit; and One-third of persons with LEP carpool. Source: Livability 2040 Regional Transportation Plan, Table 4.11. Figure B-13. Transportation mode to work by EJ communities.
B-32 Equity Analysis in Regional Transportation Planning Processes The MPO concluded that transit service improvements and expanding opportunities for ride sharing would greatly improve the travel needs and concerns of underserved persons. Transit Gap Analysis As part of the long-range planning process, the Memphis Urban Area MPO conducted a transit gap analysis to identify opportunities to improve access from underserved communities to the major employment centers (such as the airport and hospitals). The analysis focused on parts of the region currently served by transit to determine areas with travel-time disparities between transit and automobile travel. The analysis identified census block groups with higher than average populations of underserved persons and then used the travel-demand model to make the comparison. The model used origin/destination pairs to compare the travel time for transit and auto. Areas with the greatest difference were identified as places for transit improvements. Assessing Relative Benefits and Burdens Tools Used GIS Excel Geographic Analysis This common map was combined with a map of the planned transportation projects, to determine projects that could potentially impact underserved communities (Figure B-14). Source: Livability 2040 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP), January 2016. Figure B-14. Combined EJ Areas for Memphis Urban Area MPO.
Interview Case Studies B-33 The analysis focused on benefits, burdens, and potential mitigation strategies for three types of projects: highway capacity, transit, and bicycle and pedestrian. More than half of planned investments to expand highway capacity were totally or partially located in underserved communities, and potential benefits cited included improving access, encouraging reinvestment, and addressing existing safety issues and bottleneck problems. Potential burdens identified included pedestrian and bicycle access reduced by road widening. Proposed mitigation strategies included using context sensitive design and community input during project development, and additional investment for Complete Streets activities. The analysis found that, overall, increasing transit access and improving service would provide significant benefits for underserved communities, primarily through reduced wait times and increased travel options for evening and weekend trips. No burdens were identified. Current Initiatives and Aspirations Mitigating Inequities in Project Selection The Memphis Urban Area MPO has taken a proactive approach to addressing the impacts of proposed projects on underserved communities. Starting with the FY 2010 TIP, the MPO has incorporated equity considerations in the project selection process. The project evaluation scoring awards points to projects that provide specific improvements to underserved communities and subtracts points for projects that cause negative impacts (Figure B- 15). These criteria are: Project provides transit improvements to an underserved community, Project provides safety enhancements in an underserved community, Project provides bicycle and/or pedestrian improvements in an underserved community, and Negative impact on an underserved community. Source: Memphis Urban Area MPO (2016), FY 2017â2020 TIP Appendix Figure B-15. Memphis Urban Area MPO road project ranking for environmental sustainability. Also, the Memphis Urban Area MPO created a YouTube video to provide an overview of the TIP process and how to read the TIP document. The purpose of this effort was to better inform the public about the TIP process to encourage broader participation in public meetings on the draft TIP.
B-34 Equity Analysis in Regional Transportation Planning Processes As a part of their transit gap analysis (described above), the Memphis Urban Area MPO identified several significant gaps that would not be addressed by the call for projects or public and stakeholder engagement. The analysis has resulted in projects to address gaps, including the creation of a bus rapid transit (BRT) corridor connecting underserved communities, downtown, and the University of Memphis. Lessons Learned and Noteworthy Practices Key lessons learned from this case study include: The Memphis Urban Area MPO has a robust approach to public involvement. The MPO uses YouTube videos to educate the public and build interest in transportation planning and programming. The MPO translates planning documents into Spanish and uses interactive survey tools to encourage broader participation. The distribution of planning documents to local libraries helps to make the planning process more inclusive, particularly to underserved persons in rural areas. The transit gap analysis identified opportunities to improve access from underserved communities to the major employment centers. The analysis highlighted key gaps that were not identified through public engagement or the preliminary call for projects. Resources Memphis Urban Area MPO. 2016. 2040 Regional Transportation Plan. Retrieved from: http://memphismpo.org/sites/default/files/public/livability-2040-all-chapters.pdf. Memphis Urban Area MPO. 2017. FY 2017â2020 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). Retrieved from: http://memphismpo.org/plans/improvement-program-tip/overview. Memphis Urban Area MPO. 2014. Public Participation Plan. Retrieved from: http://memphismpo.org/sites/default/files/public/2014%20PPP%20Final.pdf. Memphis Urban Area MPO. Memphis Urban Area MPO YouTube channel. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/user/memphismpo.
Interview Case Studies B-35 Metropolitan Area Planning Agency (MAPA) Agency Context The Metropolitan Area Planning Agency (MAPA) is a small- sized MPO serving the Greater Omaha/Council Bluffs region within Nebraska and Iowa. In accordance with federal law and in cooperation with local and state governments, the MAPA performs required long-range planning activities for a smaller portion of this region that encompasses Douglas and Sarpy Counties in eastern Nebraska and the western-most portion of Pottawattamie County in western Iowa. In addition to transportation planning, the MAPA provides assistance with strategic planning and needs assessments; grant assistance for economic development; planning efforts for environmental issues; and coordinates the Heartland 2050 project, funded by a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant, which seeks to provide a regional roadmap for growth based on core values of area residents. The MAPA has 20 staff members. The MAPA has a strong working relationship with its regional and local transportation boards, who engage on project-level equity issues. Membership on these boards include staff from Omahaâs Metro Transit, who serve on the MPOâs Transportation Technical Advisory Committee and Project Selection Committee. The MAPA is forging a working relationship with the Equity and Engagement Committee that was formed during the recent Heartland 2050 process, and envisions that this group will play an important role in transportation decision making for the next iteration of the regionâs Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP). Equity Analysis Process The MAPA conducts equity analyses as part of their Long-Range Plan and Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). Additionally, the MAPA considers the proximity of zero-vehicle households when analyzing individual bicycle, pedestrian, and transit projects. Public Involvement Of the 50 resource agencies and interested parties who completed MAPAâs Public Participation Preference Survey, a component of the MPOâs Public Participation Plan (PPP) activities, 47 of the respondents said they wished to receive meeting notices, while 30 respondents wished to receive an e-newsletter and just 20 respondents were interested in participating on a committee. A majority of these respondents selected multiple notification methods. As part of this effort, the MAPA also collected respondentsâ comments regarding the MPOâs public outreach activities. The MAPA published these comments, along with the agencyâs action and/or response, in a table that was included in the PPP (see Table B-2). Case Study at a Glance State(s) Serviced: Nebraska, Iowa MPO Size: 20 MPO Service Population: 285,407 Tools & Models Used: GIS Innovative Practice: Uses distribution of funds and projects, as well as travel-time improvements, accruing to underserved persons to prioritize projects
B-36 Equity Analysis in Regional Transportation Planning Processes Table B-2. Survey respondent comments on public participation concerns and MAPA responses. The MAPAâs PPP and its Title VI and ADA Plan and Procedure report detail the agencyâs efforts to include limited English proficiency (LEP), environmental justice (EJ), and disabled groups in public outreach activities per the federal requirements. These include a four-factor analysis within the MPO area to determine the level and extent of need for MAPAâs language assistance measures. The MAPA also maintains a list of specific organizations that serve as community representatives within the regionâs underserved communities and who receive notice of upcoming meetings and plan participation opportunities via email. The MAPA outlines six specific elements of its âoutreach philosophyâ in the PPP, two of which are equity-focused. To implement the PPPâs goals and objectives, the MPO assigns staff to fulfill the roles of communications liaison, transportation liaison, and administrative staff, and outlines specific duties and responsibilities pertaining to each. The MAPA also publishes a bi-monthly newsletter that reports on its planning activities and issues. Among the 1000+ recipients who receive this newsletter are a number of social service agencies, including those involved on MAPA committees. The MAPA reports that this newsletter has been a very successful way to reach minority and low-income agencies, including the Chicano Awareness Center, Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, and Nebraska AIDS Project. The first of the PPPâs two equity-focused goals addresses inclusion of underserved persons and communities. To achieve this, the PPP notes that participation efforts in these areas will be stressed and that specific meetings will be conducted within underserved communities. To reach these groups, MAPA staff coordinates with the list of organizations that serve as community representatives. The second equity-focused goal involves conducting outreach to low-income, minority, LEP, and disabled populations. To achieve this second aim, the MAPA conducts specific public participation outreach in community centers, schools, faith-based institutions and businesses located in census tracts with a high concentration of minority and/or low-income populations (Figure B-16). The MAPA also offers interpretation and translating services at meetings with advance requests. The PPP lists an additional seven strategies under the Specific Public Outreach Philosophy for Sensitive Populations that include minority and low-income population outreach throughout multiple stages of the transportation decision-making spectrum. Further, the PPP notes that MAPA staff will seek meeting locations that are both ADA-accessible and located on public transit.
Interview Case Studies B-37 Source: MAPA (2015a), Public Participation Plan Figure B-16. EJ and LEP priority areas and public outreach locations. At public participation events, members of these communities who may have issue with a proposed action are invited to voice their views and opinions. The MAPA evaluates the effectiveness of its public participation tools on an annual basis using a set of established performance goals. The findings of these evaluations are published in an annual status report created by two of the three staff liaisons. Equity-focused evaluation criteria for public participation include transit accessibility of public events and the number of MAPA brochures distributed at key regional libraries. Identifying Populations for Analysis The MAPA has analyzed the impacts of future TIPs and programming on statistically higher concentrations of racial subgroups, ethnic subgroups, low-income households, and zero-vehicle households. Analysis for all groups was done at the census tract level using data from the 2010 Census and 2012â2013 ACS. The first step in the analysis looked at the MAPA Transportation Management Area (TMA) to identify areas with high concentrations of minority and low-income populations. They identified the tracts that had a concentration of low-income or minority population exceeding one standard deviation from the regional median of the TMA. Tracts that met the applicable statistical threshold were considered to be âenvironmentally sensitive areas,â comparable to the term âunderserved communitiesâ used in this guide.
B-38 Equity Analysis in Regional Transportation Planning Processes Identifying Needs and Concerns The MAPA staff report that there is significant concern regarding regional jobs-housing imbalance due in part to lack of a large regional transit system to serve areas of higher than average unemployment. To come to a common understanding regarding existing conditions and needs, Metro Transit provides the MAPA with a comprehensive analysis of existing infrastructure. Together the agencies look at the future regional transportation context and discuss their respective planning goals and the potential for transportation improvements to address some of the existing deficiencies. From this collaborative analysis and discussion, the MAPA and Metro Transit have discussed strategies like BRT implementation to address job accessibility for populations with limited means and mobility. Assessing Relative Benefits and Burdens Geographic Analysis The MAPA performs geographic equity analyses for both its Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP) and its TIP. The MAPA begins this analysis by mapping the underserved communities using the criteria and data discussed above. Using a map of the regionâs underserved communities, the MPO overlays projects in the current revision of the TIP. These projects are then examined in relationship to their proximity to underserved communities and the transit shed (a one-quarter- mile buffer on each side of all bus routes). This focus on the bus system reflects the concentration of zero-vehicle households and residents who lack consistent access to reliable vehicles in underserved communities, and who therefore rely on transit to some extent to access goods, services, and economic opportunities. The 2040 MTP notes that all of the regionâs underserved communities are covered by a three-quarter-mile proximity buffer to transit lines and that this coverage represents much of Metro Transitâs service area. Travel-Time Analysis For the sake of the MAPAâs analysis, staff determined that projects that benefited level of service, improving travel time for bus riders, had a positive impact on underserved persons and those that decreased the level of service would negatively affect underserved persons. The analysis conducted for the current level of projects found no change in level of service for transit-dependent residents of the region. The MAPA also seeks to determine how job accessibility will be impacted by planned investments. The MAPA defines accessibility to jobs as the percentage of future jobs within 30 minutes of travel time by private vehicle and 45 minutes by transit. MAPA staff reported that their travel-shed and travel-time analysis did not produce the information hoped for and that they are struggling to find meaningful travel metrics to inform their equity analyses. Analyzing the Distribution of Benefits and Burdens Using the overlay of TIP projects and underserved communities, TIP projects in underserved communities were examined in relationship to the proportion of their area within the transit shed. The percentage of project funds within this transit shed are attributed as benefiting underserved persons. The proximity of Metro Transit projects and route changes to underserved communities were also considered in this funding analysis (Figure B-17).
Interview Case Studies B-39 Source: MAPA (2017a), 2040 Long-Range Transportation Plan Figure B-17. MAPAâs spatial overlay and magnitude of impact methodology for equity analyses. The MAPA examined the proximity of future roadway projects using the map shown in Figure B-18. In the 2040 MTP, the MAPA states that many of the regionâs largest and most expensive capital projects fall partially in or near underserved communities. The 2040 MTPâs EJ element notes four major projects as âsignificant investments into environmentally sensitive areas.â These projects include: Widening a bottleneck on a section of I-80 adjacent to underserved communities, which will â[Relieve] congestion for local traffic [and] assist with reducing pollution for the environmentally sensitive areas;â Reconstruction of a section of the areaâs interstate system adjacent to underserved communities, which will â[Improve] traffic flow and [increase] access to adjacent employersâ for the affected areasâ residents; Construction of a viaduct along the edge of an underserved community, which will âremove traffic impediments . . . provide immediate safety benefits [and provide] many good jobs for the metro areaâ through increased freight rail mobility; and Widen a section of the Kennedy Freeway adjacent to an underserved community using an existing right-of-way, which will thereby create âimproved traffic flow and attractiveness for nearby businesses and residents.â
B-40 Equity Analysis in Regional Transportation Planning Processes Source: MAPA (2017a), 2040 Long-Range Transportation Plan Figure B-18. Overlay of transportation projects in environmentally sensitive areas. The EJ element of the 2040 MTP states that many additional investments will be made in underserved communities that are not location-specific but will nonetheless provide significant benefits. These include projects in categories such as operations and maintenance; technology and signal coordination; and bicycle-pedestrian and Complete Streets improvements. The MAPA reports no finding of severe negative impacts that would result from the projects in the 2040 MTP, including those mentioned above, and mentions that the agencyâs National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process provides significant protections to underserved persons at the project level. Additionally, the 2040 MTP asserts that nearly a billion dollars in investments are planned in underserved communities and that this represents a two-to-one spending ratio for these populations as compared to the region as a whole. According to MAPA staff, these large capital expenditures, particularly by the state, help to improve funding equity given historical underinvestment in the urban core. The MAPA stated that they look to FTA and FHWA to ensure compliance with existing statutes and executive orders, but that they primarily look to peers for procedural guidance to measure the benefits and burdens of transportation decision making. Lessons Learned and Noteworthy Practices Key lessons learned from this case study include: The MAPA has a robust Public Participation Plan (PPP). The inclusion of specific metrics around underserved personsâ participation at public events would help to quantify the success of their multi-pronged efforts.
Interview Case Studies B-41 Although the plan discusses presumed mobility, economic, aesthetic, and other benefits accruing to underserved persons from major capital projects in these areas, there is no mention of potential short- or long-term negative impacts resulting from factors like construction impacts or increased travel through areas of expanded capacity. The 2040 MTP could benefit from a more balanced assessment. Through the support of a federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities grant, the MAPAâs Heartland 2050 has positioned the agency to strengthen their equity policies in the regionâs next update to the regionâs MTP. Resources MAPA. 2015a. Public Participation Plan. Retrieved from: http://mapacog.org/wp- content/uploads/2015/03/MAPA_PPP2016.pdf. MAPA. 2015b. 2015â2018 Title VI and ADA Plan and Procedure. Retrieved from: http://mapacog.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/MAPA_TitleVIPlan_2015-2018_Final.pdf. MAPA. 2017a. 2040 Long-Range Transportation Plan. Retrieved from: http://mapacog.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/MAPA_2040MTP-as-amended-8-31- 2017.pdf. MAPA. 2017b. Equitable Growth Profile of the OmahaâCouncil Bluffs Region. Retrieved from: http://heartland2050.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Omaha_Council_Buffs_ Profile_Final.pdf . MAPA. 2017c. FY2017 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). Retrieved from: http://mapacog.org/reports/fy2017-transportation-improvement-program-tip/. MAPA. 2017d. Heartland 2050 Vision. Retrieved from: http://heartland2050.org/wp- content/uploads/2017/06/h2050_vision_combo2.pdf.
B-42 Equity Analysis in Regional Transportation Planning Processes Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) Agency Context The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) is a large-sized MPO serving the San Francisco Bay Area. The MTC coordinates transportation planning and financing for nine counties in the region. Additionally, it manages the toll operations of the areaâs seven state-owned bridges, operates the 511 traveler information system, and coordinates a unified transit fare payment system. The MTC has approximately 250 staff members, two of whom had equity-related analyses as part of their core job responsibilities. Equity Analysis Process The MTC conducts equity analyses as part of its Long-Range Plan, Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), and other special studies as necessary. Public Involvement Under Californiaâs S.B. 375, the MTC must develop a separate Public Participation Plan (PPP) for the Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy (RTP/SCS), which is included as an appendix in the main plan. One of the guiding principles of this plan is to have an open and transparent public participation process that empowers individuals from low-income and minority backgrounds to participate in decision making that affects their communities. Some of the techniques involved include: Contract with community-based organizations in underserved communities for targeted outreach; âTake Oneâ flyers on transit vehicles and at transit hubs; Outreach in the community (e.g., flea markets, churches, health centers); and Use of community and minority media outlets to announce participation opportunities. A notable way in which the MTC conducts public outreach activities is their focus on incorporating participation from LEP communities, including using the following techniques: Conducting meetings entirely in an alternative language (Spanish or Cantonese, for example); Issuing grants to community-based organizations to co-host meetings and remove barriers to participation by offering such assistance as child care or translation services; Training staff to be alert to and anticipate the needs of persons with LEP; Conducting personal interviews or using audio recording devices to obtain oral comments in languages other than English; Translating documents and web content on key initiatives; Translating materials and having translators available at meetings as requested; Including information on meeting notices on how to request translation assistance; Having translators available on call for meetings; Translating news releases and providing outreach to alternative language media, such as radio, television, newspapers and social media; and Case Study at a Glance State(s) Serviced: California MPO Size: 250 MPO Service Population: 7,150,828 Tools & Models Used: Travel-demand model, GIS, public health assessment model Innovative Practice: Incorporation of techniques to encourage public participation from populations with LEP; assessment of rent-burdened households
Interview Case Studies B-43 When conducting statistically valid polls, surveys or focus groups, offering the information in other languages such as Spanish or Cantonese. Each time the RTP is updated, the MTC creates a new PPP. This new plan gives insight to the MPOâs equity analysis and how it is to be conducted in the RTP. Identifying Populations for Analysis In defining underserved communities, the MTC considers the full set of required populations as outlined by federal guidance. Additionally, the agency considers other populations: zero-vehicle households, single-parent families, and rent-burdened households. The MTC worked with its Regional Equity Working Group to consider conditions specific to the Bay Area when defining these âdisadvantage factors.â For example, because the cost of living in the region is considerably higher than the national average, the agency defined low-income populations as approximately 200% of the federally-defined poverty level. To capture cost-of- living and housing demand challenges in the area, the agency identifies rent-burdened households, which it defines as âhousing units occupied by renters paying more than 50% of household income on rent.â The MTC established thresholds to identify census tracts with high concentrations of these populations. Based on early input from stakeholders, the agency set the thresholds for minority and low-income populations at 70% and 30%, respectively. The cutoffs for the other populations were set between the regional average and one standard deviation above the regional average. The descriptions of these populations and concentration thresholds are: Minority populations: Persons who identify as Black or African-American, Asian, American Indian or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, some other race, two or more races, or Hispanic/Latino of any raceâ70%; Low-income populations: Persons who are below 200% of the federal poverty levelâ30%; LEP populations: Persons who speak English ânot wellâ or ânot at all,â according to data from the Census Bureauâ20%; Seniors (aged 75 years and older): Persons aged 75 years or over, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureauâ10%; Populations with a disability: Persons over the age of 5 years who have one or more disabilities, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureauâ25%; Zero-vehicle households: Households without access to at least one vehicle, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureauâ10%; Single-parent families: Households headed by a single parent with children presentâ20%; and Rent-burdened households: Occupied housing units (including both renters and owners) which are occupied by renters paying more than 50% of their income in rentâ15%. The MTC identifies underserved communities using a definition based on âmultiple overlapping potential disadvantage factors.â Rather than a single definition, the agency considers a census tract an underserved community if it meets either of the following criteria: Exceeding concentration thresholds of 4 or more disadvantage factors, or Exceeding concentration thresholds of both low-income populations and minority populations. The agency corresponds the census tracts to TAZs to apply these factors in the agencyâs travel- demand model. Based on the 2014 equity analysis, roughly 22% of census tracts and TAZs were identified as underserved communities.
B-44 Equity Analysis in Regional Transportation Planning Processes Identifying Needs and Concerns At a high level, the MTC uses the â3 Esâ of sustainability, considering the environment, economics, and equity as broad guidance for the needs and concerns for Bay Area residents. The agency selected performance targets for its planning efforts that would inform one or more of the 3 Es. The MTC engages with and solicits input from its Regional Equity Working Group, which includes local government representatives, community organization members, and local residents. Additionally, the MTC identified stakeholder interests in housing, economic development, and transportation for underserved communities as part of its Regional Prosperity Plan (RPP), a project funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Regional Planning Grant Program. Assessing Relative Benefits and Burdens Tools and Data Used Activity-based travel-demand model Housing and land use forecast model Economic and land use model Census data California and Bay Area Household Travel Survey data Bay Area Transit Passengers Demographic Survey data GIS Indicators Selected The MTC has measures for assessing its transportation investments and for achieving its broader planning goals. For its investment analysis, the MTC conducts a âpopulation/use-based analysisâ that compares the share of investments by mode (transit versus road, highway, and bridge) and the use of those modes by underserved population subgroups (low-income versus non-low-income; minority versus non-minority). The agency acknowledges that these investment analyses have shortcomings, such as not considering the outcomes of funded projects and programs or not considering bicycle and pedestrian projects as a separate mode from road projects; but these measures help the agency comply with the Title VI analysis requirements. Also to satisfy Title VI requirements, the MTC considers the spatial distribution of projects. The agency produces maps overlaying projects and underserved communities. For its broader planning goals, regional agency staff developed outcome-based performance measures with input from the Regional Equity Working Group and other stakeholders. The MPO established five indicators to assess its Regional Transportation Plan: 1. Housing and Transportation Affordability: Percentage of income spent on housing and transportation by low-income households; 2. Potential for Displacement: Percentage of rent-burdened households in high-growth areas; 3. Healthy Communities: Average daily vehicle miles traveled per populated square mile within 1,000 feet of heavily used roadways; 4. Access to Jobs: Average travel time in minutes for commute trips; and 5. Equitable Mobility: Average travel time in minutes for non-work-based trips. The displacement indicator is a unique measure meant to identify the potential for underserved persons to be priced out of their communities due to rising market rates that can accompany transportation plan investments.
Interview Case Studies B-45 Equity Analysis Process As discussed in the previous section, the MTC conducts a population/use-based analysis as part of its investment analysis by comparing funding and use by mode and population type. The following steps are conducted for each sub-population type comparison (minority status, low- income status): 1. The regionâs total population and total trips are split out by the sub-populations (i.e., minority versus non-minority, or low-income versus non-low-income). 2. Each transportation plan investment is categorized into one of two modes to which they apply: transit vs. road/highway/bridge. 3. Transit investments are multiplied by the share of each sub-population identified in step 1 using transit (by transit operator); other investments are multiplied by the share of each sub- population using those modes (by county). 4. Investments are summed by mode and by sub-population. The share of investment by mode is compared to the usage of each mode by sub-population. The MPO also conducts the population/use-based analysis for minority populations as part of its Title VI analysis. For the mapping analysis, the agency overlays projects and underserved communities, and overlays projects and census tracts with shares of minority populations above the regional average. In reviewing the distribution and map overlays, the agency qualitatively reviews the distribution of projects, looking for âapparent systematic imbalancesâ between underserved communities versus the rest of the region. To measure housing and transportation affordability, or âH+T Affordability,â the agency implements an approach developed by the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT). This indicator adds the costs of housing and transportation divided by the average household income to calculate the percentage of income spent on housing and transportation. To calculate the base-year value, the MTC collects data on renter- and owner-occupied housing costs and certain types of income from the ACS. They made an adjustment to the housing data to account for subsidizing housing units not reported in the ACS. Base-year and future transportation costs come from the MPOâs travel model and include costs such as fuel, tolls, and parking. To forecast future incomes, they used an economic model to estimate future employment by type and income category. The potential for displacement performance measure is based on the share of âover-burdened rentersâ and the projected household growth. The MTC defines over-burdened renters as households that spend more than 50% of their income on rent. A census tract is considered to have a high potential for displacement if it meets two conditions: (1) more than 15% of housing units are over-burdened renters and (2) the associated TAZ is projected to experience more than 30% growth in households. By using these thresholds, the MTC can identify tracts in which the growth of over-burdened renters exceeds the regional average in their preferred scenario. Defining Disparate or Disproportionate Impacts In order to identify disparate or disproportionate impacts, the MTC takes its equity performance metrics for underserved communities and compares them to the rest of the population for three scenarios: (1) current year, (2) baseline forecast, and (3) plan forecast. Based on the most recent Title VI analysis conducted, the MTCâs Regional Transit Connection (RTC) does not result in disparate impacts (i.e., the share of transit funding benefiting minority populations is not statistically different from the funding for non-minority populations).
B-46 Equity Analysis in Regional Transportation Planning Processes Mitigating Inequities The MTC has established performance targets in an attempt to mitigate inequities found by their Title VI analysis. Per a statutory requirement, the MTC must house 100% of the regionâs projected growth by income level without displacing current low-income residents. Additionally, the MTC seeks to decrease the share of low-income and lower-middle-income residentsâ household income consumed by transportation and housing by at least 10 percentage points (from current level of 66%, down to 56%). Lessons Learned and Noteworthy Practices Key lessons learned from this case study include: In addition to looking at low-income households, the MTC considers households that are ârent-burdened,â or which spend a significant portion of their household income on housing and transportation costs. The MTC tracked single-parent households. The MTC also conducted a population-use-based analysis of spending. Resources MTC. 2014. Plan Bay Area Equity Analysis Report, Appendix A-4. Metropolitan Transportation Commission. Retrieved from: http://mtc.ca.gov/sites/default/files/A- 04_FINAL_PBA_Equity_Analysis_Report.pdf. MTC. 2017a. Plan Bay Area 2040. Metropolitan Transportation Commission. Retrieved from: http://mtc.ca.gov/our-work/plans-projects/plan-bay-area-2040/plan-bay-area. MTC. 2017b. Transportation Improvement Plan. 2017 TIP Investment Analysis: A Focus on Low-Income and Minority Populations, Seniors, and Persons with Disabilities. Metropolitan Transportation Commission. Retrieved from: http://mtc.ca.gov/our-work/fund- invest/transportation-improvement-program.
Interview Case Studies B-47 Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) Agency Context The Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) is a council of governments serving the bi-state Kansas City Metropolitan Area, which spans Jackson, Johnson, Clay, Platte, Wyandotte, Cass, and Leavenworth counties in Kansas and Missouri. The MARC acts as the regionâs MPO, handling both the policy (e.g., development of long-range planning activities) and operational (e.g., administration of the regionâs rideshare program) roles. In addition to acting as the regionâs MPO, the MARC handles emergency services, aging population infrastructure and programs, environmental planning, and air agency activities. Around 30 of the MARCâs roughly 130 employees work with transportation and the environment. At least seven staff members work on equity issues as part of their job duties, including a civil rights officer. Equity Analysis Process The MARC conducts equity analyses as part of their Long-Range Plan and TIP. Additionally, the agencyâs Public Participation Plan (PPP) contains guidance on outreach activities related to equity, as is federally required. Corridor-level studies and planning and environmental linkages (PEL) are also looked at as they relate to equity. The MARC has a scaled regional approach to the individual subarea or corridor being studied, where underserved communities are identified using similar criteria (i.e. regional average), but criteria are more focused on the project area rather than the region. Public Involvement The MARC conducted several public outreach activities in association with updating the policy framework of its Long-Range Plan, Transportation Outlook 2040. Among these activities were a public meeting and survey, in which participants were asked what the current issues facing the Planâs nine goals were directed at addressing these issues. From the responses received, the MARC assessed that these goals (accessibility, climate change/energy use, economic vitality, environment, placemaking, public health, safety and security, system condition, and system performance) were insufficient to meet the regionâs needs, and added a tenth goal--equity. To help assess how well the responses reflected a represented sample of their service population, the MARC collected demographic information about respondents. Subsequent workshops showed planners that stakeholders and involved citizens wanted to maintain the regionâs transportation system in good condition, while making strategic investments in multimodal infrastructure such as transit and bicycle/pedestrian. Investing in expansion projects was a lesser priority. The MARC also presented the Transportation Outlook 2040 plan to twelve different stakeholder groups and committees for feedback. Some of the relevant feedback included: Case Study at a Glance State(s) Serviced: Kansas, Missouri MPO Size: 30 MPO Service Population: 1,895,535 Tools & Models Used: GIS, travel- demand model, local transit agency service data MPO Documents with EJ Element: MTP, TIP, Public Participation Plan Innovative Practice: Analysis of funding distribution and safety regionâs transportation system were and how well the agencyâs Metropolitan Transportation
B-48 Equity Analysis in Regional Transportation Planning Processes âExpanding multimodal transportation options in the region is essential. Expanding public transit and bicycle and pedestrian facilities should take priority and should be reflected in the 2040 plan.â âAffordability of the transportation system should be considered in the policy framework or performance measures. The current transportation system puts a strain on the most vulnerable populations in the region.â An issue the MARC faces is outreach to rural areas. The MARCâs MPO boundary is beyond the urban boundary, so it encompasses many rural regions that need to be considered when developing transportation plans. To help constituents in these areas, the MARC has seats on all funding/policy committees reserved for rural community representatives, and the agency has mechanisms in place to nominate small-city representatives to serve in high-level positions like the board of directors or lower-level positions dealing with programming. The MARC has found that the most effective public outreach method is to build relationships with organizations that already have relationships in the communities, such as local faith-based organizations, libraries, schools, and major employers. This allows the MARC to send representatives to where members of the public community are already going. The MARC has also had a great deal of success in online engagement, and has found that online forums have a greater reach and allow for more depth than in a traditional meeting setting. The MARC wants to expand its use of social media to further increase outreach, and is currently experimenting with platforms like Facebook Live. Identifying Populations for Analysis When conducting equity analyses at the regional/system level, the MARC identifies underserved communities (called âEnvironmental Justice Areasâ or âEJ Areasâ in their planning documents) by looking at census blocks that meet one or both of the following criteria: Minority populations are greater than the MPO area average of 27.2%; and/or More than 20% of households are in poverty. When considering what constitutes low-income or minority populations, the MARC looks at percent minority (defined as Black/African-American, Hispanic or Latino, Asian American, American Indian and Alaskan Native, and Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander, or as two or more races) and percent low-income (per U.S. HUD definition). Figure B-19 shows the MARCâs identified underserved communities, which are largely focused in the urban core of Wyandotte County and western Jackson County. Beyond E.O. 12898 requirements, the MARC looks at: Impacts to persons with: disabilities (percent with disability); Older adults (percent over age 65); Veterans (percent veterans, with national guard only counted if individual was ordered to active duty); Households with no available vehicles (percent of households with no available vehicles); and People who use public transportation to get to work (percent of households that rely on transit).
Interview Case Studies B-49 Source: MARC (2015), Transportation Outlook 2040, 14.0 Equity Analysis Figure B-19. Underserved communities in MARCâs MPO area. The MARC has done work within the last 2 years on affirmatively furthering fair housing plans. Currently, the threshold used for their equity analyses is the regional average of minority and low- income populations, but there is a deep discussion within the agency over what should really be considered for the plans. Among the considerations is how to handle census tracts that almost meet the threshold, but which fall short of meeting the criteria. Should two tracts that are only 2% apart demographically (i.e., 1% on either side of the threshold) really be considered as one being an underserved community and one not? Identifying Needs and Concerns The MARC is increasingly seeing a suburbanization of poverty, which is resulting in low- income suburbs that are not well served by public transit connecting to job growth areas. When conducting public outreach, the MARC found that a major concern for these communities was their accessibility to a comprehensive transit system. Although underserved communities currently have great access to transit (due to a large proportion of investments), the transit system doesnât connect these communities to other parts of the region. In other words, even though many transit investments are made within underserved communities, those investments do not necessarily connect the underserved communities with the surrounding areas. From a low-income perspective, this could mean that underserved persons are unable to find transit solutions to other parts of the
B-50 Equity Analysis in Regional Transportation Planning Processes region where jobs may be located. As seen in Figure B-20, underserved communities are in areas where 7-day transit service is prevalent, such as western Jackson County and Wyandotte County, however a large majority of jobs and anticipated job growth occurs in less-connected areas like Johnson County. Source: MARC (2015), Transportation Outlook 2040, Equity Analysis Figure B-20. Accessibility of public transit resources. Additionally, the MARC found a need to address safety issues in underserved communities. During their analysis, they found that more pedestrian and bicycle crashes were occurring within the underserved communities rather than in more affluent neighborhoods. Because many of the underserved communities are centrally located, it is difficult to know what proportion of the crash victims are residents versus individuals who commute into the city center for work as a bicyclist or pedestrian. The per capita safety spending looked to be uneven, which the MARC found to be due to the size of the program. The smaller size led to fewer groups applying for funding, and most of the applications were from suburban communities with the resources to apply. Underserved communities were less likely to apply for this grant due to a lower technical capacity than other communities. Because funding was distributed among projects that applied for the grant, underserved communities were awarded less funding. The MARCâs equity analyses are not limited to proposed projects. Transportation planners also consider existing conditions when conducting analyses to see where current lapses in transit service, connection to employment, and roadway safety exist. To assess the current status of transit service, the MARC utilizes GIS to map current transit routes over the identified underserved communities. A similar method was used in mapping the ability of underserved persons to travel to and from jobs in the area. Using GIS to overlay current and future jobs on underserved communities, the MARC was able to evaluate how well the current transportation infrastructure
Interview Case Studies B-51 supported the ability of underserved persons to access jobs. This type of analysis also gave the MARC insight into what the underserved persons would need in future transportation projects in order to be able to reach employers. Assessing Relative Benefits and Burdens Indicators Selected The MARC started by asking the question âwhere is money for transportation projects getting spent?â and looked at the proximity of projects to the identified underserved communities. The MARC looks at this distribution generally, but also considers mode type and funding program to see which type of projects are being pursued in underserved communities and how those projects are being financed. For safety indicators, the MARC started using GIS to map the locations of vehicular crashes involving bicyclists or pedestrians. The MARC also looks at the percent of jobs located within one-half-mile of public transit routes, the total number of jobs in the employment core, the percent of jobs that are reachable via public transit within 90 minutes, and the presence of transit near underserved communities. As an example Figure B-21 shows one map depicting changes in the employment forecast. The MARC also compares the total service hours of public transit in underserved communities compared with other areas. By looking at these indicators collectively, transportation planners can determine whether underserved persons have viable access to employment. Source: MARC (2015), Transportation Outlook 2040, Equity Analysis Figure B-21. Changes in employment forecast, 2010â2040.
B-52 Equity Analysis in Regional Transportation Planning Processes Tools Used The MARC uses data from local transit agency services and GIS analysis to determine whether spending is in underserved communities by calculating construction costs of projects in their TIP (per capita) and spatially analyzing the distribution of funds in underserved communities versus other areas. Additionally, the MARC uses its travel-demand model to forecast demographic, trip, and travel- time statistics to assess the potential for disproportionately high and adverse impacts from investments in the TIP. Equity Analysis Process The MARC takes a region-wide look at the transportation system to evaluate impacts, adverse effects, and benefits to underserved communities. In addition to identifying impacts to required populations, the MARC identifies impacts to persons with a disability, older adults, veterans, households with no available vehicle, and households that predominantly rely on public transportation to get to work. When conducting their equity analyses, the MARC examines all financially constrained transportation projects that are planned within their MPO boundary on a per capita basis. Using U.S. Census Bureau data (most recently from the 2008â2012 ACS 5-year estimates) and the criteria listed in the âIdentifying Populations for Analysisâ section of this case study, the MARC communities have been identified, GIS is used to overlay the planned projects, which allows transportation planners to see which projects will impact underserved communities. Using the estimated construction costs associated with each project, the MARC calculates the total amount of funding spent on projects that impact underserved communities and the total amount of funding spent in all other areas. This gives the MARC a relative picture of the equitability of the funding distribution for planned projects. The MARC does this type of analysis for all financially constrained investments as a whole, but also repeats the analysis for transit, roadway, and bicycle/pedestrian projects specifically (see Figure B-22). By considering all modal project types, the MARC gets a more comprehensive look at the equitability of their project funding. The agency takes this analysis a step further by then calculating the per capita spending on planned transportation projects. Using the data from the census blocks and the breakdown of spending in underserved communities versus total spending, the MARC can determine how much of their planned resources are being spent equitably at the individual level. is able to identify underserved communities at the census block level. Once the underserved
Interview Case Studies B-53 Source: MARC (2015), Transportation Outlook 2040, Appendix J: Environmental Justice Analysis Figure B-22. Investment analysis by project type in EJ and non-EJ areas. Stakeholder opinions are gathered throughout the analysis process through a variety of workshops, surveys, and public meetings. In addition to seeking out participation from the general public at these forums, the MARC receives feedback from representatives from community faith- based organizations, educational institutions, and health departments, among others. The forums are structured to provide participants with background information on MARCâs past equity efforts as well as their intents for future equity analyses. Stakeholders are then given an option to provide feedback on aspects of the plan including specific transportation projects. Mitigating Inequities Before any analysis is conducted, the MARC has a system in place to address equity within funding decisions. Project applications have a scoring criteria, part of which assesses impacts on or benefits to underserved communities. The part of the application where equity considerations are taken is a subjective narrative (applicants merely state impacts/benefits). After the MARC started looking at where project money was spent in relation to underserved communities, the agency developed a program around traffic safety in underserved communities. As the abundance and reliability of geodata increased, the MARC was able to see where a majority of bicycle and pedestrian safety issues occurred, and began to include bicycle and pedestrian safety in their equity analyses in 2010 with their 2040 plan. In terms of bicycle and pedestrian crashes and fatalities, the MARC found that the majority happened in underserved communities within the urban core. This discovery led to a detailed look into the cause of these crashes, and they found that the perceived safety issue had less to do with proximity to the urban core and more to do with the density and exposure of the pedestrians and cyclists. There was a higher abundance of pedestrians and cyclists in the urban core, leading to a higher abundance of accidents. This led to
B-54 Equity Analysis in Regional Transportation Planning Processes the development of intersection countermeasures, which were provided to the local jurisdictions and implementers to increase pedestrian and bicycle safety in those areas. Lessons Learned and Noteworthy Practices Key lessons learned from this case study include: Conducting per capita analyses allows transportation planners to have a comprehensive look at how planned transportation investments impact underserved communities. Investment analysis also is done by project type, which could be useful if we assume that some project types have more or less impact on the adjacent communities. The bike/ped safety analyses are a unique use of identifying a disparate existing condition/need and then taking steps to mitigate it. Resources MARC. 2013. An Equity Profile of the Kansas City Region. Mid-America Regional Council. Retrieved from: http://www.marc.org/Regional-Planning/Creating-Sustainable- Places/assets/Kansas-City_Profile_23August2013.aspx. MARC. 2015a. Transportation Improvement Program 2016-2020. Mid-America Regional Council. Retrieved from: http://marc.org/Transportation/Plans-Studies/Transportation-Plans- and-Studies/TIP/Assets/TIP_2016-2020_adopt.aspx. MARC. 2015b. Transportation Outlook 2040âChapter 14.0, âEquity.â Mid-America Regional Council. Retrieved from: http://www.to2040.org/assets/2015_plan/ 14.0_Equity_adopt_final.pdf. MARC. 2015c. Transportation Outlook 2040âAppendix G, âPublic Participation.â Mid- America Regional Council. Retrieved from: http://www.to2040.org/assets/2015_plan/ AppendG_PPP_adopt_final.pdf. MARC. 2015d. Transportation Outlook 2040âAppendix J, âEnvironmental Justice Analysis.â Mid-America Regional Council. Retrieved from: http://www.to2040.org/ assets/2015_plan/AppendJ_EnviroJustice_adopt_final.pdf.
Interview Case Studies B-55 Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) Agency Context The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) is a medium-sized MPO serving central Ohio and Columbus, one of Ohioâs three largest cities. In addition to serving as the regionâs MPO, the MORPC also provides the following services to the area: rural planning, air quality awareness programs, a weatherization program, low-income home rehabilitation, public policy coordination, and a rideshare program. The MORPC has 40 staff members, one full-time equivalent of which had equity-related analyses as part of their core job responsibilities. At the MORPC, equity responsibilities were split between the public involvement team and the modeling group, and this is a good example of integrating public involvement with technical analysis. The MORPC partners with the regionâs transit provider to gain an understanding of the long- range plan for transit in the region, but the two agencies tend to work separately on fulfilling their relative Title VI and environmental justice (EJ) obligations. The agencies exchange data, and the MORPC provides modeling support for the transit agencyâs long-range and regional forecasts. Equity Analysis Process The MORPC conducts equity analyses as part of its Long-Range Plan, Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), and other special studies as necessary. Public Involvement In a survey of public involvement effectiveness, the MORPC responded that community workshops, charrettes, and interactive gaming exercises are very effective. Public meetings at neighborhood centers were more effective than those held at central government centers, as were focus groups and listening sessions. Online survey tools were more effective than general use of social media. The long-range planâs public involvement appendix revealed: The Community Advisory Committee includes low-income and minority participants and participates in MORPCâs planning efforts. The MORPC tracked the numbers of comments received at various points, which ranged from two comments on the plan goals to 718 comments made on an interactive webmap of project suggestions. The appendix also listed responses, such as â3 additional high-capacity transit corridors were included for study.â Identifying Populations for Analysis The MORPC has analyzed the impacts of its activities on racial subgroups, ethnic subgroups, persons with disabilities, older adults (over age 65), low-income households, and zero-vehicle households. Based on feedback from equity stakeholders, the latest TIP focused on minority status Case Study at a Glance State(s) Serviced: Ohio MPO Size: 40 MPO Service Population: 1,426,183 Tools & Models Used: Travel-demand model, GIS Innovative Practice: Population-based analysis avoids common problems with identifying underserved persons by geographic area alone
B-56 Equity Analysis in Regional Transportation Planning Processes and low-income households rather than also providing analysis of impacts to ethnic subgroups, persons with disabilities, older adults, or zero-vehicle households. The MORPC was the only agency in the study that used a population-based analysis, which examined the effects of their activities on all underserved persons in the region rather than just those living in areas with high concentrations. Although much of their minority and low-income populations reside in the center of the city, the MORPCâs underserved persons are geographically dispersed throughout the region, which makes a geographic approach ineffective for fully assessing the planâs outcomes and impacts on these groups. The MORPC developed their population-based approach to ensure that each person is accounted for in their analysis, rather than only members residing on a particular side of a traffic analysis zone (TAZ) boundary. MORPC staff reported to the research team that their approach would not be difficult for an MPO that maintained an in-house travel-demand model. The MORPC has linked their demographic data to their TAZs so that the travel-demand model could assess which population groups benefit under any scenario for which they run their model. To do this, they have to estimate the target and non-target population in each TAZ as follows: 1. Download census tract level demographic data from the U.S. Census American Community Survey (ACS). 2. Create an equivalency table between census tracts and TAZs, and apply the demographic data from the census block groups to the associated TAZs. Later versions of their analysis say that they sample from the censusâ PUMS (Public User Micro Sample) data for the horizon year and link that to their TAZs. 3. Increase each TAZâs population numbers to reflect the growth forecast for that TAZ based on the regionâs land use forecast. a. Quality control issue revealed: This step made the regional percentage of the target populations smaller than in the base year, which would not be correct. b. The cause: Population growth was occurring primarily in TAZs with lower percentages of target populations. c. Refinement: Identify what percentage of regional target population was missing, and realign TAZs to accommodate as described in the next step. 4. 5. To also support geographic-based analysis, identify target areas having concentrations of target populations exceeding the regional average concentration. The MORPC recognizes that use of the travel-demand model does have some weaknesses related to future forecasts and the assumptions used to build the model. For example, the MORPC travel model does not account for potential demographic changes, either in the overall composition of the regionâs demographic profile or in where people choose to live. Recently, the MORPC also added the following to comply with FTA certification reviews: (1) a map of projects, primarily highway projects given that transit projects are less conducive to mapping, overlaid on geographic areas having or not having high concentrations of underserved persons (âtarget areasâ); and (2) tables showing TIP funding going to target areas and non-target areas. Target areas for these analyses were TAZs with concentrations exceeding the regional average. They grouped TAZs into quartiles; a comparison of the 1st and 4th quartiles might be more meaningful than comparisons that include those closer to the median. Proportionally increase TAZsâ percentages of target populations (while maintaining total population for the TAZ) until they reach the same regional average percentage as in the base year. âFor example, assume 10,000 additional poverty population is needed to achieve the same 12% as in 1990 [the base year]. If, in 1990 one TAZ had 1% of the total poverty population, an additional 100 (10,000 Ã 0.01) poverty persons were added to the zone.â
Interview Case Studies B-57 Identifying Needs and Concerns The MORPCâs 2000 report reviewed existing reports and plans about the needs of target populations to develop this summary statement: âThere is a lack of a reliable, accessible, affordable, convenient, and timely transportation system that can respond to an individualâs full range of daily activities.â Specific elements included: Limited transit access to destinations in outlying areas; Transit commute times should be 45 minutes or less; Pedestrians and persons with limited mobility encounter barriers to access; Reverse commute transit options from low-income neighborhood to employment centers are insufficient; and Housing-jobs location mismatch; difficulty of crossing county lines via transit. These needs generally reflect the needs of those with limited income and with mobility challenges, but the MORPC recognizes that they may not necessarily reflect the needs of the minority community and that additional analyses would be necessary to understand the needs of minority persons who are not low-income. Other findings relate to the general needs of all members of the traveling public, as in the need to access destinations necessary to the quality of life: jobs, childcare, education, social services, medical services and health care. Assessing Relative Benefits and Burdens Tools Used Travel-demand model (Note: The type of model has evolved as the MORPCâs capabilities have evolved, but they have used a four-step model, trip-based model, tour-based model, and activity-based model.) GIS Indicators Selected The MORPC described measures falling under three categories: those that are (1) population based, (2) geographic based, and (3) visual (MORPC 2000). Population-based measures best address the environmental justice definition in that they provide information on the target population regardless of where they are located. Population- based measures take into consideration small pockets of target populations within non-target populations. Geographic-based measures, on the other hand, provide information specific to a geographic area. Some information such as congested vehiclesâ miles of travel can only be reported for an identified geographic area. The data reported within these areas are applicable to all of the populations that reside in the particular area. Thus, for an environmental justice analysis identification of the geographic area(s) of interest is very important. The geographic area(s) should have higher than average percentages of the target population and in total account for a large majority of the target population. The goal of the population- and geographic-based measures is to be able to provide a series of numbers that can be compared to determine if there are environmental justice concerns. There are, however, some data that just canât be boiled down to a number for comparison. These data can be classified as visual data. The visual data are usually presented in the form of maps. It is not possible to identify one measure that will determine if there are environmental justice issues. However, it is necessary to look at a variety of measures that provide information on different issues.
B-58 Equity Analysis in Regional Transportation Planning Processes The MORPC developed a table of potential measures listing for each measure the mode, type (population, geographic, or visual), the tool needed to measure it, and whether it could be developed in the short term, middle term, or long term (depending on current and anticipated data availability). This helped them determine their initial list of indicators (those developable in the short-term) and potential indicators to develop in the future. Because they use their travel-demand model, the MORPC can analyze relative impacts for any measure that a travel-demand model or postprocessor can produce. While this gives them a lot of flexibility, it also creates a challenge for determining which indicators to prioritize. Based on their assessments of the needs of underserved persons, they have some measures that prioritize getting to work and others that prioritize accessibility and quality of life. Measures include: Population-based measures produced out of the travel model results to assess outcomes: Numbers of destinations (jobs, shopping, and non-shopping opportunities) within a 20-minute auto trip or a 40-minute transit trip; Average travel times for trips (work/school, shopping, other purposes, all purposes, and to the central business district); and Percentage of population with access to a college, hospital, major retail destination, or central business district within a 20-minute auto trip or 40-minute transit trip. Geographic and visual measures to assess project and investment distribution: Distribution of financial commitments and transportation funding, and Map of TIP projects and funding. The travel-demand model has some limitations because analyses are generally segmented into highway or transit modes. Other modes, specifically bicycling and walking, are generally not well reflected in travel-demand models. The MORPC is discussing options for developing measures that are more multimodal in nature. Equity Analysis Process This case study focuses on the analysis process for the population-based indicators, but the later discussion of disparate impacts shows an example of the MORPCâs geographic-based analysis. When analyzing a suite of projects (as in the long-range plan or TIP), MORPC uses their travel model to develop population-based indicators using three primary methods: 1. Average Number of Jobs Nearby (and similar measures): âThe number of jobs by TAZ is one of MORPCâs standard variables. First, the model was used to estimate peak period auto travel times and peak and off-peak transit travel times from each TAZ to every other TAZ. This is commonly referred to as a travel-time skim. Next, for each TAZ based on the skim, the total number of jobs within various travel times was calculated. Finally, a weighted average number of jobs was calculated based on the number of each population group within each TAZ.â The threshold of 40 minutes was picked for transit because 45 minutes was viewed by the task force as an upper limit at which point people with other options would use the other options. They then selected a 20-minute threshold for cars to reflect their expectation that transit could reasonably take twice as long as driving alone. 2. Percent of Population Close to a College (or similar measure): They selected the same travel- time thresholds and developed a list of the areaâs colleges. âThe measure was developed by using the travel-time skims to identify the travel time from every zone to each college. The minimum time was then determined and the population for each group was summed for all the zones that were less thanâ the travel-time thresholds. 3. Average Travel Time for Work Trips (and similar measures): âThrough the modeling process different trip purposes are defined. One of these is trips from home to work (work trips). Average travel time is based on the modelâs estimated trip-making pattern. To compute this measure, first the travel-time skim is matched up with the work-trip table to compute the
Interview Case Studies B-59 average work-trip time originating from each zone. Then, the number of total trips from each zone was proportioned based on the population percent of population group for each zone. Finally, the weighted average work travel time by population group was calculated.â Defining Disparate or Disproportionate Impacts The MORPC took the approach of comparing plan-related benefits accruing to underserved persons with benefits accruing to compare populations under current conditions, a no-build scenario, and the plan scenario; if the collective benefits were not trending in the same direction for both groups, then they conducted additional research to understand why. For example, Figure B-23 shows that their plan would generate more transit access benefits for some groups of people than others. Source: MORPC (2012), 2012â2035 MTPs Figure B-23. Change in transit access by population group. Upon further investigation, they realized the effect was due to expanding service coverage to areas with lower proportions of underserved persons. Although this initially seemed like a disparate impact, the result of the expansion would benefit transit-dependent underserved persons by providing a greater range of access to jobs and services throughout the region. This example reveals the importance of resisting the temptation to jump to conclusions based on a narrowly defined threshold or indicator of disparity, and taking the time to consider the causes and effects of plan impacts. For geographic-based analysis, the MORPC quantified their map of projects overlaid with underserved communities to determine proportionate spending and produced Table IV-2 (reproduced in this document as Figure B-24) for the equity analysis of their long-range plan, showing the proportion of funding spent in target areas, non-target areas, and region-wide. This table demonstrates some of the weaknesses of a geographic-based analysis. Some 69% of the planâs spending is on region-wide projects or activities, which are not captured in a geographic- based analysis because they cannot be mapped to a particular location. For the location-specific projects, spending is higher in non-target areas, but that is where most of the MORPCâs population growth is forecast to occur; therefore, this distribution of funding could be perfectly reasonable, especially if the non-target areas have a much larger proportion of the population in general. Additionally, target areas are located in areas where the infrastructure is already built out; projects
B-60 Equity Analysis in Regional Transportation Planning Processes there are more likely to be maintenance projects, funding for which is reflected in the region-wide funding amount. Source: MORPC (2016), 2016â2040 Columbus Area MTP, Appendix D: Environmental Justice Technical Analysis Figure B-24. Project spending in underserved areas. Mitigating Inequities The MORPC has not identified any disproportionate impact of the plans and programs that it has analyzed, but their decision-making process includes a proactive approach to ensure that disproportionate impacts do not occur. Their project selection and prioritization decisions consider a range of quantitative and qualitative factors for achieving regional goals, one of which is to âPromote public investments that benefit the health, safety and welfare of people.â A quantitative measure for this goal measures what proportion of the projectâs opening day users are underserved persons versus persons from other demographic groups and how that proportion compares to the regional average shares for each population group, as shown in the blue portions of Figure B-25. Although underserved persons would use the project, the qualitative measures (in gold) indicate that the project may require takings of property in underserved communities, leading to a reduction in the projectâs score for this goal.
Interview Case Studies B-61 Source: MORPC (2016), Long-Range Plan Project Evaluation, Appendix Figure B-25. MORPC Sample Project Score. Lessons Learned and Noteworthy Practices Key lessons learned from this case study include: Population-based measures provide more depth to the analyses than simply using geographic-based measures. The MORPC recommended other MPOs try their population- based analysis approach to account for impacts to all underserved persons in the region, not just those living in a limited number of neighborhoods. The MORPC reported that their approach could be adopted by any MPO that runs their travel-demand model in house. MPOs can analyze and compare the outcomes of their plan on underserved persons by using their travel-demand model. The MORPC uses convention travel-demand model outputs (e.g., numbers of destinations within a given travel time, average commute times, and
B-62 Equity Analysis in Regional Transportation Planning Processes percent of population with access to certain destinations) to compare outcomes for underserved persons and for relevant control groups. Meaningful review of the analysis results can help determine whether uneven results are inequitable. Although the MORPC found transit access improving more in areas outside of underserved communities, this improved access also gave underserved persons more access to areas not traditionally served by transit. Resources MORPC. 2000. Environmental Justice Report: An assessment of the conformance of the Transportation Planning Process, the Transportation Plan, and the Transportation Improvement Program to the Principles of Environmental Justice. Available as âPreliminary Assessmentâ at: http://www.morpc.org/about-morpc/overview/policies/environmental- justice/index. MORPC. 2015. Transportation Improvement Program, Appendix 3: EJ Technical Analysis. Retrieved from: http://www.morpc.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/MORPCTIP2018- 2021Appendix3EJ.pdf. MORPC. 2016. 2016â2040 Columbus Area Metropolitan Transportation Plan. Appendices B, D, and G: Project Evaluation, Environmental Justice Technical Analysis, and Public Involvement. Retrieved from: http://www.morpc.org/wp- content/uploads/2017/12/060216FINAL-MTP-REPORT-merged.pdf. U.S. DOT. n.d. Smart City Challenge. Available at: https://www.transportation.gov/ smartcity.
Interview Case Studies B-63 Oregon Metro Agency Context The Oregon Metro was the first directly elected regional government in the United States, whose history in the Portland, Oregon region stretches back over three decades. Among the Oregon Metroâs many dutiesâincluding running the Oregon Zoo, the Portland Expo Center, and Portlandâs Center for the Artsâthe agency serves as the MPO for the 1.5 million people residing in Portland and 23 other cities in Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties. The Oregon Metro also manages the boundary that separates urban land from rural land in the Portland region and works with communities in the region to plan for future population growth and related needs. Equity Analysis Process The Oregon Metro conducts equity analyses as part of their Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) process and their Metropolitan Transportation Improvement Program (MTIP) process. Additionally, the Oregon Metro includes equity elements in their Air Quality and Conformity Determination and Regional Active Transportation Plan. Public Involvement When asked to provide feedback on the effectiveness of their public engagement efforts, the Oregon Metro reported that individual agency emails were the agencyâs most effective communication strategy. They also reported some success with focus groups and listening sessions with organizations and agencies; focus groups that included underserved persons; community workshops and charrettes; and online survey tools. The MPO reported that public events at central government centers, public meetings at neighborhood centers, and meetings held on weekdays and weekday evenings were ineffectual. Three of the Oregon Metroâs planning documents advance strategies to include underserved persons in the transportation planning and decision-making processes. These documents include: A Public Engagement Guide (PEG); The agencyâs Strategic Plan to Advance Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion; and The 2014 Regional Transportation Plan and 2015â2018 MTIP Environmental Justice and Title VI Report. In 2013, the Oregon Metro published the PEG as part of the ongoing effort for the 2014 RTP. This document lists social equity and underserved populations as âkey community partnersâ for the Oregon Metroâs RTP, MTIP, and air quality and conformity determination processes. To facilitate these goals, the agency includes a Local Engagement and Non-Discrimination Checklist in the PEG. The PEG advises project sponsors to use the checklist for local transportation plans and programs that will be submitted for inclusion in the agencyâs RTP and MTIP, and further advises that project sponsors should keep records of engagements in case a dispute arises. Case Study at a Glance State(s) Serviced: Oregon MPO Service Population: 2,389,228 Tools & Models Used: Investment analysis, geographic analysis Innovative Practice: Metroâs regional population-based approach and analysis of invest- ments by category provided a more holistic look at transportation investments
B-64 Equity Analysis in Regional Transportation Planning Processes The checklist includes six steps to ensure the inclusion of underserved persons: 1. Appropriate contacts should be identified and maintained; these contacts should be updated at key decision points and offered the opportunity to engage and comment on proposed actions. 2. Targeted efforts should be made to engage underserved persons leading up to key decision points and formal comment periods, and translators should be provided to LEP attendees as needed. 3. Benefits and burdens to underserved persons should be considered in light of community feedback on the proposed project. 4. A forum for timely accessible input should be provided at key decision points. 5. Public comments should be considered at key decision points and responded to as appropriate on final staff recommendations. 6. Adequate notice should be provided regarding final adoption of a plan or program at least 15 days in advance of its adoption. In addition to the PEG, Oregon Metroâs 2014 Regional Transportation Plan and 2015â2018 MTIP EJ and Title VI Report identifies a number of development stages of its RTP update process at which underserved persons should be engaged, or at which the effects of planned transportation actions should be considered. Table B-3 lists a number of these examples. Table B-3. Stages of the RTP update process at which underserved persons should be engaged or impacts considered. Additionally, Oregon Metroâs Strategic Plan to Advance Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion establishes agency-wide goals that go above and beyond the federal EJ and Title VI mandates, embedding equity in the agencyâs values and as a desired outcome for all its activities. The Strategic Plan adopts the following five goals as guideposts for developing these outcomes and indicators, and requires each of the Oregon Metroâs agencies and venues to develop its own equity action plan within 2 years of the Strategic Planâs June 2016 adoption to realize these goals. Several goals tie directly to the agencyâs public engagement efforts with underserved persons, specifically stating that the Oregon Metro: Convenes and supports regional partners to advance racial equity; Meaningfully engages underserved persons;
Interview Case Studies B-65 Hires, trains, and promotes a racially diverse workforce; Creates safe and welcoming services, programs, and destinations; and Uses resource allocation that advances racial equity. Identifying Populations for Analysis The Oregon Metro hired a doctoral candidate to conduct research on their efforts to develop a set of proposed definitions and thresholds for identifying underserved persons and significant concentrations of these groups. In addition to the required populations, the Oregon Metro considered four additional populations. These included: (1) young persons, (2) older adults, (3) zero-vehicle households, and (4) housing and transportation cost-burdened households. Because of the lack of reliable data availability, however, the latter two categories were removed from consideration. For the 2014 Regional Transportation Plan and 2015â2018 MTIP EJ and Title VI Report, the Oregon Metro analyzed the impacts of future transportation investment plans and programs on higher than average concentrations of the following five groups/subgroups using census tracts (LEP, low-income) and census blocks (people of color, age) that contain more of these populations by percentage than the regional average. Persons 17 years of age or younger as of the 2010 Census, Persons 65 years of age or older as of the 2010 Census, People of color in the 2010 Census, Persons who identify as speaking English âless than very wellâ in the ACS, and Persons in households living at 185% of federal poverty guidelines. The criteria used to define these groups/subgroups and population thresholds were ultimately determined by a technical survey distributed to representatives from community-based organizations serving on the Oregon Metroâs various equity and public involvement committees in addition to local partner staff from the agencyâs technical advisory committees. Of the 100 surveys distributed to members of these groups, 19 responses were recorded. Because of its technical nature, the survey was not intended for wider public dissemination. Identifying Needs and Concerns Scoping For the 2014 RTP and 2015â2018 MTIP, the Oregon Metro built upon the agencyâs previous efforts as well as complementary efforts from TriMet, the regionâs transit provider. The Oregon Metro proposed thresholds for identifying underserved communities and an initial quantitative methodology for analyzing the distribution of benefits and burdens. Investment Analysis The EJ and Title VI assessment conducted for the 2014 RTP and 2015â2018 MTIP used an investment analysis to quantify disproportionate and/or disparate investment of the financially constrained projects in the RTP and MTIP. To establish a regional benchmark for measuring disproportionality, the Oregon Metro initially considered analyzing transportation investments per person. However, realizing that population density can skew these results, this benchmark was refined to include transportation investments per person per acre (Figure B-26).
B-66 Equity Analysis in Regional Transportation Planning Processes Source: Oregon Metro (2014), 2014 RTP and 2015â2018 MTIP EJ and Title VI Report Figure B-26. The Oregon Metro uses investment per person per acre as its unit of equity analysis. The Oregon Metroâs equity analysis takes a hybrid quantitative and qualitative approach to evaluate disproportionality of benefits and burdens. The quantitative analysis serves to determine whether there is disproportionality of investments when comparing underserved persons to the general population. Because of limited ability to distinguish whether individuals identify in multiple categories of underserved persons, this evaluation is conducted individually for each group rather than as a composite. On the other hand, the qualitative assessment helps to establish whether there is disproportionality at a regional programmatic scale when analyzed through the lens of different investment categories. This is distinct from the project specific evaluation conducted during the planning and project development phases of a project. Feedback from the technical survey highlighted the fact that transportation investments can vary in the nature and magnitude of their positive and negative impacts based on the transportation investment type. Therefore, the quantitative analysis compares transportation investments by type for the region as a whole and for the individual categories of underserved persons using the selected threshold. These investment categories and their respective assumptions are highlighted in Table B-4. Table B-4. The Oregon Metro categorized transportation investments into four broad categories. Although these broad categories eliminated much of the nuance, and there was some concern this framework perpetuated a mentality of competition between modes, Oregon Metro staff elected
Interview Case Studies B-67 to continue with this framework for the sake of the analysis, recognizing that project-level impact analysis will be conducted during other phases. Geographic Analysis To assign the regionâs transportation investment to underserved communities, Oregon Metro staff took a conservative approach and used an intersect rule, meaning any census tract or census block was assigned the value of the transportation project if: (1) there was the presence of one or more underserved communities when assessing investment levels for the total population of an underserved community or (2) there was a high concentration of individual underserved persons as defined by the thresholds. These investments were then totaled to establish at a regional scale the amount of investments to individual categories of underserved communities (see Figure B-27). The Oregon Metro used regional transportation investment per capita per acre as the benchmark of comparison in this analysis. Because of the different distribution of the five population groups and subgroups the overall investment level will be different for each. Source: Oregon Metro (2014), 2014 RTP and 2015â2018 MTIP EJ and Title VI Report Figure B-27. Locations of proposed investments with respect to concentrations of low-income populations. The Oregon Metro acknowledges the limitations inherent in this approach, and does not seek to use the results of this analysis to determine disproportionality of impacts, but rather to inform a qualitative discussion focused on areas of disproportionality to determine any programmatic benefits and burdens.
B-68 Equity Analysis in Regional Transportation Planning Processes Defining Disparate Impact Unlike the disproportionate burden analysis, Metroâs disparate impact analysis seeks to draw a conclusion from the quantitative analysis using the specific assessment guidelines established through case law. As a result, this analysis looks at the proportion of transportation investment per person per acre for underserved communities compared to the region to indicate disparate impact. Qualitative Assessment of Planned and Programmed Investments The purpose of the qualitative assessment phase is to assess feedback received through stakeholder engagement and public comment to determine whether there is a programmatic disproportionate burden on underserved persons. This is done in acknowledgment that local context plays a significant role in determining the nature and magnitude of impacts. For the purpose of this assessment, the Oregon Metro developed a matrix of potential benefits and burdens resulting from transportation investments, a few of which are highlighted in Table B-5. Table B-5. The Oregon Metro developed a matrix of potential impacts for the qualitative assessment. Data for the qualitative analysis was gathered through both an online survey and small group discussions with underserved persons. Participants were asked two questions: What are the potential burdens from investments in roads, transit and active transportation? Are there things we can do on a regional level (through policies or programs) to address, mitigate, and/or prevent the potential burdens? Findings From the quantitative analysis, the Oregon Metro determined that each underserved community receives a greater amount of transportation investment than the rest of the region and that this is reinforced even in concentrated areas of underserved persons. Likewise, the programmatic scale quantitative analysis shows that across the individual investment categories, the underserved communities receive greater investment than the region as a whole. As a result of this analysis, the Oregon Metro concluded that the RTP disproportionately overinvests in underserved communities. Using the ratio of the regionâs total transportation investments to the total transportation investments for an underserved community, the disparate impact analysis yielded similar findings (see Table B-6). These findings were constant for both the RTP and MTIP. Based on the quantitative analysis, the Oregon Metro determined there was no disproportionate or disparate burden to underserved persons.
Interview Case Studies B-69 Table B-6. RTP, per person per acre investment ratio compared to regional average. For the final report, findings of programmatic disproportionate burdens were also analyzed using feedback received through the qualitative assessment. During the public comment period for the qualitative assessment, the Oregon Metro received eight comments. In addition to the official public comment period, qualitative feedback was gathered from a number of other public meetings. Additionally, efforts were made to schedule discussions with community groups serving underserved persons. The feedback received in this phase is documented in the 2014 RTP and the 2015â2018 MTIP EJ and Title VI report. Comments include statements that the Oregon Metroâs assessment methodology does not evaluate outcomes and impacts of most interests to underserved persons, including Improved accessibility and mobility to work and amenities (particularly pertaining to transit service); Potential for and reduction to market-driven displacement; Reducing housing and transportation cost-burden; Improved safety (particularly in the form of active transportation infrastructure for safer walking environments); and Improved public health. Current Initiatives and Aspirations Traditionally, the Oregon Metroâs evaluation of equity in transportation decision-making has focused on engagement, demographic analysis and geographical distribution of funding. However, feedback regarding previous efforts, along with input from elected officials who wanted to understand better how planned investments addressed the transportation needs of underserved persons has led the agency to overhaul its efforts and push toward a more analytical approach. The Oregon Metro has begun conducting a transportation equity assessment for its 2018â2021 MTIP that will focus on social equity outcomes of proposed transportation investments for the five categories of underserved persons assessed in the 2014 RTP. The 2018â2021 MTIP Transportation Equity Assessment takes a programmatic look at the investments included in the document to determine whether progress is being made toward equity outcomes expressed by underserved persons and whether the totality of programmed investments is disproportionately impacting underserved persons, and if so, whether mitigation measures are needed. The Oregon Metro convened the Transportation Equity Assessment Working Group to guide the equity analysis through five phases: 1. Project startup, 2. Document existing policies and trends, 3. Establish analysis methods and prioritize outcomes,
B-70 Equity Analysis in Regional Transportation Planning Processes 4. Conduct analysis and prepare findings and recommendations, and 5. Adopt the transportation equity analysis as part of the 2018 RTP and 2018â2021 MTIP. The assessment took the form of an equity-based scenario planning analysis comparing base- year conditions and anticipated conditions resulting from the short-term investment program. The Oregon Metroâs Data and Research Department developed a suite of tools for this effort that support the modeling of changes in economic, demographic, land use and transportation activity. The tools also used GIS and the regionâs travel-demand model to assess connectivity, safety, and other outcomes of the investment program on underserved persons. In following best practices, the effort was led by underserved persons who identified accessibility, affordability, safety and public health as key areas of concern. These themes then were translated into system evaluation measures to be applied to the analytical framework. The 2018â2021 MTIP Transportation Equity Assessment was inspired by an earlier initiative that was conducted in the San Francisco Bay Area by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), and will serve as a learning tool in refining the assessment for the regionâs 2018 RTP update. Future iterations of the RTP and MTIP may also use the outcomes and indicators developed in the agency-wide Strategic Plan to Advance Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion to inform analyses of benefits and burdens. In addition to the needs identified by the Transportation Equity Assessment Working Group in the 2018â2021 MTIP Transportation Equity Assessment, Oregon Metro staff identified a need to measure displacement of underserved persons and these groupsâ exposures to toxic substances. However, this is currently beyond Metroâs technical capacity. The 2014 RTP also sets ambitious targets to increase access to daily needs by bicycle and public transit for underserved persons. The data and methodology were not defined in the 2014 update of the RTP, but will be developed for the 2018 RTP. Lessons Learned and Noteworthy Practices Key lessons learned from this case study include: With its agency-wide Strategic Plan to Advance Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, the Oregon Metro is seeking to make equity and engagement with underserved persons a core function of the agencyâs activities; establishing performance measures will help the agency track its success in this regard. The Oregon Metroâs regional population-based approach and analysis of investments by category helps provide a more holistic look at transportation investments than simply looking at coincidence of all planned and programmed investments with local concentrations of underserved persons. The qualitative analysis highlighted a number of shortcomings from the perspective of members of underserved communities; the Oregon Metro is currently using this feedback along with stakeholder guidance to inform its 2018â2021 MTIP and 2018 RTP equity assessment. Resources Oregon Metro. 2014. 2014 Regional Transportation Plan and 2015â2018 Metropolitan Transportation Improvement Program Environmental Justice and Title VI Report. Retrieved from: http://www.oregonmetro.gov/civil-rights-assessment-2014-regional-transportation- plans/. Oregon Metro. 2016. Strategic Plan to Advance Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. Retrieved from: http://www.oregonmetro.gov/strategic-plan-advance-racial-equity-diversity- and-inclusion.
Interview Case Studies B-71 Oregon Metro. 2017. Transportation Equity Work Group Meeting #7. Retrieved from: http://rim.metro-region.org/webdrawer/webdrawer.dll/webdrawer/rec/469731/view/. Oregon Metro. 2013. Public Engagement Guide. Retrieved from: https://www.oregonmetro. gov/sites/default/files/2014/05/02/11122013_public_engagement_guide_final_adoption_ draft.pdf/.
B-72 Equity Analysis in Regional Transportation Planning Processes Wichita Area MPO Agency Context The Wichita Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (WAMPO) is a small-sized MPO serving the city of Wichita and surrounding areas, including 22 cities and all or part of three counties in south central Kansas. It serves as the regionâs MPO coordinating with the state and local transit agencies for the local areaâs transportation planning and the development of metropolitan transportation plans (MTPs) and transportation improvement plans. The WAMPO has eight staff members, with one full-time equivalent position having equity-related analyses as part of their core job responsibilities. The WAMPO has cooperative agreements with the Kansas Department of Transportation (Kansas DOT) and the city of Wichita. The Kansas DOT plays an important role in the development of the MTP and the TIP. The city of Wichita is the transit provider and assists the MPO in providing an in-depth understanding of the long-range plan for transit in the region. The two agencies tend to work separately on fulfilling their relative Title VI and EJ obligations. However, the limited funding for the cityâs transit system has limited expansion of transit projects as well as transit services. Equity Analysis Process The WAMPO conducts equity analyses as part of its long-range plan, TIP, and other special studies as necessary. The WAMPO did not indicate use of planning and environmental linkages (PEL). Public Involvement In a survey of public involvement effectiveness, the WAMPO responded that using social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and emails (to community organizations, agencies, and individuals) were very effective. Focus groups and listening sessions with community service organizations were somewhat effective along with online survey tools such as SurveyMonkey and Wikimap. The public involvement appendix revealed that the WAMPO has an inclusive Public Participation Plan (PPP). The WAMPO uses a variety of techniques to involve the public in making transportation decisions; including public meetings, workshop exhibits, and other activities held during the development of transportation plans, studies, and projects. The WAMPO has a Transportation Policy Body (TPB) and Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), and these groups hold public meetings that are advertised to the public. Case Study at a Glance State(s) Serviced: Kansas MPO Size: 8 MPO Service Population: 644,610 Tools & Models Used: U.S. Census, GIS Innovative Practice: Partnerships between local agencies and state DOT to leverage resources
Interview Case Studies B-73 The following list provides a broad grouping of the three major constituency groups identified based on the varying levels of engagement and understanding of the regional transportation planning process and associated issues: The Involved Public is both knowledgeable about transportation policy issues in general, as well as the WAMPOâs role in the regional transportation planning process. These individuals/organizations already actively participate in the process and have a fairly extensive understanding of regional transportation issues and policy. Among others, this category may include elected officials. The Informed Public has some knowledge of transportation policy issues, but is not familiar with the WAMPOâs role in the regional transportation planning process. This group also may not be fully aware of the regional context underlying the transportation challenges experienced throughout the region. This middle tier often includes community leaders and opinion leaders who work at the local level. The Interested Public has an inherent interest in transportation challenges, but possesses little direct knowledge of transportation policy issues. This group, which is the largest of the three, includes the âgeneral public,â but it may also include community leaders or even elected officials who have limited exposure to transportation planning at any level. Although the plan includes sections on accessible meetings and identifying LEP populations, the plan did not provide information on how documents are provided for language assistance. Identifying Populations for Analysis The WAMPO has defined minority and low-income populations based on census tracts defined as EJ tracts if the minority population is 50% or greater and the median household income is at or below the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) poverty guidelines. They used racial subgroups for minorities and people of color as well as ethnic subgroups to categorize ethnicities. Low-income and limited English proficiency (LEP) households also were identified. The demographic factors used for minority populations are: Black/African-American, Hispanic or Latino, Asian American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander. A low-income person is defined as âa person whose median household income is at or below the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services poverty guidelines.â In terms of thresholds, the agency uses âhigh concentrationâ of minority population and low-income population. The WAMPO has analyzed the distribution of projects in environmental justice (EJ) tracts (see Figure B-28). The analysis was limited to 2015 TIP projects that could have an immediate impact on people living in an EJ tract. However, the analysis excludes Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) projects and transit projects because these projects âhave the potential to serve many people living in the region . . . and are not located in a specific geographic region.â Additionally, the analysis excludes design projects âbecause they do not have an immediate effect on the people living in an EJ tract.â
B-74 Equity Analysis in Regional Transportation Planning Processes Source: WAMPO (2014) Figure B-28. EJ projects in the WAMPO TIP. Identifying Needs and Concerns The WAMPO service area identified potential needs and concerns in areas of future expansion in which projects were not currently planned for expansion. As all population groups grow in the region, identifying the needs will be critical as future analyses are performed. Assessing Relative Benefits and Burdens Tools Used GIS U.S. Census Indicators Selected To study the distribution of projects in areas with high concentrations of underserved persons, the WAMPO associated each project with one of the following three categories: Preservation: Projects involving rebuilding a roadway or other facility without changing the number of travel lanes or other features; Modernization: Projects involving significant enhancements to a facility, but without any increase in the number of travel lanes or changing transit routes to reflect changes in employment, school schedules, or other demographic changes; or Expansion: Projects involving adding significant new capacity.
Interview Case Studies B-75 Analysis Process This case study focuses on the analysis process based on population using U.S. Census information and GIS. The WAMPO also makes some use of its travel-demand model to develop population-based indicators when analyzing projects in the MTP and TIP, but this case study does not delve into that practice. However, information was not provided on how this was done previously. Defining Disparate or Disproportionate Impacts The assessment of disparate or disproportionate impacts was based on the percentage of each type of project located in areas with high concentrations of minority populations and low-income populations. When the WAMPO compared project distributions and projects funding amounts between underserved communities and other areas, results revealed that there was a higher degree of spending within underserved communities. Mitigating Inequities The WAMPO has not identified any disproportionate impact of the plans and programs that it has analyzed. Their project selection and prioritization decisions consider a qualitative discussion of potential costs and benefits of projects. Lessons Learned and Noteworthy Practices Key lessons learned from this case study include: Small MPOs can effectively use GIS and U.S. Census data to conduct analysis. Partnerships between local agencies and state DOTs are effective when leveraging resources to determine the impacts to a region. Pilot Project Potential The WAMPO began using the current process to comply with the EJ requirements set forth by both the FHWA and the FTA in 2014, and the staff is open to adopting a new process that has proven effective by other MPOs. As the WAMPO prepares for the next TIP in 2018, a new approach could be considered for the analysis and for the public involvement process of the EJ analysis for the MTP. Resources WAMPO. 2015. Move 2040 Long-Range Transportation Plan, Environmental Justice Supplemental. Retrieved from: http://www.wampo.org/Boards/Pages/MTP-PAC.aspx. WAMPO. 2016. Transportation Improvement Plan Federal Fiscal Years 2017â2020, Appendix. Retrieved from: http://www.wampo.org/Work/ Pages/TIP.aspx. WAMPO. 2017. Public Participation Plan. Retrieved from: http://www.wampo.org/ Involved/GI%20Documents/2017%20PPP.pdf.
Abbreviations and acronyms used without definitions in TRB publications: A4A Airlines for America AAAE American Association of Airport Executives AASHO American Association of State Highway Officials AASHTO American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials ACIâNA Airports Council InternationalâNorth America ACRP Airport Cooperative Research Program ADA Americans with Disabilities Act APTA American Public Transportation Association ASCE American Society of Civil Engineers ASME American Society of Mechanical Engineers ASTM American Society for Testing and Materials ATA American Trucking Associations CTAA Community Transportation Association of America CTBSSP Commercial Truck and Bus Safety Synthesis Program DHS Department of Homeland Security DOE Department of Energy EPA Environmental Protection Agency FAA Federal Aviation Administration FAST Fixing Americaâs Surface Transportation Act (2015) FHWA Federal Highway Administration FMCSA Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration FRA Federal Railroad Administration FTA Federal Transit Administration HMCRP Hazardous Materials Cooperative Research Program IEEE Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers ISTEA Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 ITE Institute of Transportation Engineers MAP-21 Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (2012) NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration NASAO National Association of State Aviation Officials NCFRP National Cooperative Freight Research Program NCHRP National Cooperative Highway Research Program NHTSA National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NTSB National Transportation Safety Board PHMSA Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration RITA Research and Innovative Technology Administration SAE Society of Automotive Engineers SAFETEA-LU Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (2005) TCRP Transit Cooperative Research Program TDC Transit Development Corporation TEA-21 Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (1998) TRB Transportation Research Board TSA Transportation Security Administration U.S. DOT United States Department of Transportation
Equity A nalysis in Regional Transportation Planning Processes, Volum e 2: Research O verview TCRP Research Report 214 TRB TRA N SPO RTATIO N RESEA RCH BO A RD 500 Fifth Street, N W W ashington, D C 20001 A D D RESS SERV ICE REQ U ESTED ISBN 978-0-309-48168-7 9 7 8 0 3 0 9 4 8 1 6 8 7 9 0 0 0 0