An Assessment of how State and Regional Transportation Agencies Advance Equity in Transportation Plans, Processes, and Implementation


To provide California with recommendations for how to advance transportation equity, this study examines how state DOTs and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) are implementing equity-based planning. The research team conducted a content analysis on the long-range transportation plans (LRTPs) and active transportation plans of six state DOTs, and the LRTPs and federal transportation improvement documents of six California MPOs to identify equity practices and performance measures in those plans. They also interviewed representatives from five state DOTs to identify methods the organizations are using to advance equity. Every organization acknowledged the importance of considering equity, but the nature and degree with which equity practices were implemented varied considerably. Outreach and engagement were the most common equity practices. Many DOTs had developed or were developing performance metrics for equity, but several lacked appropriate disaggregate data to identify effects on people of color or other marginalized population groups. Few organizations explicitly identified how equity was guiding decision-making in their plans. Innovative practices included establishing listening sessions to define transportation equity, centering public health in decision-making, developing creative ways to direct funding to the neediest communities, and institutionalizing equity through leadership positions or bottom-up decision-making within functional areas.

Jesus M. Barajas
Jesus M. Barajas
Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and Policy