June 20, 2019, 12:00PM (ET)
Integrating Equity Into MPO Project Prioritization
This webinar discusses methods used by MPOs to prioritize projects based on equity, based on a study funded by the Center for Transportation, Equity, Decisions, & Dollars (CTEDD). The webinar will examine how MPOs are selecting projects to provide communities of concern with greater access to opportunities, especially economic opportunity. The webinar elaborates on study findings from several case examples of MPO approaches relevant to equity in project prioritization. Representatives from two of the MPOs examined for the study, Sarasota-Manatee MPO and Boston Region MPO, will further discuss how they prioritize projects based on equity. Download Handout
Presenter: Yaye Keita, PhD, Center for Urban Transportation Research; Leigh Holt, Sarasota-Manatee MPO; and Betsy Harvey, Boston Region MPO
Yaye Keita is a Postdoctoral Scholar in the CUTR Planning and Corridor Management program. Her research focuses on equity and multimodal transportation planning. Dr. Keita is currently conducting research for the Center for Transportation, Equity, Decisions, & Dollars (CTEDD) study entitled “Integrating Equity into MPO Project Prioritization”. Her work includes an analysis of multimodal transportation issues in South Hillsborough County and a study of uncertainty and risk in statewide transportation planning for the Florida Department of Transportation. Dr. Keita obtained her doctoral degree from the University of Illinois.
Leigh Holt has been Sarasota/Manatee MPO’s strategic planning manager for three years and is responsible for coordinating all planning activities for all modes of transportation. She previously served as multi-modal program manager for Space Coast TPO where she planned for rail, trails, and ports including Kennedy Spaceport. She has 25 years of experience facilitating planning activities for community groups and local governments throughout Florida. In addition to a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and an MBA, Leigh was trained in community engagement by the U.S. Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services and is a Robert Wood Johnson Leadership Fellow.
Betsy Harvey has seven years of experience working in the public and academic sectors. For the past three years, she has been the Transportation Equity Program Manager at the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), where she is responsible for ensuring that the transportation programs, plans, and activities at the MPO comply with all state and federal nondiscrimination regulations, including Title VI and environmental justice mandates. She has a master’s in city and regional planning from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.
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Unanswered Questions during the Q&A
- How did you engage the EJ population in determining benefit vs. burden? The Polk TPO in Florida, for example, has a unique public outreach process called neighborhood mobility audit, which focuses on traditionally underserved communities. The neighborhood mobility audit entails involving and interviewing residents from various neighborhoods and evaluating how various projects will impact them. This process includes detailed level planning in the neighborhoods to identify transportation needs, such as needs for bicycle and pedestrian projects, needs for projects that will enhance access to community centers/jobs/schools, and needs for transit projects. The Polk TPO also develops a list of prioritized projects for funding in the neighborhoods based on the mobility audits and these projects are usually included in the TIP. A number of MPOs also engage representatives of communities of concern in the planning and programming process.
- Are any of the presenters aware of evidence based measures that can support the evaluation of projects? In other words, the reduction of transportation costs seems to be an obvious positive benefit but are there evidence based studies that can show a reduction in HH costs when transit is extended to a new area. Or, a reduction in VMT in areas where a new multiuse path with low stress has been built? Some MPOs evaluate equity based performance measures and targets. For example, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) in San Francisco Bay area in California have a measure and target for transportation and housing cost. This measure enables them to track their progress toward decreasing combined transportation and housing cost for communities of concern.
- Who does the scoring committee consist of in each MPO? There are also several ways scores and weights are established; though, scoring and weighting systems are generally developed based on consensus between MPO staff, MPO boards, and various MPO committees. Consultants and surveys are often used to develop appropriate scores and weights.
- Is CUTR working with the Hillsborough County MPO to get more EQUITY in our transportation planning? Especially around Vision Zero goals, and more Transit and mode choices? Thanks. Yes, CUTR is working with the Hillsborough County MPO to include equity in the planning process. A report by CUTR and NITC named “Evaluating the Distributional Effects of Regional Transportation Plans and Projects” is an example of such work. CUTR will also be working with the Hillsborough County MPO to include equity in project assessment and prioritization as part of a new project.
- Yaye – will your report have specific recommendations about best practices, or processes for determining and measuring benefits and burdens? Yes, our final report, which will be available early next year, will include recommendations about best practices, processes for determining and measuring benefits and burdens for communities of concern.