Integrating Equity into MPO Project Prioritization

Methods used to integrate equity into metropolitan planning organization (MPO) prioritization processes vary significantly in scope and potential effectiveness. This research, completed for the Center for Transportation, Equity, Decisions, and Dollars (CTEDD), was undertaken to assist MPOs in developing effective methods for integrating equity into their project prioritization process as it specifically relates to improving access to opportunity for communities of concern (COCs).

To document effective methods used by MPOs, the research team explored documents from 35 MPOs across the U.S., including 16 MPOs in Florida. Documents reviewed included long-range transportation plans (LRTPs), transportation improvement programs (TIPs), equity analysis reports, public involvement plans, and other relevant materials. Six MPOs were interviewed for further insight into their prioritization processes. The interviews were used to develop case studies demonstrating effective strategies, tools, and data to select useful projects for COCs. These case studies also provided insights into success factors and lessons learned that are invaluable for agencies attempting to evaluate projects through an equity lens.

Several key findings were identified through this research, some of these findings include:

  • Prioritization practices vary significantly between MPOs,
  • The broader local context and the MPO’s unique planning environment and role influence the approaches used, and
  • Public involvement is imperative during these processes.

The report developed for this project is intended to serve as a resource for MPOs attempting to address equity and access to opportunity in project prioritization processes. The full report can be found at https://ctedd.uta.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/kris_final.pdf. For more information, contact Kristine Williams.

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