Equity and Health Assessment
The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) is conducting an Equity and Health Assessment, or EHA, as part of an Environmental Impact Statement for the Hwy 252/I-94 corridor in Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center and Minneapolis. This assessment involves historically underserved and overburdened populations in transportation decisions that impact social disparities and the health of people and communities.
The Hwy 252/I-94 EHA is a joint effort between MnDOT’s Office of Sustainability and Public Health, Office of Environmental Stewardship and Metro District.
Why is equity and health important to MnDOT?
The Minnesota GO Vision for Transportation envisions a multimodal transportation system that considers the health of people, the environment and the economy in transportation decisions. This vision recognizes that transportation decisions have a major impact on our physical, mental, and social health. Transportation decisions can increase or decrease our safety, physical activity, air and water quality, sense of place, connection to our environment, community cohesion and access to opportunity. To advance the Minnesota GO Vision, MnDOT is working to better incorporate these potential effects into the transportation decision-making processes.
Transportation equity ensures the benefits and burdens of transportation spending, services and systems are fair for all citizens. These decisions have historically not been fair, especially for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. Equity will empower these citizens in transportation decision making. (MnDOT working definition). Transportation equity supports the Minnesota GO Vision by distributing the benefits and burdens of transportation based on need and capacity, thereby maximizing the social, environmental and economic health of all Minnesotans.
What is an equity and health assessment?
During the Hwy 252/I-94 EHA, MnDOT will conduct additional public engagement with citizens who have been historically underserved and have born the negative impacts of transportation decisions. This outreach will focus on the role of equity and health in future transportation decisions. This engagement occurs in three phases:
- Phase 1: Identify baseline health conditions and past social inequities along the corridor
- Phase 2: Focus and assess a limited number of equity and health priorities
- Phase 3: Evaluate equity and health impacts of Hwy 252/I-94 project alternatives
The Hwy 252/I-94 EHA will produce two reports that identify and evaluate opportunities to improve equity and health conditions along the Hwy 252/I-94 corridor. The first report – Equity and Health Conditions – is expected in early 2022. The second report – Equity and Health Impacts and Recommendations – will be developed in parallel with the Hwy 252/I-94 Draft EIS.
How will the Hwy 252/I-94 EHA influence MnDOT decision-making?
The Hwy 252/I-94 EHA enhances MnDOT’s use of equity and health information at two key points in the 252/I-94 environmental review.
- The development of Hwy 252/I-94 evaluation criteria in the Hwy 252/I-94 Scoping Decision Document.
- The evaluation of Hwy 252/I-94 project alternatives in the Draft EIS.
MnDOT will document and include EHA findings into both the Scoping Decision Document and Draft EIS as public input. Significant equity and health impacts will be considered as part of the selection of a preferred project alternative and the development of impact mitigation strategies.
In addition, MnDOT will use the EHA to document findings not addressed in the Hwy 252/I-94 EIS and advance recommendations for further action in partnership with impacted communities.
Public engagement opportunities
The Hwy 252/I-94 EHA will include extensive opportunities for public engagement. Check this webpage for updates about upcoming public engagement events.
The focus of equity and health engagement conducted in Phase 1 of the EHA will center around the following questions:
- How does transportation influence the livability of your community?
- How does transportation contribute to equity?
- How does transportation contribute to your health and the health of your community?
- How do transportation decisions get made that directly impact your neighborhood? How are you involved? How should you be involved?
Equity and Health Neighborhood Advisors
Equity and Health Neighborhood Advisors (EHNA) will guide the Hwy 252/I-94 EHA. This group consists of 12-15 neighborhood residents and business owners along the Hwy 252/I-94 corridor. MnDOT’s goal in selecting EHNA members is to ensure the group is balanced across project area communities and reflective of the region’s demographic diversity.
The role of the EHNA group is to:
- Assess equity and health conditions in the communities impacted by the project;
- Oversee equity and health engagement activities;
- Guide targeted outreach to underserved and overburdened populations; and
- Provide input to MnDOT leadership and elected officials on Hwy 252/I-94 project elements and alternatives.
Initial membership of the EHNA group was announced in August 2021. Information from EHNA meetings will be posted on the project webpage.