Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Planning & Programming

Advancing Transportation Equity Initiative

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Advancing Transportation Equity Initiative

MnDOT is undertaking the Advancing Transportation Equity initiative to better understand how the transportation system, services and decisions-making processes help or hinder the lives of people in underserved and underrepresented communities in Minnesota. Specifically, MnDOT wants to identify key actions that transportation agencies can take to make meaningful change. The underserved and underrepresented communities this initiative will include the following:

  • Communities underrepresented in transportation processes
  • Communities experiencing known inequities in access or outcomes
  • Communities with unique transportation needs not well served by a business-as-usual approach

Direction for the initiative comes from Minnesota’s Statewide Multimodal Transportation Plan (2017) and reaffirmed in MnDOT’s current internal Strategic Operating Plan (PDF). The overall initiative includes two components – a Community Conversations pilot project and a Research Roadmap project. Additional phases are anticipated.

Objectives

The overarching objectives for the Advancing Transportation Equity initiative are to:

  • Learn more about the transportation experiences hindering the quality of life for underserved and underrepresented communities in Minnesota;
  • Identify possible solutions to address challenges faced by these communities; and
  • Initiate partnerships to advance equity in the state.

About the Community Conversations Engagement project

The purpose of the Community Conversations Engagement project is to help MnDOT better understand existing transportation-related issues negatively impacting traditionally underserved and underrepresented communities in Minnesota. Working in partnership with Management Analysis and Development (a division of Minnesota Management and Budget), MnDOT information by conducting a series of one-to-one, in-depth conversations with identified community groups. After the information gathering phase, a summary report highlighting the project findings and key themes will be created. The summary report will also help MnDOT and its partners create specific and actionable next steps towards advancing transportation equity.

About the Research Roadmap project

Through the Research Roadmap project, MnDOT will explore and evaluate existing programs and initiatives addressing transportation equity. Working in partnership with the University of Minnesota’s Center for Transportation Studies, the objective of the Research Roadmap project is to conduct a literature and program review on the topic of transportation equity. Understanding the current state of practice and research will help form recommendations for future transportation strategies that will meaningfully reduce disparities, and identify areas where additional research is needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is MnDOT?

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) is a statewide public agency overseeing the transportation of people and goods. Learn more about MnDOT.

Why is MnDOT taking on a transportation equity initiative? What do they hope to achieve?

The purpose of this initiative is to help MnDOT better understand how transportation systems, services and decision-making processes help or hinder the quality of life of people from traditionally underserved demographic communities. More specifically, MnDOT wants to identify key actions that transportation agencies, like MnDOT and its partners, can take to make meaningful change.

How is MnDOT identifying which communities should be involved in this project?

Key communities were identified by performing demographic analysis and consultation with: MnDOT staff and the University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies staff who advised us which communities to engage with.

For the Community Conversations project, Management Analysis and Development (MAD), a division of Minnesota Management and Budget, initial interviewees were selected based on demographic analysis. Each interviewee was then asked to provide feedback on who else should participate in the project.

How does this project fit in with other equity work at MnDOT?

MnDOT is looking at equity in a lot of different ways. Specifically, this initiative is looking at transportation equity at a high level. Other activities within the agency are looking at equity related to specific projects or programs. We will use the information we learn through this high-level initiative to inform future activities to address equity more specifically as well.