Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Planning & Programming

Advancing Transportation Equity Initiative


Community Conversations Engagement Project


The Community Conversations project is a series of in-person conversations between MnDOT and individuals who work with and represent underserved communities in Minnesota. Through these conversations MnDOT will learn directly from underserved communities regarding their unique experiences and struggles with transportation.

In 2018, MnDOT piloted the first set of community conversations in Northwest Minnesota. Currently, the project is focused on communities in Southwest Minnesota. 

Project highlights

For planning and operational purposes MnDOT groups Minnesota into eight different districts. Conversations have been completed in Districts 1, 2, 4, 6 and 8. Work is in process in District 7. District 3 conversations are expected in 2021.

A similar but separate process is expected for the Metro District.
MnDOT typically conducts around 30 interviews in each district with nonprofit, government, transit, education, tribal, and other partners to understand the transportation needs for underserved and underrepresented communities. Select findings include

  • Inadequate transportation options create barriers to the community
  • Private vehicles are common
  • Capacity of public transit does not meet demand
  • Land use and natural barriers also affect access
  • Relationships are key to engagement
  • People have many ideas to solve challenges with transportation equity
  • Organizations provided varied definitions and examples of equity

Frequently asked questions

How will MnDOT obtain and use the information gathered from this project?

The Community Conversations project will include a series of one-to-one, in-depth conversations between MnDOT and groups, agencies and organizations that work with and represent underserved communities in Minnesota. MnDOT will summarize the responses from the interviews to identify key actions MnDOT and its transportation partners can take to make meaningful change for these communities.

Where will this project take place?

The project started as a pilot in MnDOT’s District 2. Conversations have been completed in Districts 1, 2, 4, 6 and 8. Work is in process in District 7. District 3 conversations are expected in 2021. Planning is underway for equity outreach for the Metro District.

When will this project be completed?

The project will likely run through 2021 to ensure all districts are able to participate.

How will the findings from the project be communicated?

The information gathered from the interviews will be analyzed and presented in a final report, executive summary and trend analysis. We will also update the project website periodically.

Who is MnDOT partnering with to complete this project? 

MnDOT is primarily working with consultants from Management Analysis and Development (MAD), a division in the Department of Management and Budget, to help oversee and complete the tasks in this project. Other groups, agencies and organizations will be involved in specific interviews as part of this project.

How were the various key stakeholder communities identified?

Key stakeholder communities were identified by performing demographic analysis and consultation with MnDOT Central Office and district-level staff.

How can I participate in this project?

f you are interested in participating in this project, please contact Abdullahi Abdulle.