Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Planning & Programming

Advancing Transportation Equity Initiative


Research Roadmap Project


Through the Research Roadmap project, MnDOT identified and evaluated existing programs and initiatives addressing transportation equity. The objective of the Research Roadmap project was to understand the current state of practice and form recommendations for future transportation strategies that will meaningfully reduce disparities and identify areas where additional research is needed. This work was completed in spring 2019.

Project summary

This study included participation from key partners and the public through two groups and an engagement event. The advisory team consisting of other government agency staff, university researchers, and external community partners with expertise in addressing inequities provided guidance on tasks and deliverables to MnDOT and the Center for Transportation Studies. A stakeholders group provided feedback on how transportation contributes to inequities for underserved and underrepresented communities and populations. Researchers and MnDOT staff attended an event hosted by the University of Minnesota’s Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center in North Minneapolis. Attendees described day-to-day transportation challenges by different modes of travel (e.g., walk, transit, drive, etc).

The final report summarizes recent developments in the field of transportation equity and describes equity-focused programs within and beyond the transportation sector. Highlights from the literature and state of practice review include:

  • Advancing transportation equity efforts need to focus on both the structural inequities built into society — such as auto dependency — and the transportation barrier that affect specific communities and populations
  • Equity initiatives are likely to require actions beyond a transportation agency’s traditional responsibilities
  • Top opportunities for advancing equity include inclusive public engagement and interagency collaboration

Recommendations resulting from the literature and state of practice review and input from our partners provide strategies that MnDOT might consider in meaningfully advancing transportation equity. Some strategies MnDOT may consider to advance equity are:

  • Changing policies and practices strengthening consideration of equity in planning, implementing, and coordinating transportation in Minnesota
  • Helping local agencies responsible for transportation improve equity considerations in their programming
  • Improving equity in inter-agency coordination

MnDOT is reviewing recommendations for further research to understand how different strategies can meaningfully impact advancing transportation equity.

Frequently asked questions

What is the Research Roadmap Project?

Through the Research Roadmap project MnDOT explored and evaluated existing programs and initiatives addressing transportation equity. The project resulted in recommendations for transportation partners in Minnesota to implement and identified areas for further research.

How were the findings from this project communicated?

The information from this project was be gathered, analyzed and presented via a final report. MnDOT shared the results with study participants, agency staff, key partners, and the public through social media, newsletters, press releases, and more. The project summary and full report are available for review..

Who did MnDOT partnering with to complete this project?

MnDOT partnered with the University of Minnesota’s Center for Transportation Studies (CTS) to help complete the tasks in this project. A project advisory group consisting of professionals from transportation agencies, key stakeholder organizations and research institutions helped structure and develop content for the project.

How were the various key stakeholder communities identified?

Key communities were identified by performing demographic analysis and consultation with our project partners at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Transportation Studies. MnDOT transportation planning partners were involved in identifying programs and people who provided meaningful input for further research.

I have a different question about the project.

If you are interested in learning more about the Research Roadmap project please contact Hally Turner.