Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Planning & Programming

Advancing Transportation Equity Initiative

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Research Projects

Current

Equity in Performance Measurement (due by early 2022)

This research project will synthesize previous research investigating equity assessments by MnDOT, academia, and industry, leveraging these findings in concert with directly-collected community experience and staff expertise, to achieve the following objectives

  • Establish a detailed understanding of current challenges and needs related to equity assessment in Minnesota
  • Identify or develop assessment methods and equity-focused strategic actions that will improve the likelihood that transportation equity in Minnesota is assessed in a manner that achieves context-sensitive outcomes representative of the communities served
  • Facilitate the adoption of identified or developed equity assessment methods and complementary strategic actions through a training program including information detailing the appropriate use cases, data requirements, and considerations

Work is in process and expected to be completed in early 2022. Sign up for updates following this link to research project page.

Gender Equity in Transportation (due by late 2022)

The proposed project will examine whether the psychological, socially constructed gender may lead to distinct activity-travel patterns using survey data collected at individual levels. The project will use the 2019 Travel Behavior Inventory (TBI) household surveys from Metropolitan Council and collect additional data in Greater Minnesota using smartphone survey app. The project will identify groups with gender-typical patterns (the personae) and relate these patterns to sex and other demographic, economic and social characteristics of each group (the context). The project will use the smartphone survey to compare the identified personae and reported identity, examine relate the SWB outcomes to the identified patterns, and investigate variations in these findings across urban, suburban, and rural areas in Minnesota. The findings can provide novel insights toward the understanding of gender differences in transport needs and behavior patterns and support effective transportation planning and policy to promote equity. Results are expected to identify future research needs.

Work is expected to start in spring 2021.

Previous

Research Roadmap (2019)

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 partnership with the University of Minnesota’s Center for Transportation Studies in spring 2019.

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 transportation 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

A summary (PDF) and full report (PDF) are available for more information.