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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. Elevating Equity in Transportation Decision Making: Recommendations for Federal Competitive Grant Programs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27439.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. Elevating Equity in Transportation Decision Making: Recommendations for Federal Competitive Grant Programs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27439.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. Elevating Equity in Transportation Decision Making: Recommendations for Federal Competitive Grant Programs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27439.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. Elevating Equity in Transportation Decision Making: Recommendations for Federal Competitive Grant Programs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27439.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. Elevating Equity in Transportation Decision Making: Recommendations for Federal Competitive Grant Programs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27439.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. Elevating Equity in Transportation Decision Making: Recommendations for Federal Competitive Grant Programs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27439.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. Elevating Equity in Transportation Decision Making: Recommendations for Federal Competitive Grant Programs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27439.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. Elevating Equity in Transportation Decision Making: Recommendations for Federal Competitive Grant Programs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27439.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. Elevating Equity in Transportation Decision Making: Recommendations for Federal Competitive Grant Programs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27439.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. Elevating Equity in Transportation Decision Making: Recommendations for Federal Competitive Grant Programs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27439.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. Elevating Equity in Transportation Decision Making: Recommendations for Federal Competitive Grant Programs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27439.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. Elevating Equity in Transportation Decision Making: Recommendations for Federal Competitive Grant Programs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27439.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. Elevating Equity in Transportation Decision Making: Recommendations for Federal Competitive Grant Programs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27439.
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Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Committee on Data, Metrics, and Analytic Methods for Assessing Equity Impacts of Surface Transportation Funding Programs Consensus and Advisory Studies Division Transportation Research Board Elevating Equity in Transportation Decision Making Recommendations for Federal Competitive Grant Programs Consensus Study Report

Transportation Research Board Special Report 348 Subscriber Categories: Policy; Planning and Forecasting; Highways; Public Transportation; Administration and Management; Society; and Transportation, General Transportation Research Board publications are available by ordering individual publications directly from the TRB Business Office, through the Internet at www.TRB.org or nationalacademies.org/trb, or by annual subscription through organizational or individual affiliation with TRB. Affiliates and library subscribers are eligible for substantial discounts. For further information, contact the Transportation Research Board Business Office, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001 (telephone 202-334-3213; fax 202-334-2519; or e-mail TRBsales@nas.edu). Copyright 2024 by the National Academy of Sciences. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and National Academies Press and the graphical logos for each are all trademarks of the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. This study was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation. International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-71441-9 International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-71441-9 Digital Object Identifier: http://doi.org/10.17226/27439 Library of Congress Control Number: 2024930544

The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, nongovernmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Marcia McNutt is president. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to bring the practices of engineering to advising the nation. Members are elected by their peers for extraordinary contributions to engineering. Dr. John L. Anderson is president. The National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) was established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to advise the nation on medical and health issues. Members are elected by their peers for distinguished contributions to medicine and health. Dr. Victor J. Dzau is president. The three Academies work together as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions. The National Academies also encourage education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge, and increase public understanding in matters of science, engineering, and medicine. Learn more about the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine at www.nationalacademies.org. The Transportation Research Board is one of seven major program divisions of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The mission of the Transportation Research Board is to mobilize expertise, experience, and knowledge to anticipate and solve complex transportation- related challenges. The Board’s varied activities annually engage about 8,500 engineers, scientists, and other transportation researchers and practitioners from the public and private sectors and academia, all of whom contribute their expertise in the public interest. The program is supported by state departments of transportation, federal agencies including the component administrations of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and other organizations and individuals interested in the development of transportation. Learn more about the Transportation Research Board at www.trb.org.

Consensus Study Reports published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine document the evidence-based consensus on the study’s statement of task by an authoring committee of experts. Reports typically include findings, conclusions, and recommendations based on information gathered by the committee and the committee’s deliberations. Each report has been subjected to a rigorous and independent peer-review process and it represents the position of the National Academies on the statement of task. Proceedings published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine chronicle the presentations and discussions at a workshop, symposium, or other event convened by the National Academies. The statements and opinions contained in proceedings are those of the participants and are not endorsed by other participants, the planning committee, or the National Academies. Rapid Expert Consultations published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine are authored by subject-matter experts on narrowly focused topics that can be supported by a body of evidence. The discussions contained in rapid expert consultations are considered those of the authors and do not contain policy recommendations. Rapid expert consultations are reviewed by the institution before release. For information about other products and activities of the National Academies, please visit www.nationalacademies.org/about/whatwedo.

v COMMITTEE ON DATA, METRICS, AND ANALYTIC METHODS FOR ASSESSING EQUITY IMPACTS OF SURFACE TRANSPORTATION FUNDING PROGRAMS ASHBY JOHNSON (Chair), Executive Director, Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, Austin, TX TIERRA BILLS, Assistant Professor, Luskin School of Public Affairs, University of California, Los Angeles MARILYN BROWN (NAE/NAS), Regents Professor, School of Public Policy, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta RONALD HALL, President, Bubar & Hall Consulting, Fort Collins, CO JESSIE XU JONES, Division Head, Program Management, Arkansas Department of Transportation, Little Rock ALEX KARNER, Associate Professor, School of Architecture, The University of Texas at Austin ELIZABETH SALL, Principal, UrbanLabs, Seattle, WA VINCE VALDES, Executive Director, Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, Pittsburgh ELIZABETH WILLIAMS, Director of Data and Policy, Massachusetts Department of Transportation, Boston Study Staff KATHERINE KORTUM, Study Director (March 2022 to July 2023) MELISSA WELCH-ROSS, Study Director (August 2023 to November 2023) THOMAS R. MENZIES, JR., Director, Consensus and Advisory Studies, Transportation Research Board TIMOTHY B. MARFLAK, Program Coordinator CLAUDIA SAULS, Program Coordinator MYAH STROMAN, Senior Program Assistant Consultant SARAH JO PETERSON, 23 Urban Strategies, LLC

vii This Consensus Study Report was reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in making each published report as sound as possible and to ensure that it meets the institutional standards for quality, objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manu- script remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We thank the following individuals for their review of this report: NOAH BERGER, Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority AARON GOLUB, Portland State University KEVIN KRIZEK, University of Colorado Boulder EVA LERNER-LAM, Palisades Consulting Group TODD LITMAN, Victoria Transport Policy Institute DIANA MENDES, HNTB ANDREW OWEN, Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota IPEK NESE SENER, Texas A&M Transportation Institute Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive com- ments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations of this report nor did they see the final draft before its release. The review of this report was overseen by CHRIS HENDRICKSON (NAE), Carnegie Mellon University, and KUMARES C. SINHA (NAE), Reviewers

viii REVIEWERS Purdue University. They were responsible for making certain that an inde- pendent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with the standards of the National Academies and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content rests entirely with the authoring committee and the National Academies.

ix The committee met 16 times from December 2021 to September 2023. Portions of 10 of these meetings were open to the public and used to gather information relevant to the study. The committee thanks the following indi- viduals from the U.S. Department of Transportation for their participation in public meetings during the information-gathering process: John Augustine, Director, Office of Infrastructure and Innovative Finance Aubrei Barton, Transportation Policy Analyst, Office of the Secretary Alex Beres, Transportation Policy Analyst, Office of the Secretary Jay Davis, Presidential Innovation Fellow, Bureau of Transportation Statistics Robert Hampshire, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology Stephanie Lawrence, Director, Office of Statistical and Economic Analysis, Bureau of Transportation Statistics Ben Levine, Senior Advisor, Research & Technology Ed Strocko, Director, Office of Spatial Analysis and Visualization, Bureau of Transportation Statistics The committee thanks the following additional individuals for partici- pating in the public briefings and contributing to the committee’s work: Doug Booher, Director, TxDOT Environmental Affairs Division Stacey Bricka, Senior Research Scientist, MacroSys Research and Technology Acknowledgments

x ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Mary Buchanan, Research and Policy Manager, Transit Center Mela Bush-Miles, Transit-Oriented Development Director, Alternatives for Community & Environment Courtney Chavez, Director of Equity and Inclusion, Austin Transit Partnership Arin Gray, President, CD&P Yvette Hernandez, Director, Capital Improvement Grant-Funded Programs, City of El Paso Gloria Jeff, Livability Director, Minnesota DOT Matt Johns, Executive Director, Rapides Area Planning Commission Bill Keyrouze, Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations Jeff LaMondia, Assistant Professor, Auburn University Anna Lan, Principal Planner, Capital Metro Rose Lisska, Senior Planner, Capital Metro Diana Mendes, Corporate President of Infrastructure and Mobility Equity, HNTB Edna Parra, Community Engagement and Outreach Manager, Capital Metro Joseph Schofer, Professor Emeritus, Northwestern University Sandip Sen, Director of Planning and Scheduling, VIA Metropolitan Transit Carlos Swonke, Associate Vice President for National Practice, HNTB Anup Tapase, Principal Planner, Metropolitan Transportation Commission Katherine Kortum, Senior Program Officer, managed the study from its inception through July 2023. Melissa Welch-Ross, Senior Program Officer, managed the study from August 2023 and assisted the study committee in the drafting and preparation of this report with research and writing support from Sarah Jo Peterson, 23 Urban Strategies, LLC. Thomas R. Menzies, Jr., Director of Consensus and Advisory Studies, provided study guidance and oversight. Timothy B. Marflak, Claudia Sauls, and Myah Stroman provided administrative and logistical support. Karen Febey, Senior Report Review Officer, managed the report review process.

xi Contents PREFACE xiii ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS xvii EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1 1 INTRODUCTION 7 Inequitable Transportation Outcomes, 9 Study Origins and Charge, 16 Scope and Approach to Equity, 19 Report Organization, 23 2 EQUITY AND TRANSPORTATION FUNDING PROGRAMS 27 Transportation Funding and Competitive Grant Programs, 28 Federal Equity Activities, 35 U.S. Department of Transportation and Equity-Related Activities, 44 Analysis of Equity and Transportation Funding Programs, 49 3 EQUITY AND COMPETITIVE GRANT PROGRAMS: PLANNING, PROJECT DEVELOPMENT, EVALUATION, AND IMPLEMENTATION 53 Overview of the Competitive Grant Process, 54 Equity and Program Design Elements, 58

xii CONTENTS Equity and Planning and Project Development, 62 Equity and Proposal Submission and Evaluation, 73 Equity and Award Implementation, 80 Program Administration, 85 Closing Observations, 86 4 METHODS FOR ASSESSING TRANSPORTATION EQUITY 87 Identifying Communities of Concern: Federal and Other Approaches, 89 Community-Focused Equity Analysis Methods, 95 Access to Destinations, 102 Performance Measures and Outcomes Indicators, 107 Other Methods and Tools, 109 5 EQUITY AND CAPACITY BUILDING 113 Problems of Capacity for Equity, 114 Overview of U.S. Department of Transportation Capacity Building, 124 Partnering with Other Transportation Organizations, 132 Capacity-Building Experience Elsewhere, 133 Administrative Data and Analysis for Program Evaluation, 138 6 SUMMARY ASSESSMENT AND ADVICE 143 Recommendations, 145 Concluding Observations, 155 APPENDIXES A Study Committee Biographical Information 157 B Follow-on National Academies’ Study Statements of Task, Phases 2 and 3 161 C U.S. Department of Transportation’s Covered Programs Under the Justice40 Initiative 165

xiii During 2021, the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Executive Com- mittee had been discussing opportunities for TRB to set aside internal funds to sponsor a consensus study on transportation equity. In November 2021, Congress passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, later renamed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which included significant new federal funding for both formula and discretionary surface transportation programs. It also contained many provisions to advance equity in trans- portation, including increased funding for tribal transportation and public transit and the creation of numerous equity-oriented competitive grant programs, including programs to upgrade the accessibility of transit rail systems for people with disabilities, reconnect neighborhoods isolated by transportation infrastructure, and fund projects to benefit communities who have experienced disadvantages that may persist. Some of the discretionary grant programs were designed to squarely address equity concerns; others were not equity focused but, like most transportation projects, had an equity element to them. The TRB Executive Committee elected to sponsor a study that would provide recommendations to the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) on how to best elevate equity in transportation decision-making processes. U.S. DOT’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology, in recognition of the value that such advice could provide to the department in shaping its many new and redesigned surface transportation funding programs, matched the funding that the TRB Executive Committee offered to fully fund a study. Consequently, U.S. DOT’s competitive grant programs are the focus of this report. In the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022, Congress called on U.S. DOT Preface

xiv PREFACE to sponsor follow-on TRB studies on equity metrics and analytic tools applicable to a wider array of surface transportation funding programs.1 The first phase of that follow-on work began in late 2023 and will be fol- lowed by a second phase to pilot-test the study’s recommendations. Hence, it is anticipated that this report will provide a foundation for significant work that remains. To conduct this study, the National Academies appointed a committee of nine experts with experience in environmental justice, sociodemographic data analysis, transportation policy and administration, statistics, economics, and leaders and representatives from underserved communities. This report represents the consensus efforts of these nine individuals, who served uncom- pensated in the public interest. Their biographical information is provided in Appendix A. The study committee began its information gathering by meeting with U.S. DOT officials to learn more about their interest in the study and the growing prominence of equity considerations in U.S. DOT programs and priority setting. During its many additional information-gathering sessions that followed, the committee considered an array of topics, including the following: • The goals and requirements of executive orders related to equity and environmental justice; • The state of equity-related tools and data available to U.S. DOT and its grant applicants and awardees; • Selection processes and criteria used for U.S. DOT competitive grant programs, including Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE), Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART), the National Infrastruc- ture Project Assistance Grants program (Mega), the Nationally Significant Multimodal Freight and Highway Projects (INFRA), the Rural Surface Transportation Grant program (Rural), the Nationally Significant Federal Lands and Tribal Projects (NSFLTP) program; • Experiences and views of practitioners from large, midsize, and rural jurisdictions about applying for U.S. DOT grants; • Experiences and views of community leaders about how equity interests are and should be addressed in their communities; • The practical experiences of state departments of transportation, public transit agencies, and metropolitan planning organizations 1 Public Law 117-103. March 15, 2022; see Division L, Title I—U.S. Department of Trans- portation, Office of the Secretary, Research and Technology.

PREFACE xv in addressing equity through project planning, prioritization, and development; • Federal environmental assessment obligations and processes and their equity-related requirements; and • Research on equity analytic methods and opportunities for incor- porating equity into transportation planning and community out- reach processes. In addition to sessions devoted to these varied topics, the study committee convened a workshop in which committee members, U.S. DOT officials, expert analysts, and community stakeholders explored the practical issues associated with conducting equity assessments and evaluating proposals for equity impacts. The study committee and TRB wish to thank the many individuals who participated in these public sessions and who are identified in the Acknowledgments section.

xvii AMPO Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations ASPE Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services BIL Bipartisan Infrastructure Law CEI Cost Effectiveness Index CMAQ Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program CTAA Community Transportation Association of America DBE disadvantaged business enterprise DIS Behavioral Health Disparity Impact Statement ETC Explorer Equitable Transportation Community Explorer FHWA Federal Highway Administration FRA Federal Railroad Administration FTA Federal Transit Administration HTF Highway Trust Fund IDeA Institutional Development Award IIJA Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Acronyms and Abbreviations

xviii ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS INFRA Nationally Significant Multimodal Freight and Highway Projects KPI key performance indicator Mega National Infrastructure Project Assistance Grants MPO metropolitan planning organization NHTSA National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NOFO Notice of Funding Opportunity NSFLTP Nationally Significant Federal Lands and Tribal Projects OMB Office of Management and Budget OST-R Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology, U.S. Department of Transportation PROTECT Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-saving Transportation (Formula Program) RAISE Local and Regional Project Assistance Grants ROUTES Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation for Economic Success S/TIP Statewide Transportation Improvement Program SAMHSA Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration SS4A Safe Streets and Roads for All TCTA Thriving Communities Technical Assistance U.S. DOT U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. DOT-OST U.S. Department of Transportation Office of the Secretary

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There has been a recently large increase in competitive federal grant programs for transportation, and the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has considerable control over how the programs are structured and the funds awarded to states and other applicants. With this, USDOT has asked TRB and the National Academies to review the ways USDOT can emphasize and promote equity within the competitive grants process.

TRB Special Report 348: Elevating Equity in Transportation Decision Making: Recommendations for Federal Competitive Grant Programs from the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is the product of an expert committee convened to fulfill this study charge.

The findings note that equity needs to be pursued across all facets of USDOT’s competitive grant programs, from goal setting and project evaluations to ensuring that all eligible participants have the capacity to apply for grants and to implement them successfully.

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