New Project: Improving Transportation Equity for All by Centering the Needs of Marginalized and Underserved Communities

Government policies often prioritize the needs of the dominant group or culture, resulting in systems and services that benefit some people more than others. To better address the transportation needs of underserved communities, transportation agencies must first understand people’s lived transportation experiences. Listening is a critical first step toward mitigating the effects of marginalization and discrimination in transportation.

“We need to work with those who have historically been left out of these policy decisions to learn how the current transportation systems are serving their needs,” said Lisa Austin, transportation program supervisor, MnDOT Metro District. “We need to know how people get where they need to go and where they can’t go because they have no way to get there. Once we have a better understanding of this, transportation systems and performance measures can be developed to distribute the benefits and burdens more evenly.”

Objectives

A new research study will create an advisory group composed of representatives from the community, partner agencies and tribal nations to develop customized surveys and an interview plan for study participants. Interviews with people from 15 to 20 underserved urban, rural and tribal communities will gather perspectives about the systemic barriers in transportation and other government services, and potential solutions. Researchers will collect trip and activity data from each participant for two weeks to observe the identified access barriers. The team will then develop actionable steps to address systemic discrimination and inform changes to MnDOT policies to improve equity in transportation.

Project Details

Details of the research study work plan and timeline are subject to change.

To receive email updates about this project, visit MnDOT’s Office of Research & Innovation to subscribe.

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