Managed lanes, like Minnesota’s E-ZPass express lanes, are designed to improve mobility and travel time reliability for transit users, carpoolers and other motorists during peak travel hours. The lanes provide many societal benefits such as increased transit ridership, higher vehicle occupancies, more reliable travel options, and reduced traffic congestion and pollution.
However, because the lanes use pricing to deliver these benefits, they must be designed, constructed and operated equitably. The key is striking a balance that’s fair for everyone.
Continue reading New Project: Enhancing Managed Lane Equity Analysis
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.
Continue reading New Project: Improving Transportation Equity for All by Centering the Needs of Marginalized and Underserved Communities
MnDOT’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program was established by the federal government to ensure women-owned and minority-owned businesses have the opportunity to participate in MnDOT contracts.
Several contracting barriers exist for DBEs, which may have been exacerbated by COVID-19, such as access to capital, a shortage of PPE materials and staffing shortfalls due to workplace risks and caregiving responsibilities.
Continue reading New Project: Understanding How the Disparate Effects of COVID-19 are Affecting MnDOT’s Efforts at Equitable Contracting
Pandemics, social unrest and natural disasters can disrupt state efforts to reach the public about projects, priorities, policy issues and services. MnDOT and other agencies have turned to Skype, Zoom, Webex, Facebook Live and other tools to present proposals and receive public input with some success. Participation in public meetings that in the past would have drawn fewer than 10 attendees may now draw 80 online.
Continue reading New Project: Public Engagement Practices During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Other Disruptive Events
This article was originally published in Catalyst, November 2020.
As momentum for connected and automated vehicles (CAVs) continues to build in Minnesota, researchers in the U’s Transportation Policy and Economic Competitiveness (TPEC) program are working to understand how CAV technology could serve transportation-disadvantaged communities. CAVs offer the potential to provide greater mobility and equity for many people, but public engagement is essential to ensure all user needs are understood and addressed.
Continue reading Connected and Automated Vehicles: Mobility and Equity for Disadvantaged Communities?
Transportation contributes to many broad societal outcomes, such as employment, wealth, and health. Some Minnesotans, however, are underserved by current systems and face disparities and barriers in reaching their destinations. According to new research from the U of M, efforts to improve transportation equity need to focus on societal inequities—such as racial segregation and auto dependency—as well as the transportation barriers that affect specific communities and population groups.
Continue reading Study recommends strategies for reducing transportation disparities
Landmark regional investments such as the transit expansion underway in the greater Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan area have the potential to significantly change long-term land-use patterns and travel behavior. They also raise important questions for policymakers and elected officials regarding the potential return on investment.
A new synthesis report from the Transitway Impacts Research Program (TIRP) pulls together seven years of research conducted by University of Minnesota researchers to help answer these questions. The report summarizes the actual and projected impacts of transitways on the Twin Cities region, offering lessons learned to help guide the build-out of the rest of the network most effectively. It concludes with a set of implications for policymakers.
The Twin Cities metro region is in the midst of a transit build-out. The Metro Blue Line (formerly known as Hiawatha), Red Line (Cedar Avenue Bus Rapid Transit), and Northstar Commuter Rail are in operation, and the Green Line (Central Corridor) opens next year. All are part of an expanding regional transit network.
Under the TIRP program, which was launched in 2006, University of Minnesota researchers provide an objective analysis of data, public perceptions, and complex impacts resulting from transitway investments. Their research is unique in its breadth, scope, and ability to provide real-time analysis of the changes experienced when a region introduces high-quality transit service.
“This body of research and objective analysis confirm the many positive ways that expanding our transit network supports economic competitiveness, greater accessibility to jobs, opportunities for populations with low incomes, and enhanced livability for our whole region,” says Kate Wolford, president of The McKnight Foundation, the synthesis sponsor. “This report undergirds why the accelerated build-out of our transit system is so important for the future prosperity of our region and its residents.”
More information about the synthesis and key findings