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Environmental Justice

Recent Developments

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Listed below are recent developments pertinent to environmental justice from the past six months.  If you would like to suggest a recent development on this topic, please submit a short description to AASHTO (including any pertinent links) on the Share Info with AASHTO form.

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AASHTO CEE Requests Proposals for Environmental Justice Community of Practice

The Center for Environmental Excellence by AASHTO is requesting proposals for consultant support for its Environmental Justice Community of Practice. The Environmental Justice CoP will focus on a range of topics across disciplines including planning, design, construction, maintenance, and operation of highway and transit systems. It is expected that deliverables under this task will include products such as webinars, conference calls, case studies or white papers. The members of the CoP, in collaboration with the Center for Environmental Excellence Technical Working Group, will identify the deliverables to be completed within the project timeframe and budget constraints. Proposals are due on June 1, 2017, by 4 P.M. EDT. For more information, link to the RFP. (5-19-17)

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USDOT Symposium to Address Transportation, Civil Rights

The U.S. Department of Transportation is conducting a symposium to facilitate discussion around the transportation civil rights community. The symposium will include a series of web conference sessions to address development and implementation of Title VI best practices; provide tools for participants to effectively communicate and engage with diverse limited-English-proficient communities; and discussion of technological changes that are reshaping how transportation is provided. The sessions will also include discussion of regulatory requirements concerning service animals in air travel and the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program. The symposium is scheduled for May 17-18, 2017. Link here to register. For more information, link to the announcement. (4-27-17)

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Q and A Guidance on Title VI Complaints Updated by FHWA

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has updated question-and-answer guidance concerning handling of alleged violations of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. The document addresses complaint-filing procedures, complaint processing and potential outcomes. The document also addresses investigation timeframes and how agencies gather information. FHWA regulations direct state departments of transportation to develop procedures for processing Title VI complaints filed with state DOTs against their federal-aid highway subrecipients. For more information link to the document. (3-27-17)

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FHWA Webinar to Discuss Use of EJ, Context Sensitive Solutions to Enhance Livability

The use of context sensitive solutions (CSS) and environmental justice (EJ) to enhance livability will be addressed in an April 12 webinar sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration. The webinar will include discussion of strategies such as stakeholder engagement, identification of adverse impacts and implementation of CSS to improve livability in disadvantaged communities. The webinar also will include discussion of how CSS and EJ principles can be incorporated into the transportation decisionmaking process. For more information, link to the registration page. (3-27-17)

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Environmental Justice Workshop Materials Posted by FHWA

The Federal Highway Administration has posted resources from a series of webinars held in 2016 on environmental justice (EJ). The webinars were part of an effort known as the Environmental Justice Tools Peer Network, which facilitates efforts to share best practices using data tools such as EJSCREEN, American FactFinder, Equitable Target Index, DataFerrett and INVEST. For more information, link to the webinar materials. Webinar recordings are available upon request. (3-14-17)

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Report Highlights Importance of Climate Adaptation and Equity

The Georgetown Climate Center has released a report concerning an April 2016 workshop on equity and climate adaptation. The workshop addressed city-level actions to combat unequal risks; an increase in diversity, community participation, and leadership in adaptation planning; and ensuring that climate change preparation efforts are benefiting and not negatively affecting those most at risk of impacts. The workshop also focused on examples of community-driven planning in New York and Michigan and highlighted the challenges facing city governance in addressing equity. The report highlights the importance of an inclusive process to set adaptation priorities and policies within communities; relationship-building that is not project-specific; identification of ways that cities reinforce inequities; and directing resources to groups that are facing the greatest risk. For more information, link to the report. (2-14-17)

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Guide Released on Measuring Equity, Opportunity in Transportation

The Governors’ Institute on Community Design has issued a resource on the data, tools and methodologies needed for transportations officials to measure access to opportunity in their planning efforts. The guide defines “access to opportunity” as how well transportation systems link people to economic opportunity, resources and essential services. The guide addresses the changing priorities in transportation performance management and how some transportation agencies are already incorporating measures of access into their programs. The guide also details the data and tools available to measure transportation equity. For more information, link to The How and Why of Measuring Access to Opportunity: A Guide to Performance Management. (1-1-17)

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Report Details Environmental Justice Strategies for Rural, Small Communities

The Federal Highway Administration has released a report to help transportation agencies develop effective, replicable strategies for public involvement in planning and programming in small communities and rural areas. The report specifically focuses on engaging environmental justice (EJ) communities to co-create strategies to mitigate or avoid prospective EJ issues. The report found that effective practices required as diverse a set of strategies in smaller metropolitan areas as in those with larger populations, but that smaller areas’ planning agencies have correspondingly smaller staffs and must be selective. For more information, link to the report. (1-5-17)

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FHWA Addresses EJ Considerations for Tolling and Automated Vehicles

The Federal Highway Administration has released two facts sheets exploring environmental justice (EJ) considerations with regard to tolling, managed lanes, and connected and automated vehicles. The fact sheet on tolling describes different planning- and project-level scenarios and their potential impacts on EJ populations. The fact sheet also provides considerations for understanding the socio-economic impacts of tolls. The fact sheet on connected and automated vehicles includes a description of those technologies, what they might mean for EJ populations, and what the FHWA is doing to address the issue. Both fact sheets link to resources. For more information, link to the fact sheets on tolling and connected and automated vehicles. (12-22-16)

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AASHTO Issues Roadmap to Advance EJ State of Practice

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials has issued the Environmental Justice Roadmap, intended to be a single point of reference on environmental justice efforts in transportation planning and project development. The guide, which is for state and federal partners as they seek to improve the EJ state of the practice in all phases of transportation decision making, includes eight key focus areas. For each focus area, the Roadmap identifies the current state of practice, strategies for moving the practice forward, and further considerations for state and federal partners. For more information, view the Environmental Justice Roadmap. (11-4-16)

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FHWA Releases Report on EJ and Regional Models of Cooperation

The Federal Highway Administration has released a report on a peer exchange workshop held in Ohio concerning the incorporation of environmental justice considerations in transportation planning. The peer exchange focused on regional models of cooperation, a program of the FHWA’s Everyday Counts Initiative that provides enhanced cooperation between state departments of transportation, metropolitan planning organizations and other stakeholders to support common goals in transportation. The workshop discussed methods of effectively incorporating environmental justice and civil rights concerns in transportation projects that cross jurisdictional boundaries. For more information, link to the report. (10-3-16)

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Walking Collaborative Releases Social Justice Toolkit

The Every Body Walk! Collaborative has launched a social justice toolkit providing resources to help achieve objectives related to equity, fairness and justice within communities. The toolkit also fosters conversations around social justice and equitable communities and demonstrates how efforts to promote walkable communities can be used to foster equity. For more information, link to the toolkit. (9-13-16)

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Featured Case Study

  • Case Study Photo

    Pennsylvania DOT has developed its Every Voice Counts planning-level environmental justice guidance as well as separate project-level guidance.

    Read Case Study >Photo: Pennsylvania DOT

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New - items posted in the last 7 days

AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials)
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