Project

Vermont Transportation Equity Framework

For the Vermont Agency of Transportation (AOT), EBP worked as part of a team led by RSG to assess the equitability of the agency’s existing decision-making practices and conduct a needs analysis and gap assessment of AOT’s available business processes, resources, and tools.  

To determine best practices for equitable state DOT procedures, EBP first conducted a literature review, analyzing existing national guidance and best practice on equity integration (including the Justice40 initiative). EBP then led the gap analysis which synthesized findings from stakeholder engagement and the best practice review to identify key opportunities for improvement. This gap analysis provided the framework within which detailed equity improvement recommendations were developed. 

The resulting nineteen recommendations were segmented into four distinct organizational pillars: distributive equity, procedural equity, contextual equity, and corrective equity (see figure below). For each of the equity goals and associated recommendations, three foundational recommendations were established in the framework: 

  1. Improve practices for identifying underserved communities including leveraging state data and developing local datasets. 
  2. Seek opportunities to improve community trust and involvement by removing barriers to engagement. 
  3. Develop community engagement plans and public involvement processes specifically focused on underserved and historically marginalized communities. 

For all recommendations, specific strategies were developed to provide tangible steps that AOT and/or regional planning agencies could take to narrow existing equity gaps in the transportation planning process. For example, for the three foundational recommendations, this included the following strategies (in addition to others): 

  • Develop best practices on creating and using local data.
  • Develop guidance for identifying underserved communities in study areas./
  • Develop ongoing relationships with organizations that represent or serve the needs of underserved communities.
  • Identify liaisons representing underserved communities and form relationships with these individuals to establish a consistent dialogue with each community.
  • Provide training for AOT staff and other partners on approaches, methods, and strategies included in community engagement plans.
  • Determine the feasibility of continued use of direct compensation to reduce barriers to participation for underserved communities.

The Transportation Equity Framework in its entirety can be downloaded here.