2.6.2 HT Incorporating Equity into Resource Allocation


Incorporating Equity into Resource Allocation

This guide summarizes the steps involved in performing an equity analysis to support the resource allocation process. Agencies can use this guide to help inform their approaches for measuring, analyzing and ensuring equity in decision-making. Note that this guide is a summary of the materials presented in TCRP Report 214, Equity Analysis in Regional Transportation Planning Processes. This report has additional details on each of the steps described here. Also, Section 2.6.2 of this document discusses basic concepts and considerations in evaluating equity.

Prior to and throughout performing the steps described here, an agency should engage its stakeholders in the process of defining and evaluating equity. TCRP Report 214 describes this overarching step as “Lay the Foundation with Public Engagement” and Section 2.6.2 discuss this consideration.

  1. Step 1. Identify Populations for Analysis

    Identify the groups for which equity will be analyzed. An analysis must include required populations and population groups. Federal regulations related to Title VI and Environmental Justice identify specific groups for which certain types of analyses are required, such as in development of an MPO’s long range plan. States and local agency may have additional requirements regarding populations and groups for which equity should be analyzed. Required groups may be defined by race, ethnicity, income, English proficiency, or other factors.

    An agency may wish to include other underserved persons or communities in its analysis of equity in TAM. For instance, it may be desirable to perform an analysis specific to persons with disabilities if evaluating pedestrian infrastructure.

  2. Step 2. Identify Needs and Concerns

    In this step the agency should gather input on what specific needs and concerns should be considered in the equity analysis. TCRP Report 214 describes the following sub-steps:

    • Gathering input from the populations included in the analysis.
    • Assessing the burdens imposed by the transportation system.
    • Assessing access to the benefits of the transportation system.
    • Validating the findings using stakeholder input.

    For a TAM-related analysis an agency should consider, at a minimum, differences in asset condition between different populations. Typically, TAM investments are not assumed to change accessibility to the transportation network. However, it may be the case that if assets are allowed to deteriorate, they may fail or impede access to the transportation system.

  3. Step 3. Measure Impacts of Proposed Agency Activity

    The next step is to measure impacts of agency activity. TCRP Report 214 describes the following sub-steps for this step:

    • Select indicators.
    • Differentiate project types for evaluation.
    • Measure outputs.
    • Measure outcomes.
    • Document the task, outputs, and outcomes.

    For a TAM-related analysis it is recommended that an agency establish performance measures that support this step, including, but not limited to, measures of asset condition. An agency may wish to include additional measures in this step, such as measures of accessibility defined for an agency’s broader analysis of the projects in its Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP). The agency should document existing measures for each population included in the analysis, and the predicted values for each measure, population, and resource allocation scenario being evaluated.

  4. Step 4. Determine Whether Impacts are Disparate or Have Disproportionately High and Adverse Effects (DHAE)

    Once the agency has quantified the impacts of each resource allocation scenario, it is next necessary to determine whether the impacts are disparate, or have DHAE. Essentially, this step involves comparing the measures calculated for specific populations in Step 3 to the entire population served by an agency. Ideally, the result is that the agency finds that the measures and any changes in the measures are consistent across different populations. However, where there are differences in the results between different populations, it is necessary to consider whether the differences are large enough to merit adjustments to the investment scenario or some other action.

    For analyses that are Federally-required, such as in development of a TIP, there are specific legal criteria for this step. For other analyses an agency should establish and document its criteria for evaluating impacts, along with the results of its assessment.

  5. Step 5. Develop Strategies to Avoid or Mitigate Inequities

    The final step is to make adjustments in an agency’s investments as needed to avoid or mitigate inequities. For TAM resource allocation this may involve:

    • Reallocating resources to either reduce negative impacts of investments or improve asset conditions and accessibility to benefits for the populations included in the analysis.
    • Rescoping or revising specific projects to reduce their negative impacts or increase their benefits to underserved populations.
    • Working with underserved populations to establish other approaches for avoiding or mitigating impacts and improving accessibility to benefits.