2.6.2 Integrating Equity in TAM Practices


Integrating Equity in TAM Practices

This subsection emphasizes the need to integrate equity frameworks into Transportation Asset Management (TAM) practices, addressing various types of transportation inequities. It outlines steps, including defining equity, embedding it in policies, setting clear objectives, identifying measurable criteria, engaging communities, and continuously assessing initiatives to reduce disparities and enhance access for marginalized groups.

TPM Webinar #11 - TPM and Equity

Integrating equity frameworks in transportation requires a systematic approach that addresses disparities and promotes fairness, inclusivity and community engagement. Transportation inequity can be broadly categorized into three interrelated types:

  • Spatial or Geographic Inequities: often related to historical discrimination or rural underinvestment.
  • Modal Inequity: revolves around disparities in the availability, accessibility, and quality of different transportation modes.
  • Social and Economic User Inequities: closely tied to socioeconomic factors. Marginalized and vulnerable groups might experience discrimination or safety concerns on top of reduced mobility and accessibility opportunities.

These steps are recommended to consider these inequalities in TAM planning processes:

  1. Define Equity: Define the meaning and intent behind the words we use to describe transportation equity in the context of your organization.
  2. Integrate Equity in Policies and Planning Processes: Embed equity considerations into transportation policies, plans, and guidelines to ensure all decisions consider fairness and inclusivity.
  3. Establish clear equity objectives: Set objectives that address disparities and align with the needs of underserved communities, as well as with the strategic goals of the agency.
  4. Identify Measurable Criteria: Define performance measures or indicator that are both measurable and conducive to achieving equity goals.
  5. Identify performance gaps (inequities): Collect data to identify existing disparities in transportation access, services, and outcomes among different communities. Conduct equity analyses to evaluate how transportation policies, plans, and projects impact various groups, considering factors such as income, race, gender, age, and ability. Furthermore, ensure that evaluation is integrated into planning processes, prioritization schemes, and other related procedures.
  6. Engage community: Solicit feedback from underserved communities and respond to their interests by crafting investment strategies with equity goals at the forefront. Employ diverse engagement tactics, including public meetings, surveys, focus groups, and online platforms, to ensure that all voices are heard.
  7. Implement Equity Considerations: Continuously assess the impact of implemented initiatives on reducing disparities and enhancing access for marginalized communities and identify areas for improvement in the process.


Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) has integrated equity into transportation decision-making through its Advancing Transportation Equity Initiative, which seeks to enhance access and opportunities for underserved communities in the state. This initiative is based on community input and feedback received during the development of the 2017 Statewide Multimodal Transportation Plan. The plan identified the reduction of transportation disparities and the incorporation of equity into decision-making processes as high-priority objectives. The 2022 Statewide Multimodal Transportation Plan, along with its internal Strategic Plan, includes additional goals, strategies, and actions to further advance transportation equity. MnDOT is committed to creating an equitable transportation system.

Acknowledge InequalitiesDefining Transportation Equity:Proposed Journey
MnDOT acknowledges historical injustices in transportation, where some communities were underserved and harmed by agency decisions. They recognize that past choices denied Black, Indigenous, and disabled communities full transportation benefits.Transportation equity, as defined by MnDOT, seeks fairness and justice in the distribution of benefits and burdens within transportation systems, with a focus on empowering underserved communities, particularly Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, in decision-making processes.MnDOT acknowledges that their journey toward transforming transportation systems and achieving equity requires ongoing listening, learning, adaptation, and implementation.

MnDOT has facilitated a series of conversations between MnDOT staff and individuals and organizations that work with and represent underserved communities in Minnesota through the Community Conversation Project. The objective of these conversations is to directly learn from underserved communities about their unique experiences and challenges with transportation. Main findings include:

  • Inadequate transportation options create barriers to the community.
  • Private vehicles are common.
  • Capacity of public transit does not meet demand.
  • Land use and natural barriers also affect access.
  • Relationships are key to engagement.
  • People have many ideas to solve challenges with transportation equity.
  • Organizations provided varied definitions and examples of equity.

These conversations have culminated in the creation of a report for each of the eight operational districts, which summarizes findings and provides recommendations for the future direction of transportation decisions. Additionally, MnDOT has initiated "The Equitable Contracting and Engagement" project to explore methods of enhancing the accessibility and inclusivity of MnDOT's contracting and engagement processes. MnDOT aims to collaborate with more community-based organizations and nonprofits and advance their engagement efforts. Furthermore, MnDOT has prioritized and sponsored research projects with an equity focus to enhance understanding and promote initiatives that embrace equity principles.

Note: This practice example was derived from the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s website. Further details on the “Advancing Transportation Equity Initiative” can be found here: https://dot.state.mn.us/planning/program/advancing-transportation-equity/