Environmental Justice and Transportation Investment Policy

Environmental justice is concerned with a variety of public policy efforts to ensure that adverse human health or environmental effects of governmental activities do not fall disproportionately upon minority populations and low-income populations. In the realm of transportation, environmental justice means that transportation system changes such as road improvements are studied carefully to determine the nature, extent, and incidence of probable impacts, both favorable and adverse. The objective of this project has been to develop a series of practical indicators of economic, social, and environmental impacts related to transportation system changes. Comparing the spatial incidence of these impacts with the locations of low-income populations and minority populations, it is possible to assess whether the impacts would adversely and disproportionately affect these populations. Our intent is to help make it possible for everyone who is likely to be affected by a particular transportation system change to understand the expected types and magnitudes of anticipated impacts. The objective of such an understanding is to enable those who would be affected to determine which impacts would be most important to them.

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