Equity in Transportation Planning
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Community groups have often identified transportation equity and accessibility as a critical issue, yet the opacity and technical requirements of the transportation planning process can make it difficult to engage on these issues. This research assessed the potential for building community-based capacity as a way to advance equity-focused transportation planning and advocacy. Through a partnership with the Healthy Transportation Coalition, an Ottawa-based advocacy coalition, this community-based participatory research was co-led by a Community Leader Steering Group, representing equity-deserving groups. Over the course of the project, we (1) developed training workshops on transportation equity and metrics; (2) undertook a public survey of transportation equity goals and values, with over 500 responses; and (3) conducted focus groups with elected officials and professional staff to better understand the barriers to implementing equitable processes. The main findings underscored disconnects between academic, professional and community-based understandings of equity; a lack of meaningful engagement with equity-deserving groups; and misalignments between community needs and funding priorities. The report includes best practices for assessing transportation equity, engaging with equity-deserving communities, and developing equitable policies.