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Center Identification Number: 416-05

Project Title: Environmental Justice and Community Impact Assessment for Transit Agencies

Principal Investigators:

Beverly G. Ward, Director, Ethnography and Transportation Systems


Center for Urban Transportation Research
University of South
Florida Tampa, Florida

FDOT Project Manager: Amy Datz

I. Project Objective

To provide information and materials on issues and resources related to environmental justice, Title VI, and social equity using community impact assessment techniques. This project provide transit providers with tools to assess the impact of transportation actions and to work with communities to avoid, mitigate, or minimize these impacts and to develop transportation strategies that enhance communities.

II. Project Abstract

Since the issuance of Executive Order 12898 and the USDOT Order on Environmental Justice, transportation agencies have been asked to give more consideration to social equity issues in planning, project development, and throughout the delivery services. While the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has not issued an order, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and other USDOT administrations have done so. This project provides opportunity for transit agencies to begin to address these issues in a proactive manner. Community impact assessment provides techniques and tools for consideration of environmental justice, Title VI, and other social issues in the transportation planning, programming, and implementation processes.

III. Task Descriptions

Task 1 Review of Current Practices

CUTR staff will review existing literature on community impact assessment, environmental justice, public involvement, and related topics. Objectives of this review include discovering and documenting state-of-the-practice techniques and tools; identification of tools and techniques that may be adapted for transit agencies; and case examples of these applications in use. This review also will include existing and any known proposed federal regulations to ensure that the relevant topics and the statutory mandates are addressed.

Task 2 Develop a Community Impact Assessment Handbook for Transit Agencies

Based on the review of current practices, CUTR staff will develop or modify existing materials for a handbook on community impact assessment suitable for use by transit systems. The handbook will provide detailed guidance on various practical methods for identifying, collecting data, and evaluating socioeconomic impacts of transportation actions. The guidance and methods will address, at a minimum, the following areas:

  • Community cohesion
  • Community facilities and services
  • Safety
  • Titles VI and VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Environmental Justice
  • Joint development
  • Landuse
  • Mobility and travel patterns
  • Aesthetics and visual quality
  • Property values, relocation of businesses and residences
  • Consistency with local, regional, and state plans
  • Taxation
  • Cumulative and secondary impacts

This task will include the preparation of an outline, draft handbook, and final handbook. Each draft will be reviewed the FDOT project manager and others recommended by the FDOT project manager. Each element of this task - the outline, draft handbook, and final handbook - will be approved by the FDOT project manager prior to proceeding to the next element. In accordance with this task, CUTR will provide the following:

  • 1 Camera-ready copy of the handbook for reproduction
  • 15 Hard copies of the handbook
  • 1 Copy of the handbook to put on the NCTR website for Internet access

Task 3 Coordination with Other CIA Efforts

Throughout the project, CUTR staff will seek to coordinate the activities of this project with other CUTR projects, and where feasible external projects, related to community impact assessment, environmental justice, Title VI, and other socioeconomic issues. This may include coordination with programs and activities of the FDOT Environmental Management Office, the FTA Planning Office, the FHWA Planning, Environment, and Real Estate Services Office, and related other state and federal offices. This also may include coordination with the activities of the second national CIA Workshop to be held in late Summer 2000, TRB, and other related national conferences and workshops.

IV. Student Involvement

Graduate students will be used to review literature, statutes, techniques, and tools and assist in the development of the handbook.

V. Relationship to Other Research Projects

A similar handbook has been developed by CUTR for the FDOT Environmental Management Office that currently focuses on the project development and environment (PD&E) phase of transportation projects. During the course of the development of this handbook, national interest in using community impact assessment techniques throughout the transportation planning, project development, and program processes has increased. This project expands the use of community impact techniques into transit agencies and seeks to coordinate with other related state and national activities.

VI. Technology Transfer Activities

The handbook will be provided to FDOT in camera-ready format, hard copies, and portable document format (PDF). Hard copies of the final report will be provided to the Research Office, the State Public Transportation Administrator, and the Manager of the Transit Office. A PDF file also will be accessible from the National Center for Transportation Research (NCTR) website.

VII. Potential Benefits of the Project

The benefits of the project include the provision of tools and techniques to transit agencies on working with communities to identify transportation solutions that enhance communities. Communities also will be given opportunity to provide input into the transportation decisionmaking process helping transportation agencies to avoid, minimize, or mitigate the impacts of transportation actions.

VIII. TRB Keywords

Public transit, impact assessment, environmental justice, social equity.


National Center for Transit Research at the Center For Urban Transportation Research University of South Florida 4202 E. Fowler Ave., CUT100 Tampa, FL 33620-5375 (813) 974-3120 (813) 974-5168 Comments: