ITE Journal - February 2020 - 23

which you are working. The impact of transportation projects has only intensified with,
for example, urban growth pressures and concerns about displacement. Guidance for
demographic analysis can be found in a recent FHWA resource, Addressing Changing
Demographics in Environmental Justice Analysis, State of Practice.
Another key part of environmental justice work is ensuring a full and fair participation
process. In many instances, transportation professionals extend a minimum amount of
engagement effort in order to check the outreach box. One example of what not to do is
holding an outreach meeting at a government building instead of places accessible and
comfortable to the community. Go to the community; don't make them come to you. You
can think about community feedback as data, but it is helpful to approach engagement as
more than a technical exercise. Many disadvantaged communities have experienced and
continue to experience adverse impacts from past transportation projects; these impacts
need to be recognized. As such, community engagement is an opportunity to build trust,
which requires transportation professionals to listen with humility. Transportation
professionals may be content experts, but community members are the context experts, as
the Tamarack Institute and others have noted.
ITEJ: We often think broadly about issues like equity, but what are some of the ways
that transportation professionals can think about equity in their day-to-day tasks and
promote it in their communities?
RODGERS: This can be achieved in several ways:
1. Consider engagement as an on-going process. Community trust is not built when
transportation professionals drop in to a community briefly and then disappear. Also
consider whether you can compensate community members for their time as advisors.
2. Always disaggregate the data. What works on average is not necessarily what works for
a specific community.
3. Promote economic development opportunities
for women and people of color by examining
transportation project contracting practices.
4. Make your workplace more inclusive. Reflect
on the inclusivity of your organization's hiring
practices, promotion practices, and its organizational culture. We will build transportation
projects that benefit all members of our
community when transportation professionals
look like all members of our community.

Kelly in Port Alberni, British Columbia, Canada

In my previous life working on stormwater and
green infrastructure, equity was not on the
table as much as it should have been. I suspect
that equity was not fully addressed in many
transportation efforts at that time as well. This
is a comment on both our planning and design
processes as well as my own lack of awareness.
I feel like I am catching up to something that
dedicated people have been working on for years,
but have largely been ignored by mainstream
practice. These people deserve our attention and
our thanks. itej
w w w .i t e.or g

Fe b ruar y 2020

23


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ITE Journal - February 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ITE Journal - February 2020

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