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A NITC study took a look at how metropolitan planning organizations, or MPOs, can better serve transportation-disadvantaged and historically marginalized populations when creating regional transportation plans.

The transportation disadvantaged are those unable to drive or who lack access to an automobile, and may include the elderly, low income, young people, persons with disabilities, and those with permanent or temporary health conditions. Historically marginalized communities are often left out of the planning process and include many of the same groups but also ethnic and racial minorities.

A new freeway, with all its attendant air and noise pollution, might cut through a part of town where low-income and minority populations are concentrated. Bike lanes sometimes wait to make an appearance until a neighborhood has begun to gentrify. People over the age of 60, as well as people of color, are at greater risk of being killed by a car while walking. Low-income neighborhoods often have poor access to regional transportation networks, making getting to and from work and other destinations a challenge for residents. English language proficiency is a barrier to participating in the transportation planning process and is also recognized as a dimension of transportation disadvantage.

To address problems like this, equity needs to be a priority in every regional transportation planning process. 

The report,...

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Leadership from elected officials and access to federal and state funding are crucial components for successful transportation and land use planning in urban areas, according to a study recently completed by Portland State University’s National Policy Consensus Center.

The study, “Regional Transportation and Land Use Decision Making In Metropolitan Regions: Findings From Four Case Studies” (Read The Full Report Here) looked at efforts by regional agencies in four urban areas to coordinate land use and transportation via governance, coordination, growth centers and transportation improvement programs. The study is part of an OTREC project led by Rich Margerum of the University of Oregon’s Department of Planning, Public Policy and Management.

Margerum, along with Robert Parker of UO and Susan Brody and Gail McEwen of the National Policy Consensus Center, looked at the Puget Sound Regional Council in Washington, Metro in Oregon, the Denver Regional Council of Governments in Colorado and the San Diego Association of Governments in California for the project. The team examined literature and reports, conducted 40 interviews and also conducted an online survey of over 450 individuals within the four regions. In addition, a symposium was held in September 2010 with representatives from the four regions, the US Department of Transportation, Environmental Protection Agency and other...

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