PSU Transportation Researchers Receive $250,000 to Create Equity Research Roadmap


Portland State University (PSU) researchers will create a "Research Roadmap for Institutionalizing Transportation Equity," in an attempt to identify and standardize best practices relating to social equity in transportation organizations. Led by principal investigator Aaron Golub, a professor in the Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning at PSU, the project is supported by a $250,000 funding contract from the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP). Along with PSU researchers, the project team also includes AOA (Ontiveros & Associates, LLC) and Bills Formula Consulting LL.

Read more about the project: NCHRP Project 20-123(19) Equity Research Roadmap.


All people, regardless of their background, income, or physical abilities, need access to safe, affordable, and convenient transportation options and services. State departments of transportation and their partner regional planning organizations seek to improve the equity outcomes of their decision-making practices and investments. The research roadmap will help define broad research areas and gaps for further study, along with specific research problem statements that have urgent, near-term significance.

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Strategic Plan includes a goal of promoting diversity in all AASHTO activities, collaborating with traditional and nontraditional partners to support equity and social justice objectives, and ensuring that transportation policies provide safety, mobility, and access to everyone. In November 2020, the AASHTO Board of Directors unanimously passed a resolution pledging to engage in the vital work of advancing racial justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. Research is a key component of the AASHTO Strategic Plan. 

Many aspects of transportation equity have been studied in recent years, but additional guidance on research needs and priorities is required, as well as a synthesis of practices at state departments of transportation (DOTs). 

The research roadmap, informed by existing research and feedback from DOTs and AASHTO committees, will help identify research gaps and assist in advancing research related to equity in transportation. The project's primary goals are to:

  1. provide a strategy consistent with the AASHTO Strategic Plan;
  2. build upon existing research and feedback from AASHTO;
  3. identify critical research gaps; and
  4. prioritize research needs.

When the team has produced the research roadmap with prioritized research needs, they will share their findings with AASHTO members along with guidance on how to implement them.


TREC at Portland State University (PSU)

AOA (Ontiveros & Associates, LLC)

  • Amber Ontiveros
  • Kim Stewart 
  • Isabelle Kennedy

Bills Formula Consulting LL

  • Tierra Bills

PSU's Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) supports researchers undertaking a variety of investigations into transportation topics. TREC researchers have created other national research roadmaps in recent years, including a 2021 "Research Roadmap for the AASHTO Council on Active Transportation" funded by NCHRP and led by researchers Jennifer Dill, Chris Monsere and Nathan McNeil in partnership with Toole Design Group.

Photo by Cait McCusker

Portland State University's Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) is home to the U.S. DOT funded National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC), the Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation (IBPI), PORTAL, BikePed Portal and other transportation grants and programs. We produce impactful research and tools for transportation decision makers, expand the diversity and capacity of the workforce, and engage students and professionals through education and participation in research.

Share this: