Impact of Environmental Justice Analysis on Transportation Planning

The Environmental Justice field has grown since the signing of Executive Order 12898 in 1994.  The Executive Order required agencies receiving federal funds to develop and implement Environmental Justice strategies.  The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) developed a program with three fundamental principles for the Transportation sector:

1) To avoid, minimize, or mitigate disproportionately high and adverse human health and environmental effects, including social and economic effects, on minority populations and low-income populations.

2) To ensure the full and fair participation by all potentially affected communities in the transportation decision-making process.

3) To prevent the denial of, reduction in, or significant delay in the receipt of benefits by minority and low-income populations.

These principles have been the guiding objectives for the development of Environmental Justice (EJ) programs at various State Departments of Transportation (DOTs) and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs).  Although these guidelines served as objectives for EJ programs there was no explicit guidance from the regulatory agencies.  This has led to the development of EJ programs as an evolving practice through peer communication and benchmarking.  This research investigates how state DOTs have operationalized EJ and the extent to which these programs are achieving EJ outcomes.   Specifically, it examines current practices through a review of the literature, a targeted survey of state DOTs and develops and applies a maturity model to assess the extent to which programs are meeting EJ outcomes.  This project: “Impact of Environmental Justice Analysis on Transportation Planning,” is sponsored by the Georgia Department of Transportation and the Georgia Tech University Transportation Center.

Research Team:

Principal Investigator: Dr. Adjo Amekudzi Kennedy

Co-PIs: Dr. Michael Meyer (Transportation Systems) and Dr. Catherine Ross (City & Regional Planning)

Graduate Researchers: Stefanie Brodie and Mshadoni Smith


Amekudzi, A., Smith, M., Brodie, S., Fischer, J., Ross, C.  Impacts of Environmental Justice on Transportation: Applying the Environmental Justice Maturity Model to Benchmark Progress. Transportation Research Record, Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No. 2320, December 2012, pp. 1-9.*