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Integrated Urban Modeling in Support of Environmental Justice and Sustainable Communities Planning in California

Paper #11-3803 For presentation at the TRB Annual Meeting -- January 23-27, 2011
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Since the Civil Rights Act of 1964, attention increasingly has been focused on social justice issues, mainly human health and access to services. With the Clinton executive order in 1994, Federal agencies were mandated to avoid disproportionate adverse environmental impacts to minority and low-income populations, in all agency actions, including both plans and projects. Subsequent USDOT rules expanded this order to include all social and economic impacts in transportation planning and project funding. Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) are the most-relevant agencies, in terms of this type of equity analysis, and generally have not used their existing modeling tools to project plan or project impacts on protected groups in any detail. We will use California as a case study, because a recent State law requires the State's 18 MPOs to adopt Sustainable Communities Strategies to reduce greenhouse gases in their Regional Transportation Plans, starting in 2012. This law requires certain environmental justice analyses and also substantial improvements in MPO modeling capabilities. California's largest four MPOs are developing improved travel models and land use models. We evaluate if these improved models will be capable of evaluating the equity effects of regional plans.

Johnston - Integrated Urban Modeling in Support of EJ & SCS planning - TRB-2011.pdf128.12 KB