TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Synthesis 416: Implementing Race-Neutral Measures in State Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Programs explores race-neutral strategies being used effectively by state departments of transportation (DOTs) to meet their Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) participation goals. It also reviews and synthesizes problems faced by state DOTs in the administration of their DBE programs and identifies race-neutral remedies used to overcome these challenges.
As state DOT's carry out their highway construction programs, they are required to direct a portion of their federal-aid fund expenditures toward small businesses called DBEs. A DBE is defined as a small, for-profit business concern that is at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. States are required to meet the maximum feasible portion of their DBE participation goals using race-neutral means designed to remove barriers and enhance opportunities for all small businesses, not just DBEs.