The National Academies

NCHRP 08-160 [Pending]

Guide to Identify and Mitigate the Negative Effects of Gentrification Caused by Transportation Investment

  Project Data
Funds: $400,000
Contract Time: 30 months
Staff Responsibility: Jennifer L. Weeks

Gentrification generally refers to land use and transportation redevelopment initiatives in older, often under-resourced communities. The effects of gentrification are positive and negative. The positive effects include the influx of new capital, infrastructure, and business that contribute to community quality of life, economic vitality, and aesthetics. However, gentrification often contributes to increased property values and rents that can force less-resourced (often lower income and minority) businesses and residents to leave. Not only do these factors force residents and businesses to find new homes and markets, they reduce community diversity and change its character.  
State departments of transportation (DOTs) and other transportation agencies seek to understand the specific role transportation investment plays in contributing to the negative impacts of gentrification. Investments are made with the expectation that they will overwhelmingly benefit the communities, often by providing needed mobility and accessibility to jobs, goods, and services in communities undergoing public and private sector reinvestment. By understanding the conditions under which gentrification can cause residential and business displacements, agencies can enact policies and strategies to avoid or mitigate these impacts.
Research is needed to examine and define the specific role of transportation investment in contributing to the negative effects of gentrification and the investment decision-making processes that lead to them. Specifically, this research should identify strategies, policies, data, and other information that state DOTs can use to predict, avoid, or mitigate potential displacement and the other adverse impacts of gentrification on vulnerable communities, ideally while providing needed improvements to mobility and accessibility.
The objective of this research is to develop a guide and supportive resources that provide practical instruction on how to predict, avoid, and mitigate the negative gentrification effects of transportation investment. Both quantitative and qualitative techniques and methods are sought. At a minimum the research shall:
  • Define gentrification and identify specific gentrification outcomes agencies should seek to avoid or mitigate in investment decision-making processes;  
  • Discuss the relationship of land use and transportation investments in community revitalization initiatives and the factors that produce negative gentrification impacts to lower income and minority residents in particular; 
  • Delineate the specific role of transportation in gentrification outcomes. In particular, the research should identify if certain types of transportation investments are more or less likely than others to lead to these unintended outcomes;
  • Identify proactive strategies and practices for predicting and managing gentrification outcomes when investing in transportation, including efforts to partner with other investors and members of the community; and
  • Include specific “real-world” demonstrations of the application of methods, tools, and techniques for predicting, avoiding, and mitigating the negative effects of gentrification.
The research plan should:
1. Include a kick-off web conference to review the amplified research plan with the NCHRP project panel convened within 1 month of the contract execution;
2. Address how the proposer intends to satisfy the project objective;

3. Execute the project in two phases with specific tasks identified for each phase that are required to fulfill the research objective, including appropriate milestones and interim deliverables; and
4. Incorporate ample opportunities for NCHRP to review, comment on, and approve milestone deliverables.
The resulting guide should identify and provide instructive guidance on the design and application of appropriate policies, methods, tools, and other means for avoiding and mitigating the negative impacts of gentrification contributed by transportation investments. 
Phase I: Data Collection and Analysis
Phase I of this research should consist of tasks to gather a detailed understanding of the industry knowledge and state-of-practice regarding efforts to identify, avoid, and mitigate negative effects of gentrification attributed to transportation investments. At a minimum, this phase should consist of the following tasks. 
Task 1. Conduct a comprehensive review of literature and other media addressing gentrification and the specific role or contribution of transportation investments to gentrification outcomes.
Task 2. Directly engage practitioners and experts to identify the root causes and effects of negative gentrification outcomes in community revitalization initiatives that include transportation.  It is expected that such outreach would include experts in land use, community revitalization, gentrification, and community organizing in addition to representatives of state DOTs and other transportation agencies. This task may be achieved using interviews, workshop(s), peer exchange(s), and/or other means identified by the proposers.
Task 3. Develop a Phase II work plan, guide outline, and list of resources for production in Phase II that responds to the lessons learned in reviewing the data collected during Phase I. 
Task 4. Develop an interim report that documents the research process undertaken, data collected, and initial set of observations from the analysis of data collected during Phase I.
Phase II: Project Demonstrations and Product Development
Phase II of the research plan should focus on the refinement of content for inclusion in the final products of this research, and on the development of the guide and other resources.
Phase II should include activities meant to identify and demonstrate “real-world” applications of the strategies, methods, and/or techniques to be included in the guide and other products of this research. Such demonstrations could consist of (1) real-time pilot demonstrations; (2) retroactive documentation of completed or ongoing project applications; or (3) “hypothetical” case studies where real-world demonstrations are unavailable to validate and refine strategies and methods for addressing gentrification in transportation investments.
It is expected that these demonstrations will depict different gentrification and transportation scenarios, such as different modal applications as well as community environments or types. Proposers should detail a specific number and type of demonstration activities they intend to pursue to fulfill the research objective in this phase of the research plan.
As noted in the objective, the final deliverable of the research is a guide that will contain, and/ or be supplemented with the following as standalone resources:
1.  A table or matrix that summarizes the appropriate use and application of practices identified in this research, including identifying agencies or situations in which they have been applied in a real-world setting.
2. One or more communication tools, as budget permits, to share the information and practical recommendations generated by this research with executives, decision-makers, and members of the public. These could include fact sheets, brochures, videos, PowerPoint presentations, training modules, webinars, or other media. 
3. An implementation plan that identifies specific strategies and opportunities for sharing and encouraging the use of the research products by state DOTs and other transportation agencies.

STATUS: Proposals have been received in response to the RFP. The project panel will meet to select a contractor to perform the work.


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