Investments in roadways have historically focused on safety, mobility, and system preservation. Over time, the understanding of the impacts of roadway decisions has matured, and other factors such as socioeconomic impact, sustainability, accountability, transparency, and innovation have increased importance in the decision-making process. Recently, state departments of transportation (DOTs) and other agencies have sought to specifically address diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in transportation decisions, including those related to asset management. For example, the disparate allocation of resources in the maintenance or replacement of critical assets can result in inequitable transportation system performance and accessibility outcomes that can be more harmful to underserved communities with fewer resources available to meet daily transportation needs.
DEI recognizes intersectional (race, gender, socioeconomic, disabilities etc.) differences within communities and among different communities. Integrating DEI indicators into transportation asset management (TAM) can help state DOTs and other agencies to improve the impact of TAM investment decisions, especially to underserved communities. Research is needed to support practitioners seeking to integrate DEI into TAM processes and decision-making.
The objective of this research is to develop a guide with supporting resources for agencies to identify, analyze, and integrate DEI outcomes in TAM analysis and decision-making to improve TAM outcomes for underserved communities.
This research shall include the following components:
- A common set of DEI definitions, taxonomy, and a set of outcomes that articulate what an “equitable” outcome may consist of in a TAM context;
- A state of practice summary that identifies current understanding and applications of DEI in TAM decision-making by state DOTs and related agencies as well as a summary of challenges, inherent inequities, and obstacles to consideration of DEI in asset management;
- A matrix or list of quantitative and qualitative performance measures for asset management that incorporate DEI factors in transportation investment decisions;
- A flexible analytical framework for applying DEI and related indicators in TAM decision-making that includes, but is not limited to:
- Project or program self-assessment to establish an agency’s DEI baseline,
- Data collection and use (including qualitative data from stakeholders),
- Analysis activities to establish current conditions and forecast impact,
- Scenario planning using alternate investment options with an equity lens, and
- Investment alternatives analysis decision-making;
- Methods for community engagement in asset management, including how to identify and effectively engage affected stakeholders and how to include and respond to public feedback in TAM analysis and decision-making;
- Methods to quantify or otherwise integrate qualitative factors relative to accessibility, public health, and related transportation activities and purposes into TAM decision-making;
- A list of publicly available data sets that can be applied in a TAM context with direction on how to employ these data to inform TAM analysis and decisions;
- A set of three to five case study applications that demonstrate the integration of DEI into TAM analysis;
- Communication techniques or tools that describe the need and benefits of DEI analysis in TAM decision-making and outcomes targeting agency executives and members of the public.
This research should draw on available academic, completed NCHRP, and other literature and the experience, needs, and preferences of state DOTs as well as representatives of underrepresented communities and groups in urban, rural, and suburban areas alike. It is expected that final deliverables will be validated through an appropriate, but rigorous peer review process to determine the usefulness of the products for agency application.
The research plan should (1) include a kick-off teleconference with the research team and NCHRP convened within 1 month of the contract’s execution; (2) address how the proposer intends to satisfy the project objective; (3) be divided logically into detailed tasks necessary to fulfill the research objective and include appropriate milestones and interim deliverables; (4) include robust engagement of appropriate stakeholders in data collection and product validation; (5) incorporate opportunities for the project panel to review, comment on, and approve milestone deliverables; and (6) include an interim report and panel meeting scheduled to transition the project from data collection and analysis to production of the final deliverables.
The final deliverables expected will include, but are not necessarily limited to:
- A guide with appropriate resources and case studies as articulated in the objective of this research;
- A stand-alone technical memorandum that identifies implementation pathways, key implementers of the results, and well-defined scopes of work for product dissemination and pilot implementation of the research products;
- A conduct of research report that documents the entire research effort.
STATUS: Proposals have been received in response to the RFP. The project panel will meet to select a contractor to perform the work.