Access to Opportunities: Redefining Planning Methods and Measures for Disadvantaged Populations

Arlie Adkins, University of Arizona

Co-investigator:

Summary:

This project will be made up of two separate studies that together will investigate areas where transportation planning and engineering can better serve disadvantaged and underserved communities. An interdisciplinary team of planning and public health researchers from UA will investigate how standard measures and conceptions of walkability hold up across socio-economic contexts. Pilot data from a CDC-funded project suggest that many standard measures of walkability may miss important elements of the built and social environment that can faciliate or deter walking in disadvantaged communtiies. The project team will collect data using on-street interview methodology developed in Tucson and a mail survey in a sample of cities nationwide. The aim of this study is to produce actionable recommendations about how concepts like walkability should be defined, measured, and applied in disadvantaged neighborhoods. In parallel to this work, UTA engineering, public policy, and social work faculty will work with nonprofits and other service providers to characterize transportation gaps that result from system deficiencies at a regional scale. We will measure these gaps’ impact on well-being in terms of health (physical and psycho-social), access to opportunities (work, personal, business, etc.), and community connectedness. This program will develop a roadmap for future research that can transform transportation planning practice to better account for disadvantaged communities.

Impacts:

University of Arizona
- Our work will contribute to a understanding for practitioners and researchers of appropriateness of standard walkability measures and metrics in different socio-economic contexts
- Se will suggest measures and metrics for more appropriate and context-sensitive interventions
- We will develop and share validated qualitative and quantitative data collection instruments that will be available for other researchers and practitioners. We have had a lot of interest in this so we have been exploring options for packaging this into a shareable toolbox that would be available for download for researchers, practitioners, and communities.

University of Texas Arlington
9/2018
- This research seeks to develop transit performance measures and strategies for assessing transportation gaps.
- This research starts with community professionals, moves to engaging stakeholders and organizations (private, transit agency, city, and metropolitan planning organization (MPO)), as well as other providing services, including housing and homeless services agencies, public health, and EJ populations, themselves. Transit agencies, MPOs, cities, and advocacy organizations may be able to use the research outcomes to assess transportation gaps when developing comprehensive local and regional transportation plans, incorporating the findings from Focus Groups, which includes performance objectives, performance measures for objectives, performance measures’ data availability, assessment, reliability, timeliness, costs of collection and use, and complexity in interpretation.

3/2018
This research seeks to develop performance measures and strategies for assessing transportation gaps. This research moves beyond considering EJ populations in general and seeks to understand their spatial and temporal needs. Transit agencies, MPOs, cities, and advocacy organizations may be able to use the research outcomes to assess transportation gaps when developing comprehensive local and regional transportation plans.

Project Details

Project Type:
Research
Project Status:
In Progress
End Date:
December 31,2019
UTC Grant Cycle:
NITC 16 Initial Projects
UTC Funding:
$167,746

Other Products

  • Techniques for assessing the transportation gaps of environmental justice populations (PRESENTATION)
  • Aiming for walkable, inclusive communities (PRESENTATION)
  • Understanding walkability and barriers to walking and physical activity in different socioeconomic and sociocultural contexts (PRESENTATION)