Evaluating the Distributional Effects of Regional Transportation Plans and Projects

Kristine Williams, University of South Florida Center for Urban Transportation Research



Metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) have long been required to consider the equity implications of their regional transportation plans and processes. Funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities, this research aims to provide additional guidance to MPOs on how to evaluate distributional equity in regional plans and projects. The report begins with an overview of federal requirements related to equity in transportation planning. We then synthesize contemporary methods for measuring transportation equity and the distributional effects of plans and projects from a review of the literature and MPO plans and studies. The report concludes with exploratory case studies of equity analysis in two regions representing distinctly different planning contexts and stages of addressing equity, and a summary of key methods to serve as a resource for use by MPOs in integrating equity into the regional transportation planning process.


The research would advance related federal laws and guidance that require metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) to engage historically disadvantaged communities in the planning process, as well as the distribution of burdens and benefits created by projects and plans produced by the MPO. It would also advance the recommendations of a 2011 CUTR study that identified the need for MPOs in Florida and elsewhere to develop a process for transportation planning and decision making to better understand the distributional effects of transportation investments on accessibility of low-income and minority populations to jobs and services and the availability of transportation options.

Project Details

Project Type:
Project Status:
End Date:
March 31,2017
UTC Grant Cycle:
Natl Round 2
UTC Funding:

Other Products

  • Integrating Equity into Regional Transportation Planning (PRESENTATION)
  • Equity in Regional Transportation Planning (PRESENTATION)
  • Evaluating the Distributional Effects of Regional Transportation Plans and Projects (PRESENTATION)