Transportation Equity Scorecard: A Tool for Project Screening and Prioritization

Despite disparity in methods and efforts, many Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) are seeking to incorporate equity in their planning and project prioritization processes. Yet MPOs often focus on avoiding adverse and disproportionate impacts of projects on traditionally underserved communities, without an equal focus on developing projects that advance the needs of these communities. In addition, although the economic benefits of projects are a key priority to MPOs in the project prioritization process, few MPOs screen and rank projects based on whether they specifically improve access to opportunity for low income and minority communities. The goal of this research is to provide MPOs with a project screening tool and supporting guidance aimed at advancing the needs of transportation disadvantaged communities relative to access to opportunity, health (e.g., health care, healthy food, safety, active transportation) and related equity considerations. The study will develop an excel based project screening tool based on criteria specific to these needs and supporting methods for project ranking and scoring. The criteria applied for screening will also assist communities in developing appropriate projects and “self” screening them in advance of prioritization. A companion user guide will be prepared to aid practitioners in applying the tool and supporting geographic information systems (GIS) analysis and public involvement methods. The tool and user guide will be developed and tested in collaboration with the Hillsborough MPO and City of Tampa to demonstrate its utility for use in project screening. Upon successful completion of the project, a Phase 2 pilot needs assessment will be proposed in collaboration with the City of Tampa (a stakeholder to the current project) to complement and further demonstrate use of the tool indicators to assess needs and define projects (that can later be ranked).