Mineta report helps California transit agencies assess equity

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A new report from Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI), Defining and Measuring Equity in Public Transportation, helps California’s transit agencies assess service equity and evaluate potential solutions for inequities.

Federal Transit Administration Title VI is the federal policy that prohibits discrimination in any program or activity that receives federal funds on the basis of race, color, or national origin. The researchers evaluated information on current equity measurement and discovered that Title VI requirements have shortcomings for measuring transit equity. The requirements only look at race and income, only address planned service change inequities and not existing inequities, and do not set standards for defining and measuring equity.

“Current Title VI title requirements fall short in several regards in addressing the needs of transportation-disadvantaged persons,” the study’s authors said. “They only address how different race and income groups would be affected by proposed transit fare and service changes and do not address remedying existing inequities, nor do they consider other characteristics of transportation-disadvantaged populations.”

The report discusses other measures that could be considered indicators of transportation-disadvantaged populations. “They include low vehicle ownership, households without internet access, single-parent households headed by females with children, and persons who work at night where little or no transit service is running at that time,” the authors said.