The overall goal of the project is to develop a procedural planning tool kit for MPO’s and Transit providers to integrate EJ analysis into the metropolitan transportation planning and transit systems operations process; and to encourage replication through community meetings, academic research and applications research sharing. The first objective of this initiative was to identify the residual health, and mobility issues which are derived from the planning and implementation of transportation services. The second objective of this initiative is to develop an environmental justice and transportation planning tool kit that supports interactive exchanges between the MPO, community residents, and service providers. A third objective is to develop a process for disseminating charts, look tables and procedures to provide guidance that federal, state, regional, local planning and non-profit agencies can use to provide environmental and consumer friendly transportation services.
Behind the goals and objectives of this project is a vision of developing an awarness of how decisions are made in the hope of strengthening in both a broad and narrow sense the community’s capacity to work within established planning and regulatory mechanisms. Decisions makers and planners often require technical analysis prior to taking any serious action to resolve issues; and because they are often swamped by the shear volume of issues, complaints and duties that must be addresed; processes have been erected to help sort and prioritize the many issues against scare financial resources. This tool with its focus on public participation, public health and transportation attempts to provide assistance to the broader community in the hope that it will positively infect the decision making process to the benefit of all.
This range of issues clearly cuts across numerous lines – technical/analytic, outreach and involvement, and administrative response – that challenge existing outreach, planning, and institutional practices and apabilities. Phase II presents a major opportunity to see if regional leaders and institutions can respond to these identified issues, and in the process, determine what new tools and procedures – or modification of existing – would enable a more meaningful and relevant response across these varied needs and concerns.