Transportation Equity Program

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The Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) strives to facilitate an inclusive and transparent planning process and make investments that eliminate transportation-related disparities borne by people in disadvantaged communities. The Transportation Equity Program advances the MPO’s equity goal across all of the MPO’s work, including its transportation plans, the projects it funds, the studies it conducts, and the public engagement it carries out.

Transportation-disadvantaged communities are those in which the majority of the population belongs to a MPO equity population—people who identify as minority, have limited English proficiency, are 75 years old or older or 17 years old or younger, have a disability, or have low income.

Approach to Equity

The MPO takes an “equity in all policies” (EiAP) approach to achieving its equity goal. EiAP is based on the “health in all policies” approach from the field of public health. It means that equity is a part of every policy, process, and decision at the MPO. This approach is two-pronged:

  • gathering data and developing analyses to assess the impacts of the projects the MPO funds and whether and how they improve outcomes for disadvantaged populations, and 
  • developing inclusive processes and engagement to ensure all people have meaningful opportunities to engage with and influence the transportation planning and decision-making processes affecting them.

Current Equity-related Work

Strategies for Environmental Outreach and Engagement

This study, Strategies for Environmental Outreach and Engagement seeks to determine the most effective engagement strategies and platforms for the MPO to pursue in order to build stronger relationships with environmental advocacy groups, including environmental justice organizations, and better understand and meaningfully contribute to environmental and climate action in the region.

Applying Conveyal to TIP Project Scoring

This study, Applying Conveyal to TIP Project Scoring, looks at how the MPO could use the destination access tool Conveyal to score projects proposed for funding in the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) based on how they improve access to destinations, such as jobs and healthcare, for disadvantaged populations.

Mitigating Disparate Impacts and Disproportionate Burdens

In the 2023 Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), Destination 2050, MPO staff identified several potential disparate impacts and disproportionate burdens that would likely result from the projects in the LRTP, in the aggregate, if funded. The MPO is working to mitigate these impacts through the projects funded in forthcoming TIPs.

Recently Completed Work

Identifying Transportation Inequities in the Boston Region

Completed in 2022, this study analyzed several destination-access and travel-cost metrics to better understand how the transportation system impacts minority and low-income populations and people in zero-vehicle households living in the Boston region.

Unlocking the Blue Hills: Addressing Equity and Access in the Blue Hills Reservation

Completed in 2022, this StoryMap shows the results of a study that analyzed public transit access to the Blue Hills for environmental justice populations and households without access to cars in the Boston communities of Mattapan, Dorchester, Hyde Park, and Roxbury. The study, led by an advisory group and supported by MPO staff, resulted in several proposals for improving public transit access to the Blue Hills from those communities.


Betsy Harvey
Transportation Equity Program Manager