Transportation planning and funding decisions often have significant equity impacts; however, few transportation agencies today integrate equity considerations into their transportation prioritization processes. Most practitioners and decision-makers sincerely want to achieve equity objectives, but transportation equity can be difficult to evaluate because there are various factors such as demographics, income, ability, geographic location, and travel considerations.
In 2018, the New Zealand Transport Agency published a robust framework for integrating equity considerations into benefit-cost-analysis (BCA). This included a discussion of the full-spectrum of measures and implementation methodologies that could be used to include these measures in benefit-cost analyses. It also discussed methods to geospatially analyze how costs and benefits of each measure are distributed through the population. In this way the New Zealand government could better address how a proposed transportation project affects social equity.
Building from New Zealand's example, the purpose of this research is to establish user-friendly approaches to integrate equity into NCDOT's BCA processes. This will involve the development of two cross-modal measures: air quality and physical health that can be included into NCDOT's strategic planning and prioritization processes. As a key component of this research, cross-modal measures will be validated through three hypothetical project prioritization scenarios. These scenarios will discuss the potential changes in transportation project scoring outcomes, based on the benefits and costs selected for analysis.