Winner of the Northern Section of the California Chapter of the American Planning Association's '2007 Leadership Advocacy Planning Award'

Winner of the California Chapter of the American Planning Association's '2007 Advocacy Planning Award'

Project Overview

This project is an effort to establish a proactive strategy for incorporating health, economic and land use factors into transportation planning efforts as a means to programmatically address transportation equity. This project defines transportation equity as an inclusive, proactive planning strategy that serves to provide equal access to social and economic opportunities by providing an equitable distribution of transportation investments to both the motorized and non-motorized arenas.

It is often difficult for rural regions to equitably meet non-automobile transportation needs with limited resources and staff.

The project team is operating on the premise that Title VI non-discrimination requirements can be more adequately and thoroughly addressed via good planning processes that consider the needs of various social groups that will be impacted by transportation planning decisions, rather than the traditional analysis of discrimination based on race, gender or class.

The geographic focus of the project is Humboldt County, northwestern California, however the intent is to develop information and tools that will serve other rural regional and local governments.

Project Goals

Planning for Active Transportation and Health is an effort to provide:
  • A functional and accessible planning integration between transportation, land use, health, safety and economics where related benefits and impacts are considered in the transportation planning process to provide a more equitable and integrated foundation for decision-making;
  • Proactive consideration of Civil Rights Act non-discrimination goals during the transportation project conceptualization process, before projects are selected and planned – and not solely in the traditional sense of race, gender or class, but in a broader sense of considering the needs of various social groups that will be impacted by transportation planning decisions;
  • A process that discourages non-automobile project elements from ‘falling off' of under-funded or overspent projects before implementation is complete;
  • Achievement of improved transportation investment equity; and
  • Practical tools for helping governments of limited means – particularly those in Humboldt County, California – achieve all of the above and for helping transportation interest groups know how best to constructively support these efforts.

Project Team

The Natural Resources Services (NRS) Division of Redwood Community Action Agency and Humboldt County Department of Public Works were awarded a Caltrans Environmental Justice grant to address the above goals.

Rural community members face many transportation challenges.

NRS is the contract project manager and Nelson/Nygaard Consulting Associates have been selected to assist with the project. In addition, an ‘Expert Advisory Panel' will also be assisting with the project, and includes Jeff Hobson, Policy Director for the Transportation and Land Use Coalition, Todd Litman, Executive Director of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, Alta Planning + Design, and Planwest Partners.

A ‘Management Steering Committee' provides overall project input and direction, and includes the Executive Director of the Humboldt County Association of Governments, the Caltrans District 1 Acting Chief of Local Assistance & Regional Planning, the Senior Supervising Planner of the County Community Development Department, Deputy Director of County Public Works, the County Public Health Officer, the Director of County Economic Development, the Director of Arcata Public Works, and the Director of County Environmental Health.

An internet discussion-based Technical Support Group will serve as an occasional 'think tank', source of advice and provider of input regarding development of a methodology for considering equity in rural regional transportation planning efforts.


Project Timeline

The project was completed in May 2006.





Funding for this project has been provided by a grant through the California Department of Transportation's Environmental Justice Grants Program. The contents of this document do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the California Department of Transportation, nor does mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.



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Last updated: July 5, 2006