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DOT Equity Council

Image of Secretary Pete in a meeting talking with hands outstretched.

In response to Executive Order 13985, DOT formed a temporary Equity Task Force to help produce the Department’s first-ever Equity Action Plan and DOT-wide equity strategic goal. The DOT Equity Council (Council), which was established through DOT Order 1000.17, builds on the foundation laid by the DOT Equity Task Force to further institutionalize equity across the Department’s policies and programs. The DOT Equity Council serves as the coordinating body for implementation of the Department’s various authorities on equity, development and execution of equity initiatives, and achievement of the Department’s equity goals. 

The Council convenes quarterly and serves as a forum for collaborative decision making to:

  • Guide and oversee the process for institutionalizing equity across the Department's policies and programs, with the aim of reducing inequalities within DOT, across transportation systems, and the communities they affect.
  • Establish action teams, implementation plans, and reporting as needed to coordinate efficient and effective implementation of equity-related strategic goals, executive orders, and legal authorities.
  • Coordinate and support Office of the Secretary (OST) and Operative Administration (OA) implementation of equity initiatives and embedding of equity expertise and activities in programs and policies so that it becomes a core competency for all staff. 

The Equity Council is composed of representatives from across the department with the Secretary of Transportation and Deputy Secretary of Transportation serving as the Chair and Vice Chair respectively. All members of the Equity Council are expected to actively participate in and support the functions and operations of the Council. The Chair reports out annually to the Department on progress, findings, accomplishments, and future plans of the DOT Equity Council. Some areas overseen by the Council include:

Graphic showing the structure of the equity council (Secretary of Transportation, Deputy Secretary, Assistant Secretary, and Council Members).

  • Equity Action Plan: The DOT Equity Action Plan highlights work DOT is undertaking to advance equity across the following five focus areas: wealth creation, power of community, proactive intervention, planning and capacity building, expanding access, and institutionalizing equity. 
  • Disability Policy Priorities: The DOT Disability Policy Priorities highlight work that DOT is undertaking to increase access for people with disabilities across four focus areas: safe and accessible air travel; multimodal accessibility of public transportation facilities, vehicles, and rights-of-way; access to good-paying jobs and business opportunities for people with disabilities; and enabling accessibility of electric vehicles and automated vehicles.
  • Justice40: The government-wide Justice40 Initiative establishes the goal that 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities. At DOT, Justice40 is an opportunity for both the agency and our stakeholders to understand the burdens that result from the lack of affordable, safe multimodal transportation options and how to identify transportation investments that will create benefits that will reverse or mitigate those burdens, inclusive of a meaningful public engagement process that spans a project’s lifecycle.
  • Gender Justice: DOT has identified Gender Justice priorities in response to EO 14020. These priorities include strategies to advance gender diversity in certain segments of the transportation sector, address gender disparities in transportation safety, combat human trafficking, improve DOT utilization of small disadvantaged businesses that are both women- and minority-owned, and, increase gender diversity within the DOT workforce.
  • Asian American, Native Hawai’ian, and Pacific Islander Action Plan: DOT’s plan, created as part of a government-wide initiative, focuses on assessing perceptions of public transportation; promoting Title VI awareness; improving competitiveness of businesses for federal contracts; and increasing workforce participation rates.