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Equity Updates from the U.S. Department of Transportation

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has committed to an ambitious agenda to advance equity for all and has taken many steps forward to advance this agenda. The following list of recent accomplishments will be updated regularly. Rather than being a complete synopsis, these represent a portion of the actions the Department is taking to advance equity.

Wealth Creation  

Graphic of a stack of coins symbolizing Wealth Creation



January 2022 


Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) integrated the Small Business Program Manager into the Acquisition Strategy Review Board for procurement planning and coordination to help identify small business contracting opportunities. 

OST launched a DOT-wide procurement dashboard to raise awareness of contracting opportunities and drive accountability for meeting small and disadvantaged business goals.  

February 2022 

Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) began tracking the number of residential and non-residential displacements to ensure displacements, especially in communities with Environmental Justice (EJ) concerns, are reduced across all projects and that mitigation measures are in place to minimize impacts of relocation.  

July 2022 

OST issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to modernize the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) and Airport Concession DBE (ACDBE) program regulations to help further level the playing field for small disadvantaged businesses. 

November 2022 

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) held the first meeting of the Women of Trucking Advisory Board, whose work will support women pursuing careers in trucking, expand scholarship opportunities for women in the trucking industry, and enhance trucking training, mentorship, education, and outreach programs for women. 

December 2022 

Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) launched the Master Capacity Building Series - Federal Contracting 101. The initial session hosted more than 500 participants, and the program has reached over 6,400 small and disadvantaged business owners as of June 2023. Technical assistance has contributed to an increase in small disadvantaged business utilization, from 18.2% of DOT direct contract dollars in FY 2021 to 21.25% in FY 2022.

April 2023 

Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) established a Small Business Program to increase participation of small businesses, including minority and woman-owned small businesses in publicly funded rail projects. 

Power of Community 

Graphic showing web of interconnected people symbolizing Power of Community

December 2022 

FHWA surveyed State Departments of Transportation (DOTs) and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) on their inclusion of quantitative equity screenings and meaningful and representative public participation in their Statewide and Metropolitan Transportation Improvement Programs (S/TIPs) in order to help develop a baseline and work toward achieving the related Key Performance Indicator (KPI).  DOT released a summary of the survey results on November 13, 2023.

October 2022 

DOT released a guide on Promising Practices for Meaningful Public Involvement in Transportation Decision-Making to help funding recipients meaningfully involve the public in various stages of transportation decision-making and build their organizational capacities to do so. DOT released version 2 of the meaningful public involvement guide on November 8, 2023.

February 2023 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published a final rule, as required by BIL, updating the Uniform State Highway Safety Grant Program to require NHTSA grant recipients to conduct meaningful public engagement among affected communities, particularly those most significantly impacted by traffic crashes resulting in injuries and fatalities. 

April 2023 

Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (GLS) and the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, convened the first ever Green Shipping Corridor Network Collaborative Forum with a variety of stakeholders to promote green shipping and environmental justice for the Great Lakes region. 

September 2023 

DOT issued a fact sheet on Title VI and discrimination on the basis of shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics. 

Proactive Intervention, Planning, and Capacity Building 

Graphic of hands shaking symbolizing Proactive Intervention, Planning, and Capacity Building

February 2022 

OST published a toolkit for planning and funding rural and Tribal electric mobility infrastructure. An updated version of the Charging Forward toolkit was published in May 2023, which includes expanded content on electric transit and micromobility. 

March 2022 

DOT piloted a new approach of releasing combined Notices of Funding Opportunities (NOFOs) to streamline the process for applicants applying for multiple discretionary grant programs. 

April 2022 

OST launched federal partnerships with key agencies making place-based technical assistance investments. 

June 2022 

OST released the DOT Navigator, a new one-stop shop for communities to access DOT technical assistance and capacity building resources and to get more information to help them apply for DOT funding. 

July 2022 

OST calculated baselines of benefits distribution for Justice40 covered programs with at least one round of funding awarded.  

October 2022 

OST launched the Thriving Communities Program to provide hands-on technical assistance and capacity building support to underserved and overburdened communities using DOT funds, and issued a call for projects for place-based initiatives that are co-designed with communities most impacted by poor access and climate change. 

February 2023 

DOT awarded $185 million to disadvantaged communities as part of the Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program to provide planning and construction grants to communities who have been cut off from opportunities by infrastructure projects.  

OST announced $800 million in grant awards for the Safe Streets and Roads for All program to support communities improve roadway safety, especially for the most vulnerable roadway users, benefitting disadvantaged communities who are disproportionately impacted by roadway fatalities. 

May 2023 

OST launched an online DOT Discretionary Grant Dashboard to make it easier for communities to search the full set of federal transportation grant programs and find those that may align with local needs. 

June 2023 

DOT announced a first-of-its-kind philanthropic collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to leverage and expand technical assistance opportunities for DOT grantees and potential applicants to deepen community engagement, resource community-based organizations, and build local capacity. 

July 2023 

OST published the joint FY 2023 NOFO for the Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods (RCN) Program, making up to $3.16 billion available for planning activities and capital construction projects that that advance community centered connection. 

September 2023 

DOT participated in a convening of the interagency Thriving Communities Network, bringing together governmental, non-profit, academic, community-based and philanthropic partners to leverage and align place-based technical assistance efforts. 

Expanding Access 

Graphic of key symbolizing Expanding Access

March 2022 

FHWA advanced Complete Streets as the default design approach and as a transformative strategy in which the transportation network is planned, designed, built, operated, and maintained to enable safe mobility and access for all road users. 

October 2022 

DOT announced the “TIFIA 49 Program” that offers low-cost and flexible financing for transit and Transit-oriented Development (TOD) projects at up to 49% of eligible project costs through DOT’s Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program, a higher level of financing that will help more projects get off the ground. 

December 2022 

FTA announced 15 projects in 9 states that will receive approximately $686 million under the new All Stations Accessibility Program to make transit rail stations built before passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) fully accessible to people with disabilities. 

January 2023 

DOT encouraged discretionary grant project sponsors to identify how their project will reverse or mitigate how the community is experiencing disadvantage. 

FHWA released the Speed Safety Camera Program Planning and Operations Guide for state and local governments aimed at reducing traffic fatalities and serious injuries resulting from speeding related crashes as part of a broader speed management program – especially in school areas and construction zones. 

February 2023 

FTA awarded its Mobility, Access & Transportation Insecurity: Creating Links to Opportunity Research and Demonstration Program to explore strategies to improve people’s mobility and access to daily needs and evaluate outcomes and impacts upon individuals and communities. 

May 2023 

OST launched the Equitable Transportation Community (ETC) Explorer tool, an interactive mapping tool to understand where transportation insecurity, defined as limited transportation access and safety combined with high cost burden, is most acute across the country. 

OST began piloting a transportation cost burden measure, using existing data sources in the ETC Explorer, to prioritize transportation investments. 

Institutionalizing Equity 

Graphic of equity scale symbolizing Institutionalizing Equity

March 2022 

DOT established equity as one of the Department’s fiscal year (FY) 2022-2026 Strategic Goals

April 2022 

DOT released the Department’s Equity Action Plan, establishing a foundation for DOT’s path towards building a transportation system that works for all people. 

May 2022 

DOT reestablished the Advisory Committee on Transportation Equity to provide independent advice on DOT equity programs. 

December 2022 

Issued a Department-wide Secretarial Order formalizing the Equity Council via DOT Order 1000.17 to institutionalize equity in DOT’s policies and programs. 

June 2023 

DOT hosted a Department-wide equity summit for DOT employees, organized by the DOT Equity Community of Practice to share best practices to advance equity. 

Have an idea to help advance transportation equity? Want to partner on one of these actions? Email us at to share your thoughts.

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