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Three Major Components of DOT’s Justice40 Initiative

There are three major components of USDOT's implementation of the Justice40 Initiative. These include understanding:   

  1. The needs of a community through meaningful public engagement.   
  2. How a community is impacted by lack of transportation investments and options.    
  3. What benefits a project may create, who will receive them and how they will alleviate how the community is experiencing disadvantage.    

Understanding the Needs of a Community through Meaningful Public Engagement. 

 As part of DOT’s Justice40 initiative stakeholders are asked to demonstrate how meaningful public engagement will occur throughout a project’s lifecycle.  DOT understands that working with the community, early and often, is one of the best ways to successfully deliver good transportation projects on time that better serve the entire community.  

Meaningful public engagement plans span a project’s lifecycle (planning, design, construction, and implementation), is responsive to community needs and remove barriers to participation. These plans contain a strategy to include and reflect the views of a broad range of residents, businesses, and community organizations early in the planning process, with multiple opportunities for participation.   

J40 graphic with steps of engagement strategies.Engagement strategies included in the plans should be responsive to community needs and remove barriers to participation.  They should include approaches that reach historically underserved populations, non-English speakers, and people with disabilities.  They should be sensitive to the availability of transportation, accessibility of meeting locations, digital vs. non-digital access, culture, time of day, and availability of child-care and other supportive services.  Please visit DOT’s Promising Practices for Meaningful Public Involvement in Transportation Decision-Making for more ideas and strategies to develop inclusive community engagement plans.  


Understanding how a community is impacted by lack of transportation investments and options.  

The USDOT Equitable Transportation Community (ETC) Explorer is an interactive web application which uses 2020 Census Tracts and data, to explore the cumulative burden communities experience, as a result of underinvestment in transportation, in the following five components:  Transportation Insecurity, Climate and Disaster Risk Burden, Environmental Burden, Health Vulnerability, and Social Vulnerability.  It is designed to complement CEQ’s Climate & Economic Justice Screening Tool (CEJST) by providing users deeper insight into the Transportation disadvantage component of CEJST, and the ETC Explorer’s Transportation Insecurity component, which will help ensure the benefits of DOT’s investments are addressing the transportation related causes of disadvantage.  It is important to note that USDOT’s ETC Explorer is not a binary tool indicating whether a census tract is considered disadvantaged or not, it is a dynamic tool that allows every community in the country to understand how it is experiencing burden which transportation investments have the power to mitigate or reverse.            

To learn more about the five components of disadvantage and their impact on communities please use our interactive tool below.  


Understanding what benefits a project may create, who will receive them and how they will alleviate how the community is experiencing disadvantage.  

Some transportation improvements may result in a mix of benefits and burdens, or stated another way, positive and negative outcomes.  It is important to consider both, as well as their impacts on how a community is experiencing disadvantage, when selecting and designing projects.  DOT’s Justice40 initiative asks project sponsors to consider and speak to the benefits and burdens of projects in the areas of - Safety, Jobs & Economic Competitiveness, Resilience, Access, and Emissions.      

Generally speaking, benefits are the positive outcomes that are reasonably expected to result from a project, whereas burdens are the negative outcomes. Both benefits and burdens typically occur because of changes to the characteristics of the trips they make (passenger or freight) or operational performance and can be experienced by the public at large.   

To learn more about the five categories of benefits and burdens USDOT’s Justice40 initiative is measuring please use our interactive tool below or review USDOT's Benefit Cost Analysis Guidance 2023 Update

Last updated: Thursday, May 25, 2023