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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 the project's benefits will create positive outcomes that will reverse how a community is experiencing disadvantage through increasing affordable transportation options, improving safety, reducing pollution, connecting Americans to good-paying jobs, fighting climate change, and/or improving access to resources and quality of life.

Understanding the Needs of a Community through Meaningful Public Engagement. 

Public involvement graphic

 As part of DOT’s Justice40 initiative stakeholders are asked to demonstrate how they will engage the public, including disadvantaged populations, during all phases of the project, including planning, design, construction, and implementation. 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.

Project sponsors/ stakeholders applying to DOT’s discretionary programs should demonstrate how they will prioritize early and inclusive community engagement to empower communities to shape and benefit from investment in their neighborhoods.  Examples of activities that promote inclusive community engagement are-

  • Awareness of opportunities for engagement and removing barriers to participation, including strategies that reach underserved communities, non-English speakers, immigrant communities regardless of status, and people with disabilities, and are sensitive to issues of plain language use, translation, transportation, digital and non-digital access, culture, time of day, and availability of childcare and other supportive services. 
  • Understanding and a representation of the demographics of community residents and businesses in the public engagement process, and recognizing that communities can hold diverse preferences despite sharing similar demographic characteristics. 
  • The building of relationships with and proactively including community members and leaders representative of the diversity of the community—and of those most directly impacted by the project—throughout a project’s lifecycle. 
  • Implementing means of ongoing community involvement and leadership in projects and other investments, such as through community advisory boards and community benefit agreements. 
  • Demonstrating how community input concretely informs and impacts the evolution of projects, programs, or plans. 

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 click on the interactive image below.  


Understanding what benefits a project may create, who will receive them, and how a project's benefits 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 click on the interactive image below or review USDOT's Benefit Cost Analysis Guidance 2023 Update

Questions or comments on USDOT's Justice40 work please email:

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