This project was funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC; grant number 1263 a U.S. DOT University Transportation Center, and the National Science Foundation (NSF; Grant number BCS-123456).
This study used a community-engaged interdisciplinary approach to assess the gaps between economic growth and transportation infrastructure development, and the impact of potential gaps on access to opportunities for environmental justice populations within North Central Texas, where population growth has increased over 100% since 2000. The interdisciplinary team, comprised of social work and civil engineering researchers, in partnership with the regional homeless coalition, measured residents’ perspectives of the economic growth in the area over the past decade, the extent to which transportation infrastructure has matched the economic growth, and the implications for access to affordable quality housing, employment, quality public education, as well as engagement in cultural and social activities. The team utilized a mixed-methods (focus groups and survey data), exploratory design to collect responses from a diverse sampling frame. The researchers compared results across environmental justice populations, and those who may have greater access to private transportation, e.g., personal vehicles. Social work led the community-engaged component of the social science data collection and civil engineering conducted statistical modeling related to mapping census data onto transportation access. The study results produced an infrastructure profile for the region, in which increased infrastructure from toll ways have improved job and population density, but with major challenges for usage of public transit. The results can inform public policies that support targeted transportation infrastructure development. Moreover, study results can inform the knowledge base regarding the relationship between economic growth and transportation infrastructure and how to improve their co-development, with a particular emphasis on the planning needs of environmental justice populations.
Crutchfield, J., Cronley, C., Hyun, K., Findley, E., Arabi, M. (2019). Promoting Environmental Justice Populations' Access to Opportunities with Suburban Boomtowns: An Interdisciplinary Mixed-Methods Approach to Addressing Infrastructure Needs. NITC-RR-1263. Portland, OR: Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC), 2020.https://dx.doi.org/10.15760/trec.243