The Equity Orientation

The Equity Orientation

Lifting up priorities of underrepresented citizens through just and fair inclusion in transportation planning and decision making helps meet their needs and supports a healthy, thriving community.  


This section of the website utilizes  the stories and photos provided by community members  to identify the transportation experiences and needs of underserved,  populations in Morgantown and Monongalia County. The website also contains guidance on innovative strategies and resources that transportation planners and decision makers can use to engage with underserved community members in more inclusive and collaborative ways. 

Defining the Problem

Having access to dependable roads, sidewalks, cars, bikes, and public transportation is necessary for community members to meet their basic needs, take advantage of opportunities, and maintain  their quality of life.

Transportation infrastructure includes streets, walkways, highways, bridges and tunnels, and cycling infrastructure.   The transportation planning process shapes investments in and determines how infrastructure is designed, engineered, and built so that people may  move from place to place.  

Transportation infrastructure has an important impact on the economy, environment and quality of life of a region. As such, transportation planning typically includes a large number of stakeholders including communities, government regulators and local industries.

This process, while occurring in the present, deals with the future and  projects that will not see the light of day for 10, 15 or 20 years.

Low income, vulnerable populations are perhaps most affected by the transportation planning process and governing bodies’ decisions, but are much less likely to be able to participate in the process and subsequently have their needs show up in the long range plans produced for communities, cities, and counties where they live.  

The way that transportation planning occurs creates several tensions resulting in the needs of underserved groups being absent from transportation planning. 

  1. It is long-range planning while people– especially vulnerable groups– have immediate needs that determine their ability to survive day-to-day.
  2. It can be difficult to understand the tools used in the transportation planning process.
  3. The interests of the business sector and local industries are typically louder, more insistent, and overshadow other citizen groups and underserved populations in the transportation planning process.
  4. Structural barriers, time , place, and manner, make it difficult for underserved groups to get involved in the transportation planning process.
  5. It is difficult to determine who is responsible for including the underserved in transportation planning.

Doing things differently 

Moving beyond traditional approaches , can open pathways for meaningful understanding, input, engagement, and discussion.  

Using creative placemaking tools transportation planners can have a much better chance of establishing a dialogue with underserved groups, understanding their needs and including those needs in their planning process and subsequent long-range plans.  

These creative place-making strategies can help achieve transportation planning that is community driven, rooted in public participation, and embraces the community in its entirety.