California Case Studies

A case study[2] was done on SCAG’s 1998 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP). The RTP is a twenty-year plan that was developed including a three-year dialogue with Southern California communities. The study targeted transportation planners that consistently employ transportation economics in their decision-making. It reflected a good use of goals, objectives, and policies that addressed EJ. According to the FHWA Environmental Justice site, the RTP employed effective use of performance measures to address not only its transportation mobility and air quality measures, but also social policy objectives.  The RTP also created a more equitable measure of burdens and benefits by dividing income classes into quintiles. Furthermore, it took into account a consumer’s ability and “willingness to pay” as well as income when analyzing automobile and transit trips.

Another case study[3] was completed concerning the Cypress Freeway Replacement Project in Oakland, California. The freeway collapsed due to an earthquake in 1989. While Caltrans wished to rebuild it in its current location, the community feared it would split and disrupt the West Oakland community. Because of these concerns and active community involvement, the freeway was pushed farther west, proving less disruptive to the community. The case details several methods in which the concerns of the minority and low-income community were employed in the planning, design, and construction of the project.

The Fruitvale community in Northern California also expressed concerns about a local project called the Fruitvale BART Transit-Oriented Development project. The Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) proposed to construct a multi-level parking structure near its Fruitvale station. Community members were concerned that the parking structure would do little to stimulate local economy and desired a more pedestrian-friendly avenue to connect the station with nearby businesses. Due to these concerns, BART partnered with an outside agency to create a more pedestrian-friendly atmosphere near its station. The project proved to be an excellent display of public involvement and mitigation of disproportionate effects[4].