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detail of mural "History of Chinatown", 10th and Winter Sts., Philadelphia

Environmental justice is more than a set of legal and regulatory obligations. Properly implemented, environmental justice principles and procedures improve all levels of transportation decisionmaking. The FHWA and FTA engage in several types of technical assistance and training to promote the integration of environmental justice principles into all programs, plans and activities. Activities include:

Training Courses

FHWA provides formal training on the application of environmental justice in the transportation decision-making process through the National Highway Institute and smaller workshops with the FHWA Resource Center Technical Service Teams. Example courses include:

Course -- Fundamentals of Environmental Justice/Title VI

National Highway Institute

DESCRIPTION: Environmental justice and Title VI apply to every stage of a transportation program. The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and its partners are committed to integrating the nondiscrimination principles of environmental justice and Title VI into all Federal-aid programs. Through these and other transportation programs, many opportunities exist to establish partnerships with other public and private organizations to create more livable communities that meet environmental justice standards. This course presents participants with a framework for using a variety of approaches and tools for accomplishing environmental justice goals in Federal-aid programs and other transportation projects.

OUTCOMES: Upon completion of the course, participants will be able to:

TARGET AUDIENCE: Federal, State, and local transportation agency transit or planning personnel (including consultants acting on their behalf) who interact with minority and low-income communities. State and local agency personnel providing community services. Elected officials and their representatives.

Course - Public Involvement in NEPA and the Transportation Decision-Making Process

National Highway Institute

DESCRIPTION: This workshop provides information on and practical application of required and public involvement processes and techniques. With the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) as a backdrop-- in addition to related laws, regulations and policies-- classroom exercises provide participants opportunities to design public education, public involvement, advisory and joint planning activities. In addition, there is a focus on interagency coordination and decision-making forums, as well as implementation and evaluation plans. The tools used include consensus building, conflict resolution, problem solving and process improvement, among others.

OBJECTIVES: Upon completion of the course, participants will be able to: 1. Identify key points where public involvement is required by law, regulation or policy, as well as other opportunities to solicit and incorporate public input. 2. Select appropriate strategies or techniques for interagency and community participation. 3. Create a public involvement plan for a model project and apply some of the involvement techniques in a laboratory setting.

TARGET AUDIENCE: Project development and design staff who will participate in any phase of the public involvement process. Follow this link for more information on the course.

Course - Preventing Discrimination in the Federal-aid Program: A Systematic Interdisciplinary Approach

FHWA Civil Rights Technical Service Team

Description: This training emphasizes the utilization of an interdisciplinary approach for the early recognition of potential adverse impacts that might be discriminatory so as to avoid these impacts and work for alternative solutions in all phases of the Federal-aid Highway Program, e.g. planning, project development, construction and research . It also stresses the need for interdisciplinary staff to be involved in the development and implementation of Title 6 plans that recipients are required to meet their nondiscrimination obligations.

Objective: Upon completion of course, participants will be able to: 1) Identify nondiscrimination laws, Executive Orders, and regulations and their application to the Federal-aid program. 2) Identify a methodology for developing and implementing a Title VI Plan using an interdisciplinary approach.

Target Audience: This 2 ½ day course is intended for Federal, State, and local transportation staff to explain the implications of Title 6 and related statutes in all aspects of planning, project development, construction, and research in the federal-aid program.

Research Activities

FHWA widely distributed its Community Impacts Assessment Guidebook. FHWA's Environmental Justice, Community Impact and Public Involvement team, provides technical assistance in the areas of community impact assessment, Title VI (including Environmental Justice), and public involvement.

FHWA staff also participate in relevant Transportation Research Board Committees. Several of these committees are:

Environmental Justice in Transportation Committee (ADD 50)
Public Involvement in Transportation Committee (ADA 60)

Section 5207 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) established the Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program (STEP). The general objective of the STEP is to improve understanding of the complex relationship between surface transportation, planning and the environment.


FHWA has prepared, or is in the process of preparing, a series of EJ presentations. Follow this link for a list of presentations available for download.


Follow this link for a list of Contacts for Environmental Justice.

Updated: 10/19/2015
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