Transportation Equity and Justice Through Community-Driven Planning: Lessons from California’s San Joaquin Valley

Research Team: Douglas Houston (lead) and Gregg Macey

UC Campus(es): UC Irvine

Problem Statement: Addressing the disparate impacts of climate change requires a better understanding of how the transportation sector can integrate community-driven processes and solutions into plans and programs in collaboration with public agencies and other stakeholders. The Community Air Protection Program, administered by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), provides a valuable case study of the promise and challenge of improving transportation equity through community-led planning efforts. Since its launch in 2018, CARB has selected 17 disadvantaged communities to develop community air monitoring plans (CAMPs) and/or community emissions reduction plans (CERPs) as directed by Assembly Bill 617 (AB 617). Although transportation emission sources feature prominently in CAMPs and CERPs (e.g., freight transport, zero-emission technologies, alternative modes), AB 617 evaluation studies have not investigated the role that transportation concerns played in community selection, goal setting, and outcome assessment.

Project Description: This project will conduct a retrospective evaluation of equity principles and processes employed in the selection, development, and implementation of CAMPs and CERFs in four San Joaquin Valley communities. The study will focus on communities that took part in a process led by the Central Valley Air Quality Coalition to nominate a subset of 40 communities to participate in air monitoring and emissions reduction planning through AB 617. The research team will consider the role of transportation infrastructure, emissions, and related authorities, policies, and practices as communities moved from pre-selection to design, approval, and implementation of monitoring and emissions reduction plans. The team will engage in semi-structured interviews and focus groups, content analysis and archival and interview data, legal analysis, and geospatial analysis of regulatory and community-deployed monitoring and inventory data.

Status: In Progress

Budget: $100,000