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Equity and Mobility

Equity and Mobility Advisory Committee (EMAC)

To ensure equitable I-205 and I-5 toll projects and processes, and to help develop a framework, ODOT convened an Equity and Mobility Advisory Committee. This committee is a group of individuals with professional or lived experience in equity and mobility coming together to advise the Oregon Transportation Commission and ODOT on how tolls on I-205 and I-5 freeways, in combination with other demand management strategies, can include benefits for populations that have historically been underrepresented or underserved by transportation projects. 

In providing input to the Oregon Transportation Commission, the Committee shall consider needs and opportunities for achieving community mobility and equity priorities as part of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process for toll implementation. Currently, ODOT is considering options for tolling locations on the I-205 and I-5 corridors. The Committee will advise on the equity foundation of these toll projects, including guidelines, strategies, and processes. 

Learn more about the Equity and Mobility Advisory Committee here.


Creating a Framework for Equity

Discussions with the public, regional stakeholders and elected officials during the 2018 Feasibility Analysis revealed three consistent themes:

  • Concerns about impacts to low income communities due to a toll
  • The need for improved transit and other transportation choices 
  • Concerns with the potential for freeway pricing to cause traffic to divert to local streets 

Underserved communities experience negative impacts from our existing transportation system due to past investment and development patterns. ODOT’s goal with tolls is to ensure the benefits of reduced congestion and improved mobility are shared across all demographics.

ODOT has heard concerns about the negative impacts this program could have for people with lower incomes. Many low income communities have been priced out of centrally located neighborhoods by high housing costs and are now living farther away from employment and services. These same individuals often have less flexibility with travel times and may not have access to other transportation options.

While variable rate tolling or congestion pricing is a proven tool for funding projects and managing traffic, we also know that success for our region will require improved public transit or other travel options.

ODOT seeks to collaborate with community partners to work towards an equitable distribution of the benefits of reduced congestion. An equity framework will guide the entirety of this project, including the technical analysis and the public engagement strategies. The goals of the equity framework are:

  • Gain better outcomes for traditionally disadvantaged and underserved communities
  • Be inclusive and intentional when engaging communities in solutions

Strategies


Involving Stakeholders

ODOT is planning extensive public and stakeholder involvement to inform an equity framework, project development and community mobility and equity priorities.

Multiple strategies are planned to ensure the Oregon Transportation Commission and ODOT staff hear a diversity of perspectives before decision-making on selected alternatives for both I-205 and I-5, equity and mobility strategies and, in the future, toll policies and rates.

Planned strategies include:

  • Equitable and focused engagement with people who have been historically underserved and who have low incomes
  • Broad public and community engagement with both in-person events and online tools
  • Briefings to and collaboration with existing regional policy groups (e.g. Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation, Region 1 Area Commission on Transportation)
  • Technical work groups made up of regional staff to review methodologies and analytical results that incorporate stakeholder input



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