APPLY TODAY - Accepting Applications through April 17
The Tolling Program team is currently searching for three to five individuals with professional or lived experience in equity and mobility to join the Equity and Mobility Advisory Committee. Apply to be on the committee that will advise ODOT and the Oregon Transportation Commission on how tolling Oregon’s freeway system, in combination with other transportation strategies, can include benefits for populations who have been historically underserved by transportation projects.
We are looking for members who:
- Have knowledge of institutional racism, equity and direct experience with historically underserved communities.
- Come from throughout Oregon, and the Portland metro region including SW Washington.
- Know current methods and strategies to address historic inequities in the Pacific Northwest.
- Can come to monthly meetings at a time agreed to by the committee.
- Are interested in local, regional, and state transportation systems. '
- Are committed to addressing issues regarding project equity and mobility priorities.
- Use the transportation system in the project area (i.e. driving, public transit, biking, etc.).
- Can liaise with community members and/or community-based processes.
Members will be selected by the ODOT Director considering the criteria above. Funding for time and travel may be available by request. Applicants may apply through one of the following methods:
- Phone: Call (503) 731-8237 for a paper application or to apply by phone
- Mail: Attn: Hannah Williams, ODOT Region 1 Office, 123 NW Flanders, Portland, OR 97209
- In-person (Paper copies available and may be submitted at ODOT Region 1, 123 NW Flanders, Portland)
- Download a
printable copy of the application
ODOT is committed to slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Meetings of the newly formed EMAC will follow guidance of Gov. Kate Brown and public health officials. ODOT encourages all public meeting participants to follow proper safety precautions and social distancing recommendations. Options for alternative meeting schedules and formats will be considered if needed.
Equity and Mobility Advisory Committee
An Equity and Mobility Advisory Committee is recommended to be convened in early 2020. The Equity and Mobility Advisory Committee will represent interested and potentially affected constituencies to become informed and educated, and then provide input to the OTC on strategies to improve equity and mobility outcomes associated with ODOT's I-5 and I-205 Tolling Projects.
The committee shall advise the OTC by:
- Supporting ODOT in development and implementation of an equity framework to guide project development and public engagement
- Providing input at the beginning of the technical and environmental review process to ensure project development is grounded in the equity framework, including the refinement of performance measures and other information to evaluate alternatives for the I-205 Tolling Project and the I-5 Tolling Project.
- Providing input on mobility and equity strategies that should be considered as tolling projects are developed including:
- Availability of transit and other transportation options
- Transportation needs of, and benefits for, people of color and people with low-incomes, limited English proficiency or disabilities that live near or travel through the project area
- Better understanding of neighborhood benefits and impacts for the communities near the tolled facilities (e.g. changes to cut-through traffic, pedestrian and bicycle options, transit access)
- Developing an equitable engagement plan that will result in ongoing input and participation from communities that have been historically underrepresented in transportation planning
- Supporting the implementation of the equitable engagement plan by hosting or cohosting meetings, events and/or other activities as determined by the engagement plan
Committee members will be appointed by the ODOT director.
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 tolling 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
Improve public transportation and other transportation options.
Improved public transportation and other transportation options are essential strategies for equity and mobility. Viable options are needed to improve mobility for people less able to pay a toll.
Most pricing projects throughout the country have included investments in increased public transportation, carpool/vanpool, biking and pedestrian alternatives.
Provide travel benefits for communities of color and people with low incomes.
Several strategies have been used in other tolled freeway systems and will be considered during project development. Some examples include:
- Cash account options (while still using electronic and/or license plate toll systems) that are easy to access and understand.
- Toll discounts, credits, subsidies, or rebates, similar to TriMet’s low-income program.
- Benefits between travel modes, such as transit passes that accumulate toll credits.
Minimize and lessen negative impacts of diversion to neighborhoods.
Neighborhood diversion currently exists as drivers use neighborhood streets as a cut through to avoid congestion on freeways. Implementing pricing on I-5 and I-205 has potential to cause some people to avoid tolls and use local neighborhood streets. Both I-5 and I-205 projects need to identify tolling end points to lessen negative impacts.
During this phase of analysis, we will evaluate diversion potential and design options that can encourage beneficial diversion and minimize unwanted diversion.
Diversion can take many forms, some of which are beneficial:
- Toward the surface street system. This occurs when through traffic diverts from freeways onto the local and arterial road network.
+ Away from local streets. If congestion on the freeway is reduced, this will draw vehicles away from the local and arterial road network and back to the freeway in search of travel-time savings.
+ Change travel mode. This type of diversion reflects vehicle shifting to different transportation modes like biking, walking, or transit.
+ Change travel time. This type of diversion reflects people shifting travel to different times of day to avoid the peak commute hours.
+ Change freeway. Currently, ODOT balances freeway volumes via variable message signs and other tools. Tolling may be another strategy to balance diversion.
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