Environmental Justice Areas

Environmental Justice (EJ) refers to the process of evaluating and analyzing the planning process in reference to the most disadvantaged populations. Environmental Justice populations are identified by the federal government as low-income and minority^ populations. As part of our planning process, we evaluate the impact our projects have on these populations.

For each census block group within the Metropolitan Planning Area, 2022 ACS Five-Year data was used to compare the rate* of a specific EJ population within the block group to the rate of that population in the overall region. The map identifies which EJ populations for each block group exceed the regional rate for that population. Because the IMPO is federally mandated to consider the benefits to and burdens of minoritized^ people and low-income households, those categories are specifically highlighted in the map and considered to be Environmental Justice Areas of Attention (EJAs). The map also identifies five other EJ populations including people with limited English proficiency, low educational attainment, households with no automobiles available, people over the age of 65, and households with disabilities. These groups are not federally mandated for consideration but are indicated here by the IMPO because they can also be disproportionately impacted by transportation projects.

* The rate was determined by dividing the EJ population of an area by the total population of the same area.

^ Executive Order 12898 (February 1994) and related rules from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) require MPOs to analyze their plans and programs to ensure they do not disproportionately burden low-income households and minority populations. However, the IMPO recognizes the importance of people-first language, and that the use of the term “minority” to describe people who are a specific collection of races and ethnicities can communicate inaccuracies when this group of people are not an actual measured minority. With both the federal requirement and the context in mind, for the purposes of the data reviewed and presented here, “minoritized” will be used to describe the collection of individuals who have reported themselves as part of any of the following races and ethnicities within the data sources used in this plan: Black or African American; Asian; American Indian or Alaska Native; and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; Other Race; people of Two or More Races; and any race also identifying as Hispanic or Latino (which includes people of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin).