The TPO considers the needs and views of traditionally underserved and underrepresented communities in its work. This commitment ensures these communities receive a fair share of the region’s transportation benefits and are not subject to undue burdens.
The TPO strives to accomplish this through community engagement, including partnerships with groups and individuals representing these communities.
The TPO also focuses on equity during project selection and prioritization for the Metropolitan Transportation Plan by awarding points for projects located in areas with priority populations. Priority populations are characterized by those with less opportunity, less accessibility to safe places for being active, and greater vulnerability than the region to leading a healthy and economically sustainable life.
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin. Section 324 of the Federal Aid Highway Act prohibits discrimination based on sex.
The Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, religion, creed or disability in admission to, access to, or operations of its programs, services, or activities. Discrimination against any person in recruitment, examination, appointment, training, promotion, retention, discipline or any other employment practices because of non-merit factors shall be prohibited.
The TPO also works closely with the region’s transit providers to ensure funds, services, and projects are distributed in a non-discriminatory way. The TPO and the public transit providers, including Knoxville Area Transit (KAT) must prepare a federal Title VI report every three years. These reports document each agency’s Title VI programs and policies.
A 1994 Presidential Executive Order directed every Federal agency to make Environmental Justice (EJ) a part of its mission by identifying and addressing the effects of all programs, policies, and activities on minority populations and low-income populations. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) defines three fundamental EJ principles:
- To avoid, minimize, or mitigate disproportionately high and adverse human health and environmental effects, including social and economic effects, on minority populations and low-income populations.
- To ensure the full and fair participation by all potentially affected communities in the transportation decision making process.
- To prevent the denial of, reduction in, or significant delay in the receipt of benefits by minority and low income populations.
Disadvantaged Business Enterprise
Overview, impact, importance