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The term “equity” refers to fairness and justice and is distinguished from equality: Whereas equality means providing the same to all, equity means recognizing that we do not all start from the same place and must acknowledge and adjust to imbalances. The process is ongoing, requiring us to identify and overcome intentional and unintentional barriers arising from bias or systemic structures.

Executive Order 14008, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, created the “Justice40 Initiative” that aims to deliver 40 percent of the overall benefits of relevant Federal investments to disadvantaged communities. This initiative supports Executive Order 13985, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government, outlines Federal policy and defines equity as the consistent and systematic fair, just, and impartial treatment of individuals. The Florida Transportation Plan seeks transportation choices that improve accessibility and equity by including a key strategy to enhance affordable transportation, service, and information access options for all ages and abilities and throughout underserved communities. The MPOs are key to identifying and implementing improvements based on data-driven project prioritization that considers not only impacts of transportation projects on a community, but also benefits of projects that can enhance opportunities for a community. The Martin MPO’s Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) addresses approaches to furthering transportation equity.

One of the ways this is being addressed is through Data Collection. Currently a Community Characteristics Report is being prepared by the Martin MPO to pay particular attention to defining the underserved population such as citizens with no vehicle, citizens older than 65, impoverished and those with Limited English Proficiency (LEP).  By understanding the needs and locations of the underserved populations, it will prevent the underserved from being excluded from the transportation planning process. With this data driven information, projects identified in the Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) and in the Vision Zero Plan are the key to implementing improvements throughout the underserved communities.