The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation issued its very first Dismantling Systemic Racism and Inequities or DSRI report, which evaluates the agency’s diversity and inclusion efforts, structural racism in the state’s transportation system, while evaluating programs and initiatives that could help support more equitable transportation in Pennsylvania.
[Above photo by PennDOT]
“Race and transportation have long been intertwined, and the nation’s infrastructure investments have impacted generations of people of color,” noted PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian in a statement.
“It’s our responsibility to be honest about these impacts and take definitive steps toward a transportation system that serves everyone equitably,” she said.
[Editor’s note: The board of directors of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials unanimously passed a resolution at its 2020 virtual annual meeting pledging to address issues related to race, equity, diversity, and inclusion within the transportation industry.]
She said PennDOT staff from across the agency’s divisions comprised the working group that spearheaded the creation of the DSRI report – meeting weekly to evaluate various measures of equity across PennDOT’s operations and identify areas for improvement.
The DSRI report discussed how PennDOT could achieve greater equity in the areas of contracting, public involvement, community investment, as well as the agency’s own internal culture.
Discussions with community leaders, PennDOT staff who are people of color, and leaders at other state departments of transportation also helped in the formation of the agency’s DSRI report.
Additionally, PennDOT said the report reflects the work of an executive working group, which embarked on several initiatives that will have short- and long-term impacts on vulnerable populations and communities of color.
“This report is an important step in PennDOT’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, but we know that this work is ongoing,” Secretary Gramian added. “Creating and supporting a quality transportation system that works for everyone is at the center of the department’s mission – and PennDOT is committed to the ongoing work that this requires.”