October 2, 2022
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The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials hosted a knowledge session at its 2022 Spring Meeting regarding the best way to implement equity policies in the transportation industry.

[Above image via AASHTO and TxDOT]

AASHTO’s Transportation TV covered a panel discussion held as part of that session, moderated by Diana Mendez, HTNB’s corporate president for infrastructure and mobility equity.

Mendes said during that session that equity is a job for “everyone” to work on. “Everyone has a role to play. It is not ‘stove-piped’ in some department that takes care of equity considerations. It is an organizational wide cultural commitment. And that sometimes might require organizational changes and rethinking the actual structure of one’s institution.”

HNTB’s Diana Mendes. Photo by AASHTO.

She added that it is important to differentiate between “intentions and symbolic efforts” against actual outcomes. “It’s not enough to ‘intend’ to make a difference. You actually have to be thoughtful and intentional about measuring what it is that you define as success,” Mendes pointed out. “And that success comes through collaboration with partners and communities.”

Panel discussion participants included Stephanie Pollack, deputy administrator at the Federal Highway Administration; Roger Millar, AASHTO vice president and secretary of the Washington State DOT; Toks Omishakin, secretary of the California Transportation Agency; Terri Slaughter, chief culture, equity, and inclusion officer for Michigan DOT; and Adelee Le Grand, CEO for the Hillsborough North Carolina Area Regional Transit Authority or HART.

editor@aashto.org

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