Toward environmental justice in transportation decision making with structured public involvement

Keiron Bailey, Ted Grossardt, John Ripy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Environmental justice (EJ), in the form of distributional justice, is mandated by a 1994 Executive Order. However, EJ is not easily achieved. EJ research can be divided into identification and mitigation strategies. EJ mitigation strategies intersect with public involvement, which in transportation has a long, and often controversial, history. This paper examines how a philosophy based on John Rawls' theories of procedural justice and access to justice can address the need to achieve distributional justice. To improve procedural justice, the authors examine how effective large-group processes can deliver high-performance public involvement. Methodological barriers and the role of technologies such as electronic polling and visualization are discussed. The authors propose four process metrics for public involvement. On the basis of data on structured public involvement projects, the authors argue that such processes enhance procedural justice and thereby address specific EJ aims. These data illustrate that realizing this potential improvement will require a philosophical shift to a higher Arnstein ladder level, the identification and use of appropriate methodologies for involving large groups, and the integration of their valuations into effective decision support systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)102-110
Number of pages9
JournalTransportation Research Record
StatePublished - 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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