Transit Equity and Environmental Justice

“Environmental justice” means caring about the human environment for all people. At TriMet, we have made environmental justice part of our mission by identifying and addressing the effects of our programs, policies and activities on communities of color and low-income populations.

Transit equity is intimately tied to environmental justice. Transit equity concerns come up when wealthier and more educated parts of society receive more transportation benefits while communities of color and at lower income levels receive less transportation or experience more negative effects of transportation activities.

For example, these neighborhoods might have more air pollution and noise as a result of transportation activities. They may experience loss of homes or cultural landmarks, or receive little or no relief measures. They may also not receive jobs or business opportunities because of a transportation construction project.

Guiding principles

The US Department of Transportation has adopted three fundamental environmental justice principles to guide transportation justice efforts:

  • Avoid, minimize, or mitigate disproportionally high and adverse health and environmental effects, including social and economic effects, on communities of color and low-income populations.
  • Ensure the full and fair participation by all potentially affected communities in the transportation decision-making process.
  • Prevent the denial of, reduction in, or significant delay in the receipt of benefits by communities of color and low-income populations.

A commitment to low-income communities and communities of color

TriMet is committed to providing high-quality service to low-income communities and communities of color. We use transit equity and environmental justice considerations in our decisions about:

  • transit service to low-income neighborhoods and communities of color
  • placement of bus stops and shelters
  • allocation of new low-floor buses
  • service for non-English speaking populations
  • service for students

Environmental Justice and Transit Equity Fact Sheet

Learn more