EQI Tool Development


As stated in the Caltrans Equity Statement, the California Department of Transportation acknowledges that communities of color and under-served communities experienced fewer benefits and a greater share of negative impacts associated with our state's transportation system. Some of these disparities reflect a history of transportation decision-making, policy, processes, planning, design, and construction that "quite literally put up barriers, divided communities, and amplified racial inequities, particularly in our Black and Brown neighborhoods."

Faced with the need to better define equity problems and solutions specifically focused on transportation, Caltrans began developing the EQI in 2021. While many tools exist to evaluate various impacts of the built environment factors that potentially burden communities, these tools typically consider a wide range of factors and aren’t explicitly focused on burdens caused or exacerbated by the transportation system. Caltrans aimed to bridge this gap by developing the EQI to inform how the Department can best address and mitigate inequities exacerbated by the transportation system.

From the Beta Version to Version 1.0

During the early development of the EQI, Caltrans held numerous public and internal discussions covering indicators, thresholds, geographies, and other issues related to the tool. Round 1 External Engagement focused on state agency partners, internal and external advisory groups, metropolitan planning organizations, and regional transportation planning agencies. During the summer of 2022, the EQI team primarily worked on the technical development of the Beta EQI and tested the outputs to evaluate population coverage and other statistics. The Beta version was released in the fall of 2022, which initiated a public comment period that ran through late June 2023. Round 2 engagement included the following outreach:

  • Presentation at the October 2022 California Transportation Commission meeting.
  • Presentations to internal and external partners, including disability advocacy groups and Caltrans safety programs to discuss specific aspects of the index.
  • Virtual information sessions series for internal and external groups.
  • Public survey to solicit feedback.
  • Presentations to the interagency Equity Advisory Committee (EAC).
  • Office hours for external and internal partners to showcase a draft version of EQI 1.0 and answer questions about the technical aspects of the tool.

Review BETA Documentation View Archived Events & Recordings