Caltrans FTA Disparity Study
Welcome to the 2018 Caltrans FTA Disparity Study web page. This page provides information about the disparity study background and purpose; and how you can actively engage in the disparity study process.
Caltrans’ Department of Rail & Mass Transportation (DRMT) has retained BBC Research & Consulting (BBC) to conduct a disparity study that will provide information to help Caltrans refine future implementations of the Federal Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program. The study includes analyses of the participation of minority- and woman-owned businesses in prime contracts and subcontracts that Caltrans awarded during the study period (October 1, 2014 through September 30, 2017).
Purpose of the study
The Caltrans FTA Disparity Study will include a comprehensive analysis of:
- The percentage of total transportation-related construction; professional services; goods; and other services contract dollars that minority- and woman-owned businesses received on prime contracts and subcontracts October 1, 2014 through September 30, 2017 (referred to as utilization);
- The percentage of dollars that those businesses would be expected to receive based on their availability to perform work on such prime contracts and subcontracts (referred to as availability);
- Any differences between the participation of minority- and woman-owned businesses in relevant contracts and the availability of those businesses to perform that work (referred to as disparities);
- Legal considerations surrounding implementation of the federal DBE program;
- Marketplace conditions for minorities, women, and minority- and woman-owned businesses;
- Contracting practices and assistance programs that Caltrans currently has in place; and
- Potential program measures that Caltrans could consider implementing as part of its implementation of the federal DBE program or other small business programs.
If you have any questions or comments regarding the Caltrans FTA Disparity Study, please contact:
Federal Transit Policies and Reporting
Division of Rail and Mass Transportation, Caltrans
Caltrans and BBC will conduct five public forums in January. During the January meeting, the study team will give a presentation describing the disparity study, including its purpose, methodology, and the study schedule. Following the presentation, attendees will be given the opportunity to submit verbal testimony about their experiences doing work in the local marketplace and to ask questions about the disparity study.No registration necessary.
The public meeting will be held through the state. The following are the dates and locations of the each of the five public meetings:
- Sacramento: Wednesday, January 9th. Caltrans 3390 Lanatt Street, Room 1B, Sacramento, CA 95819
- Oakland: Thursday, January 10th. Caltrans District 4 Office, 111 Grand Avenue, Oakland, CA 94612
- Fresno: Friday, January 11th. Caltrans District 6 Office, 1352 W Olive Ave, Yosemite Room 145, Fresno, CA 93778
- Redding: Monday, January 14th. Caltrans District 2 Office, 1031 Butte St, Executive Conference Room, 1st Floor, Redding, CA 96001
- Los Angeles: Wednesday, January 16th. Los Angeles Trade Tech College, Aspen Hall, Rm 101, 2215 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90015
For times and additional details please reference the following listing ofDBE Disparity Study Public Meetings Schedule(PDF)
Submitting verbal testimony.
If you would like to submit verbal testimony about your experiences working in the California marketplace to be included in the study, you may submit that testimony online or directly to theBBC study team. Common topics for verbal testimony include:
- Conditions in the California marketplace, including any potential barriers that businesses face in being successful or achieving growth;
- The DBE Program and experiences with the certification process; or
- Feedback for Caltrans to improve its small business programs.
The study team for the Caltrans FTA Disparity Study is comprised of six firms that, considered together, possess decades of experience related to conducting disparity and availability studies:
- BBC Research & Consulting (BBC) (prime consultant);
- Holland & Knight, LLP;
- Customer Research International (CRI);
- GCAP Services;
- PDA Consulting Group; and
- L. Luster and Associates.
BBC Research & Consulting (BBC)
BBC is considered the premier disparity study firm in the nation. BBC is a national expert in conducting disparity studies and in helping agencies implement the federal DBE program and other minority- and woman-owned business programs. BBC has completed nearly 80 disparity studies for cities, states, government agencies, and other entities all across the country. BBC has provided expert testimony related to disparity studies, minority- and woman-owned business programs, and the Federal DBE Program on several different occasions, most recently as part of the successful defense of the California Department of Transportation’s (Caltrans’) implementation of the Federal DBE Program—which was based in large part on a 2007 BBC disparity study—in Associated General Contractors of America, San Diego Chapter v. California Department of Transportation, et al.
Kevin Williams, Managing Director
BBC Research & Consulting
1999 Broadway, Suite 2200
Denver, Colorado 80202-9750
Phone: 303-321-2547, ext. 231
Holland & Knight, LLP
Holland & Knight is a multi‐national law firm and has participated in more than 40 disparity studies with BBC. Holland & Knight also provided substantial litigation support to Caltrans in the agency’s recent defense of its implementation of the Federal DBE program. BBC employs Holland & Knight to develop the legal analysis and framework on disparity studies and to consult on legal issues. Holland & Knight also has extensive experience conducting in‐depth anecdotal interviews; collecting and analyzing anecdotal evidence; and assessing potential DBE program measures.
GCAP Services (GCAP)
GCAP Services has developed and conducted training programs for DBE-related issues, including both live and on-line training workshops for DBE Program requirements following Western States Paving Company v. Washington State DOT. Edward Salsado, President of GCAP is actively involved in various projects that require intimate understanding of the Federal DBE Program and the effectiveness of program measures.
PDA Consulting Group (PDA)
PDA Consulting will lead the qualitative research for the project including in-depth interviews with business leaders and assisting with public forums. Pamela Penn, President of PDA has more than 30 years of experience designing, managing, and implementing compliance and outreach for community benefits programs, including contract compliance monitoring. As an expert in the contract compliance arena, she has overseen program development and administration of targeted outreach programs geared toward small businesses; minority- and woman-owned businesses; and DBEs. She has served as Contract Compliance Administrator and Manager of Contract Compliance for the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission. She was responsible for designing and implementing the agency’s minority- and woman-owned business program and for overseeing program management.
Customer Research International (CRI)
CRI is a leading provider of full-service market research services throughout the United States and abroad. CRI will conduct the telephone availability and utilization calls for the disparity study. CRI has worked with BBC on more than 25 disparity studies.
L. Luster & Associates (LLA)
LLA is a Black American woman-owned professional services firm that specializes in expanding opportunities for businesses interested in getting involved in the local government contracting industries. Over the past 12 years, the firm has created channels for small, local, disadvantaged, minority-owned, woman-owned, and veteran-owned contractors to become engaged in public contracting. LLA’s expertise in opportunity expansion includes training programs, community engagement, policy development, and diversity program administration. The firm has helped clients develop business equity programs that result in contracts for disadvantaged businesses. LLA’s research has contributed to landmark local legislation that has generated thousands of work hours for local tradespeople. Recent clients have included Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development, the University of California – San Francisco, and the Alameda County Public Works Agency.
Caltrans and BBC present answers to frequently asked questions regarding disparity studies.
Q. What is a Disparity Study?
A disparity study examines whether there are disparities, or differences, between
- The percentage of dollars that minority- and woman-owned businesses received on an agency’s prime contracts and subcontracts during a particular time period (referred to as a utilization analysis); and
- The percentage of dollars that those firms would be expected to receive based on their availability to perform on the agency’s prime contracts and subcontracts (referred to as an availability analysis).
In addition to utilization, availability, and disparity analyses, disparity studies examine other quantitative and qualitative information regarding:
- Legal considerations surrounding implementations of the Federal DBE Program and other small business programs;
- Conditions in the local marketplace for minorities, women, and minority- and woman-owned businesses;
- Contracting practices and business assistance programs that the agency currently has in place; and
- Potential program measures for the agency to consider implementing as part of the federal DBE Program or other small business programs.
Q. What will Caltrans do with information from the disparity study?
Information collected as a part of the Caltrans FTA Disparity Study will inform its implementation of the Federal DBE program. In addition, the study will help Caltrans to monitor minority- and woman-owned business participation on its contracts.
Among other information, the disparity study will provide Caltrans with an independent, objective review of minority- and woman-owned business participation in its transportation-related construction; architecture and engineering; professional services; goods; and other services prime contracts and subcontracts. That information will be valuable to Caltrans’ leadership and to external groups that may be monitoring Caltrans’ contracting practices. In addition, the study will provide insights about how Caltrans might improve contracting opportunities for local small businesses, many of which are minority- or woman-owned.
Q. How can I participate in the disparity study process?
There are several ways in which you can participate in the Caltrans FTA Disparity Study:
Share your experiences working in the local marketplaceby submitting verbal testimony toCaltrans FTA Disparity Research
Join us for a public meetingwhere you can learn more about the disparity study process, submit verbal testimony, and ask questions.
Respond to our requests to complete a survey,which will begin taking place in January 2019. If you are a business owner in California, you may be contacted as a part of the utilization or availability survey process. If you are contacted for a survey, please help the study team by responding to the request in a timely manner.