Civil Rights and Emergency Preparedness

Recent emergencies such as the September 11, 2001 attacks and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita have focused nationwide attention on emergency preparedness and on the specific needs of people with disabilities, older adults, people with low-incomes, people with limited English proficiency in emergencies.

Civil Rights Statutes including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975 provide that persons in the United States shall not be denied the benefits of, excluded from participation in, or subject to discrimination under Federally Funded programs or activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, or age.

The FTA Office of Civil Rights (TCR) has begun to provide guidance and technical assistance to FTA grant recipients in order to ensure that their emergency preparedness, disaster response, and disaster recovery planning and operations comply with these Federal civil rights laws and are consistent with Executive Orders on Environmental Justice (EO 12898), Limited English Proficiency (EO 13166), and Individuals with Disabilities in Emegency Preparednes (EO 13347). This technical assistance includes the following report:

Transportation Equity in Emergencies: A Review of the Practices of State Departments of Transportation, Metropolitan Planning Organizations, and Transit Agencies in 20 Metropolitan Areas (MS Word)

The Federal Transit Administration’s Office of Civil Rights commissioned this report in order to promote nondiscrimination in the emergency preparedness activities administered by recipients of FTA financial assistance. This report reviews the extent to which transit providers, metropolitan planning organizations, and state departments of transportation in selected metropolitan areas in the United States and Puerto Rico are identifying and addressing the needs of populations that may be especially vulnerable in the event of a natural or man-made disaster. This report also provides resources that should assist officials in these and other metropolitan regions to better incorporate attention to populations with specific mobility needs into their ongoing emergency preparedness planning activities.

In conjunction with the report, Geographic Imaging System (GIS) maps of twenty metropolitan regions were developed. These maps highlight areas with high concentration of minority and low-income populations, persons with limited English proficiency, and households without personal vehicles. These maps should be helpful to State Departments of Transportation, Metropolitan Planning Organizations, and transit agencies in identifying and assisting populations that may need assistance in an emergency evacuation.

Region 1 Honolulu, Hawaii CBSA (MS Word)

Region 2 San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, California CSA (MS Word)

Region 3 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside, California CSA (MS Word)

Region 4 Seattle-Bellevue-Tacoma, Washington, CSA (MS Word)

Region 5 Flagstaff, Arizona CBSA (MS Word)

Region 6 Brownsville-Harlingen, Texas CBSA (MS Word)

Region 7 Houston-Baytown-Huntsville, Texas CSA (MS Word)

Region 8 Lafayette, Louisiana CBSA (MS Word)

Region 9 Pine Bluff, Arkansas CBSA (MS Word)

Region 10 St. Louis, Missouri-Illinois CBSA (MS Word)

Region 11 Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, Illinois-Indiana-Wisconsin CSA (MS Word)

Region 12 Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Georgia CBSA (MS Word)

Region 13 Albany, Georgia CBSA (MS Word)

Region 14 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania CBSA (MS Word)

Region 15 Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-Miami Beach, Florida CBSA (MS Word)

Region 16 Washington-Baltimore-Northern Virginia District of Columbia-Maryland-Virginia-West Virginia CSA (MS Word)

Region 17 Philadelphia-Camden-Vineland, Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Deleware-Maryland CSA (MS Word)

Region 18 New York-Newark-Bridgeport, New York-New Jersey-Connecticut-Pennsylvania CSA (MS Word)

Region 19 Boston-Worchester-Manchester, Massachussetts-New Hampshire CSA (MS Word)

Region 20 San Juan-Caguas-Fajardo Puerto Rico CSA (MS Word)

For more information, please contact the FTA Office of Civil Rights at (202) 366-4018.