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Technical Report

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Big data, transportation equity, underserved communities, transportation disadvantaged

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Social equity has come to the forefront in recent years as a hot topic and essential aspect of transportation planning. Technological advancements are allowing planners to collect more precise data and conduct analysis in real time, as well as improve visualization and forecasting abilities. “Big data” has immense potential to enrich transportation planning and our understanding of equity issues, even as it poses potential limitations regarding social equity. Examples abound of big data applications in transportation, including transportation equity analysis, yet these examples are dispersed in different agency studies, company websites, and publications. This synthesis project scanned and mined the literature, big data company websites, and other sources to identify and document how various entities are using big data to evaluate transportation equity considerations, including how companies that market big data have designed their platforms to support equity analysis. It also documents examples and considerations relative to the limitations of big data in addressing equity. The synthesis culminates in a summary of key applications of big data for equity analysis and ongoing gaps in the use of big data to evaluate social equity in transportation planning.

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