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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation
OFFICE OF RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT, AND TECHNOLOGY AT THE TURNER-FAIRBANK HIGHWAY RESEARCH CENTER

Ongoing Civil Rights Research

Title VI

The Federal Highway Administration’s Nondiscrimination and Title VI program ensures that all recipients of federal funds are equitably delivering their programs and projects in a manner that does not discriminate based on race, color, or national origin.

Nationwide research on Title VI review and oversight

This research provides a state of the practice for the current status of Title VI program and subrecipient reviews conducted by State DOTs and any subrecipients of federal funds. By assessing the current state of Title VI reviews and the level of effective oversight of the nondiscrimination program, the FHWA Office of Civil Rights will establish a baseline of overall national compliance with the statute and provide additional resources to recipients on best practices and areas of improvement. The ultimate outcome of the research is to produce a final handbook of best practices for use by recipients and subrecipients of federal funds on how to conduct reviews and ensure proper Title VI oversight of programs and projects.

Americans with Disabilities Act

The primary purpose of the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) program is to ensure that pedestrians with disabilities have an equal opportunity to use the public rights-of-way in the transportation system.

State Department of Transportation (DOT) Americans with Disabilities Act Transition Plan Handbook

This research will provide a handbook that assesses and highlights the best practices and innovative approaches to ADA transition plan implementation at State DOTs throughout the Nation. The goal of the handbook is to assess and understand real world outcomes of these practices and compare impacts through measurable means to ascertain the most effective methods for maximizing pedestrian accessibility in the public rights-of-way.

Local Agency Americans with Disabilities Act Transition Plan Case Studies

This research will provide case studies of best practices in how Local Public Agencies (LPAs) implement their ADA transition plans. It will identify efficiencies and measures of success that other LPAs might want to adopt in the areas of data collection and management, project planning, design, and construction. The results will be used to share successful practices to help local agencies remove barriers for people with disabilities and make their pedestrian facilities accessible.

Accessibility Outreach and Toolkit

Across the country, State DOTs and local agencies need a better understanding of how accessibility requirements impact their complaint process, complete streets and safety programs, and their ADA transition plans. Consistent outreach and messaging tools will improve awareness and support FHWA Division Offices in working with State DOTs to allow them to assist local agencies. We envision materials providing a general ADA overview, plus PowerPoints and flyers regarding specific issues. These will be used by FHWA Office of Civil Rights and by Division Civil Rights Specialists to inform and educate the public. The toolkit will address various ADA topics including Public Right-of-Way Accessibility Guidelines (PROWAG), ADA complaints, complete streets, and ADA transition plans.

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program

The Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program ensures that federally assisted contracts for highway, transit and aviation projects are made available for small business concerns owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.

DBE Program Oversight Tools for Monitoring Subcontractor Prompt Payment and Return of Retainage Requirements

Access to capital has traditionally been a barrier for DBEs and all small businesses, especially in the heavy highway civil construction industry. Prompt payment and return of retainage are imperative for subcontractors to keep up with expenses like payroll, materials, equipment, and other business expenses that are key to their survival. Delayed payments by prime contractors can result in devastating financial hardship for all subcontractors. It is important to emphasize that prompt payment and return of retainage requirements apply to all subcontractors, not just DBEs. In the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), Congress has specifically called out the importance of prompt payment. To support recipient State DOTs and Local Agencies in meeting prompt payment monitoring and enforcement requirements, the FHWA Office of Civil Rights has created an informational “toolkit” and an optional monitoring tool. The intention of these materials is to provide clarity on the regulatory requirements, USDOT guidance, and provide an easy-to-use tool that will help State’s monitor prompt payment and return of retainage for all subcontractors on their federally assisted contracts.