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Report No

:
Meeting Date:

13-305d
August 13, 2014

Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District

STAFF REPORT
TO:

AC Transit Board of Directors

FROM:

David J. Armijo, General Manager

SUBJECT:

Adopt Title VI and Environmental Justice Policies

ACTION ITEM
RECOMMENDED ACTION(S):

Consider establishing the threshold for Disparate Impact and Disproportionate Burden.

Consider approving amendments to Board Policy 163, Public Hearings Processes for the
Board of Directors; Board Policy 501, Customer Contact Policy and Title VI Complaint
Process; and Board Policy 551, Title VI Service Review and Compliance Report Policy
incorporating the established thresholds.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:
At a Public Hearing on June 11, Staff presented revisions to three Board policies as required for
compliance with Title VI (Civil Rights Act) and FTA regulations. At the hearing, members of the
public presented several alternative recommendations for policy revisions, and Staff were
directed to analyze and provide feedback about those recommendations and other questions
posed by the Board. Based on a peer review of comparable agencies, staff found the majority
with FTA approved policies have established Disparate Impact (DI) and Disproportionate Burden
(DB) thresholds in the 10-20% range, and recommend that the Board choose thresholds within
that range for AC Transit policy. In addition, staff recommends the Board maintain the same
thresholds for both the DI and DB policies, and for both one-time and cumulative changes; and
continue incorporating statistical methods into all Title VI service and fare equity analyses.
BUDGETARY/FISCAL IMPACT:
There is no fiscal impact resulting from adopting the proposed amendments to the policies. Any
additional administration or analyses will be handled by existing staff.
BACKGROUND/RATIONALE:
AC Transit must revise three Board policies for compliance with FTA regulations related to Title
VI (Civil Rights Act) and Environmental Justice. These include updating the District's Title VI

while the District’s proposed policies look at the differences between impacts on minority populations and impacts on non-minority populations. Some commenters also proposed alternatives to the proposed Major Service Change and Transit Service Monitoring policies. Using statistical methods to implement thresholds does not mean that they were more appropriate. These are required elements of the District's Title VI Program.Report No. While the FTA requires transit providers to set numerical thresholds. there is no way to use statistical methods to select appropriate ones. whether they were too high. 2014 to consider the revisions. and how they would be used (including both general and statistical methods). 2014. whether cost played any role in setting or implementation of the thresholds. using statistical methods ensures that the findings are accurate with the established thresholds. the thresholds cannot be compared directly. However. staff met with a representative of the community organizations who presented alternatives to the Board to get a more complete understanding of their proposals. Disparate Impact and Disproportionate Burden (DI/DB) Thresholds Commenters during the public hearing asked AC Transit to adopt Disparate Impact and Disproportionate Burden policy thresholds of 8%. A breakdown of the specific questions and comments raised at the public hearing. which must be updated and submitted to the FTA by October 1. At the public hearing held on June 11. As a result of this difference. Setting numerical thresholds is basically an arbitrary exercise – it’s an effort to quantify if some activity is fair. . some technical information. Of course. SFMTA’s methods use the DI/DB thresholds differently than AC Transit’s methods – they look at the differences between impacted minority populations and overall minority populations. several commenters (including members of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) and Urban Habitat) suggested alternatives to the proposed policies. 13-305d Page 2 of 6 complaint and Major Service Change policies. establishing Disparate Impact and Disproportionate Burden policies. The comments mainly referred to the Disparate Impact and Disproportionate Burden (DI/DB) thresholds as proposed in Staff Report 13-305c: how they were set. they do not suggest actual levels or how agencies should choose appropriate numbers. in part because the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Association (SFMTA) had adopted such levels in their Title VI policy updates. and members of the Board posed several questions about the policies. Following the Public Hearing. Because these thresholds are inherently arbitrary. and a deeper explanation of how the thresholds would be used is provided in Attachment 1 and summarized below. Staff also conducted a more in-depth peer study and considered alternatives to the proposals. and establishing a Title VI transit service monitoring program.

meet the major service change threshold. 13-305d Page 3 of 6 In addition to using established thresholds and statistical methods. when considered cumulatively over a three year period. . and cannot find compelling examples in AC Transit’s peers’ policies. A few have adopted lower thresholds. In some cases. Draft Board Policy 551 states. and eliminations. they look for any difference between impacts on protected groups and non-protected groups. In fact. The findings of the peer review are detailed in Attachment 1. staff recommend the Board adopt thresholds comparable to peer transit agencies of between 10% and 20% in Board Policy 551. staff cannot identify a valid justification to do so.S. proposals have been altered to eliminate the difference in impacts. however. and some have different thresholds for different conditions. etc. changes.Report No. they take a closer look at the proposals. or an increase in headways. Cumulative Methods In the public comment. Currently. many of which have submitted their policies to and have been approved by the FTA.” Some of the speakers also felt that proposals which would trigger a major service change over a three year period should have lower triggers than for one-time occurrences. when staff conduct an equity analysis. and if found. For all these reasons. A large majority of agencies have set DI/DB thresholds of between 10% and 20%.. “The District will also conduct a service equity analysis for changes which. one for adding service and one for cutting service. AC Transit does not have DI/DB thresholds. FTA regulations now require transit agencies to define “adverse effects. especially since major service changes usually include a compilation of service additions.” so staff propose including the following in Board Policy 551: “An adverse effect is defined as a geographical or time-based reduction in service which includes but is not limited to: elimination of a route. Staff also considered setting different thresholds for different conditions: one for new service and one for changes to existing service. Such a recommendation is already in the proposed policies initially presented to the Board. while the originally proposed thresholds of 15% were entirely appropriate. in other cases. In all cases. rerouting an existing route. implementing different thresholds presented more problems than solving them.” Staff conducted a more in-depth peer review of agencies across the Bay Area and the U. the findings were presented to the Board for their decision. several speakers proposed that the District implement a cumulative service change policy. short turning a route.

This mandate already exceeds the FTA requirement to monitor and report on transit service. in fact. the District may implement proposals that may have disparate impacts or disproportionate burdens if they meet other legitimate goals (such as improving access to transit. AC Transit consider the recent Equity Strategy adopted by SFMTA. Addressing the broader issues of . Existing Board Policy 550 requires staff to provide the Board of Directors with an assessment of route performance within the service categories and to identify Minority Transit routes annually. 13-305d Page 4 of 6 Statistical Methods The Board requested information on whether and how staff used statistical methods. even if the proposals are not deemed to have disparate impacts or disproportionate burdens. or may identify alternatives themselves. however. A full description of how staff use these methods is included in Attachment 1. and equitable geographic distribution of transit service) and if no alternatives exist with less discriminatory effects. all service and fare equity analyses are analyzed using statistical tests performed at the 95% confidence level. SFMTA did. which will be a significant and time-consuming activity. however.” As in the past. instead of the current proposal for monitoring and reporting on service standards and service policies.Report No. Also. adopt a transit service monitoring plan very similar to the one proposed by staff. They state. “the Board may request additional service equity analyses for the consideration of changes as it deems appropriate. Transit Service Monitoring The comments provided by Urban Habitat propose that. it is important to remember the ability to ride the bus is a crucial quality of life issue. separate from SFMTA’s Title VI program update (and from the FTA’s requirements). The proposed policies include additional elements to meet a new FTA requirement around transit service monitoring. and was designed to deal with issues of how new funds from a specific revenue stream would be allocated. and propose continuing to do so. adding other requirements as recommended by Urban Habitat would require substantial additional resources. It is one that staff are committed to. improving access to employment opportunities. especially for low-income populations. Other Questions/Comments The proposed policies contain many safeguards to ensure AC Transit remains on the forefront of Title VI and Environmental Justice compliance. As Board members stated. the Board may direct staff to identify alternatives to proposals. Staff already do use statistical methods. In short. as long as doing so is not a pretext for discrimination. The Equity Strategy referred to was an additional plan.

staff request the Board approve amendments to Board Policy 163. Additionally. PRIOR RELEVANT BOARD ACTIONS/POLICIES: Staff Report 13-305c – Hold Public Hearing and Adopt Title VI Policies ATTACHMENTS: 1: 2: 3: 4: Analysis of alternate recommendations to policy revisions Draft Revised Board Policy 501 Draft Revised Board Policy 551 Draft Revised Board Policy 163 . 13-305d Page 5 of 6 making the bus available to all. In addition. low-income people. however. adoption of these policies following the extensive public outreach and public participation will increase the transparency of the District’s policy making process and increase public confidence in it. and Board Policy 551. There are no disadvantages to adopting the proposed policy revisions. Customer Contact Policy and Title VI Complaint Process. staff does not recommend this because it could cause AC Transit to be out of compliance with federal regulations and lead to a possible loss of federal funding for District programs and activities.Report No. but especially people of color. Public Hearings Processes for the Board of Directors. Summary Staff request the Board adopt a Disparate Impact and a Disproportionate Burden threshold comparable to those of peer transit agencies of between 10% and 20% in Board Policy 551. The advantage of adopting policy revisions is that the District will be well situated to complete its update to the Title VI program in time. Consideration of these topics will be included in the upcoming Title VI program update. and other traditionally underserved populations is the goal of the District’s Title VI and Environmental Justice work. Board Policy 501. ADVANTAGES/DISADVANTAGES: The District is required to have policies that align with FTA requirements prior to conducting a major service change and prior to submitting its updated Title VI program. Title VI Service Review and Compliance Report Policy incorporating the established thresholds. ALTERNATIVES ANALYSIS: The alternative to making policy revisions is to not make such revisions.

Report No. Director of Service Development Denise C. Statistician . Chief Planning and Development Officer Robert Del Rosario. Butler. Title VI Coordinator Campbell Jung. 13-305d Page 6 of 6 Department Head Approval: Reviewed by: Prepared by: Dennis W. Standridge. Interim General Counsel Sally Goodman.