WSP USA observes Transit Equity Day with commitment to creating places and infrastructure that improves underserved, marginalized and disinvested communities.
NEW YORK — WSP USA, a leading engineering and professional services firm, has formed the Equity Center of Excellence (ECE) to drive the transformation of American transit and mobility to full and equitable access for underserved, marginalized and disinvested communities.
The Equity Center of Excellence will ensure that every project achieves a high standard of accessibility, as equity has become a defining measure of progress for the transportation industry. The ECE meets emerging demand for expertise in applying equity to organizational, program and project needs. The ECE works with clients and partners across the U.S.—and within all WSP’s business lines and regions—to create places, infrastructure and experiences that improve the quality of life for these historically underserved, marginalized and disinvested communities.
“WSP’s projects create opportunities to impact lives in ways that extend far beyond structural benefits,” said Denise Turner Roth, Advisory national business line executive and ECE director. “In the pursuit of equity and racial justice, our Equity Center of Excellence will foster a world where everyone can achieve their potential, participate fully and access all opportunities our work generates. Evaluating equity and fairness in everything we do creates a more positive environment where our expertise, resources and skillsets sharpen our business practices while improving our communities. Benefits once perceived as exclusive can now be more inclusive.”
The four key objectives of the ECE are:
- operationalize equity in WSP’s business development and project delivery,
- advance WSP’s mission to create lasting societal value,
- deploy best practices and processes across WSP that empower all colleagues to guide clients in placing equity at the center of their planning, and
- attract and retain diverse talent so that our project teams reflect the communities we serve.
The ECE consolidates and focuses WSP’s ongoing work developing comprehensive frameworks, policies, processes and resources that help clients put equity into action. At the core of this work is WSP’s commitment to cultural competency, to continually learning and adapting to change, and to accepting accountability for the equitable solutions that each project provides for the natural, built and social environments.
Equity is inextricably linked to our client’s priorities including public trust, effective investments, distribution of benefits, and sustainable outcomes. In its approach, the ECE considers the history of infrastructure decision-making and community impact, the diversity of experiences and the implications of common static indicators like race, income and pollution.
The ECE supports clients in the development of infrastructure that prevents displacement; ensures equitable resiliency preparedness; and creates mobility that is affordable, agile and connected. WSP’s work in transit and mobility connects impoverished rural and urban neighborhoods and communities of color to better job and educational opportunities, and higher quality healthcare.
In 2020, WSP completed the Equitable Development Around Transit Study for the city of Raleigh, N.C. The study identified growth and affordability goals along future corridors for bus rapid transit (BRT) and provided a transit-oriented development (TOD) framework to fully and equitably realize the benefits. The study led to WSP’s creation of the Equitable TOD Guidebook, which the city of Raleigh uses as a toolkit of equitable transit strategies.
Joining Turner Roth in the ECE leadership are Gabi Brazzil, senior equity consultant in public engagement; Heather Martin, senior lead equity consultant in transportation planning; Muhammed Patel, equity program consultant in grants; and Sean Scott, senior equity consultant in urban design.
To learn more about WSP’s equity services, visit Building a More Equitable Future.