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Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives


Different population groups have varying transportation needs based on their region type, socio‐economic, and socio‐demographic characteristics. Yet, municipal highway funding allocation methods do not typically consider these differences. Throughout the United States, municipal highway funding allocation is based upon fixed formulas that often only account for highway mileage and/or population size rather than equal benefits and funding outcomes across different population groups. This potentially creates an inequitable funding allocation process leading to safety and accessibility disparities between different population groups. This research investigates the extent to which the distribution of resources is not equal when evaluated by population group. Specifically, the relationship between municipal highway expenditures and poverty levels, population aged 65 years and older, race, and remoteness is investigated using data from the states of New York and Massachusetts. Using linear regression techniques, several models were developed that relate municipal highway expenditures with the socio‐economic and socio‐demographic characteristics of municipalities. The results revealed that there are clear municipal highway expenditure disparities between different population groups. Municipalities that have higher poverty levels experience a lower highway expenditure rate per local mile. Further, municipalities located in remote areas far from large metropolitan regions experience a disproportionately lower highway expenditure rate per local mile. Moreover, the results of this study indicate the need to consider how funding methods can address social differences.


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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


This work was supported by the Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship Program of the Federal Highway Administration [grant agreement number 93JJ32045003].