Disaster Management Manual
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Social Infrastructure is a subset of the infrastructure sector and typically includes assets that accommodate social services. We should assess those hazards to the transportation system that impact the support of a community. 1

‘To provide additional clarity around varying social infrastructure/equity impacts due to different strategies, the Spatial Temporal Economical Physiological Social (STEPS) equity framework developed by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) examines whether social equity barriers are reduced, exacerbated, or both by a particular strategy (Shaheen et al., 2017). The STEPS framework categorizes equity barriers to accessing transportation including considerations across spatial factors that compromise daily travel needs, temporal barriers that inhibit a user from completing time-sensitive trips, economic factors including direct and indirect travel costs, physiological barriers that make using certain travel modes difficult for disabled or older populations, and social factors like language or other barriers that detract from travelers’ comfort with using transportation (Shaheen et al., 2017).

Table STEPS Equity Framework Definitions





Spatial factors that compromise daily travel needs (e.g. excessively long distances between destinations, lack of public transit within walking distance).


Travel time barriers that inhibit a user from completing time-sensitive trips, such as arriving to work (e.g. public transit reliability issues, limited operating hours, traffic congestion).


Direct costs (e.g. fares, tools, vehicle ownership costs) and indirect costs (e.g. smartphone, internet, credit card access) that create economic hardship or preclude users from traveling. Indirect economic effects also include changes in property values, rent, wages and risk of displacement due to transportation infrastructure projects or parking changes.


Physical and cognitive limitations that make using standard transportation modes difficult or impossible (e.g. infants, older adults and disabled).


Social, racial, cultural, safety and language barriers that inhibit a user’s (e.g. women, immigrants, minorities) comfort with using transportation (e.g. neighborhood crime, poorly targeted marketing, lack of multi-language information).

  • 1. TC16_TCE_WG2_Report
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