What is Environmental Justice?

Environmental Justice (EJ) is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, income, national origin, or educational level with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies and is derived from an Executive Order signed by President Clinton in February of 1994.

To identify where people live who meet the low income or minority population threshold in Douglas County the U.S. Census Bureau block group data is utilized.

Environmental Justice Analysis

This data provides opportunities to evaluate transportation options for all residents across race and
income levels.

Low-Moderate Income Households

  • People who have low-moderate income may not have the resources to own/maintain a personal vehicle, which on average costs $6,060 – $8,743 per year, and need to rely on public transit or others to provide rides. (AAA, 2019)
  • The low/moderate income data reflects block groups where household income was 51 percent or more of the population residing in households earning less than 80 percent of the area’s median income. (HUD USER, 2021)  This data is updated every five years unless there is a change to the census tracks and block group boundaries. The City of Lawrence Neighborhood Resources Division of the Planning and Development Services Department uses this data. Various housing rehabilitation program funds and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds are targeted toward these areas.


  • There is a link between ethnicity and pedestrian deaths. Minority populations are less likely to own a vehicle and more likely to walk, bicycle and/or use public transportation, resulting in greater exposure to the dangers of the street. (Surface Transportation Policy Project, 2002)
  •  The minority data is from the most up-to-date US Census Bureau American Community Survey (ACS) 5-year estimates. The US Census Bureau collects demographic data for one race and a combination of races. The Census one race data was used to depict areas within Douglas County that have a minority population within the 99% Confidence Interval average population residing in Lawrence and Douglas County. Essentially, a confidence interval indicates a range of values that’s likely to encompass the true value in our community. With a 99% mean confidence interval we are 99% sure that the interval contains all of the values.

The Environmental Justice Zone is updated in the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP).

Environmental Justice Map

The most up-to-date Environmental Justice data is from the Federal Fiscal Year 2021-2024 Transportation Improvement Program. It uses the 2018 American Community Survey 5-year Estimates for minority data and the low-moderate income households calculated by the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Department using the 2015 American Community Survey 5-year Estimates. This map is an interactive “story map”, which shows the transportation projects in relation to the Environmental Justice Zone. The third section of the map shows the most-up-to date Environmental Justice Zone.

June 2020 EJ


To view this information as a 2 page handout click here.

Environmental Justice Map Archive

Previous versions of the Environmental Justice Zone are located below.

To learn about the Lawrence Transportation Disadvantaged Population visit:  https://lawrenceks.org/mpo/transportation-disadvantaged.