Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Committee Chair

Dimitra Pyrialakou

Committee Co-Chair

Kevin Orner

Committee Member

Vaike Haas

Committee Member

David Martinelli


While community involvement is legally required as a crucial part of the planning process, historically the traditional state-centric approaches to transportation planning have led to the underrepresentation of transportation-disadvantaged individuals in the process and, thus, to automobile-oriented regions. Planning practices for small urban and rural areas especially, which often lack funding and other resources, have generally overlooked accessible pedestrian, bicycling, and multimodal infrastructure and facilities, resulting in underdeveloped and poorly connected networks. I conducted a social equity evaluation of the regional planning, investment prioritization, and programming processes for pedestrian and bicycling infrastructure using the case study of Monongalia County, West Virginia, U.S. Specifically focusing on pedestrian and bicycling infrastructure, the analysis of three recent regional plans prepared for the Morgantown Monongalia Metropolitan Planning Organization (MMMPO) was conducted: (1) the 2020 Morgantown Regional Bike and Pedestrian Plan, (2) the 2017-2045 Metropolitan Transportation Plan Update, and (3) the Metropolitan Transportation Plan 2050.

The assessment of equity involved the examination of (i) the engagement of traditionally underrepresented individuals throughout the planning process, (ii) the existence of a clear focus on inclusive and accessible mobility, and (iii) the potential distribution of mobility benefits and the consideration of those with limited mobility options in project identification, prioritization, and selection. To address these goals, this thesis used a two-stage mixed methods approach. Specifically, in the first stage, qualitative document analysis was used to analyze the published plans and the associated documentation, and a comparison of the results was performed to identify differences between long-range and pedestrian and bike plans. In the second stage, spatial analysis methods were used to assess the distribution of the proposed pedestrian and bicycling projects of the latest regional bike and pedestrian plan.

This research concludes that, while recent planning processes have placed some focus on equity, considerable discrepancies between the proposed investment of projects and the region’s vision and goals remain. Overall, the research insights corroborate literature that highlights the value of community-centric approaches and proposes the integration of state- and community-centric planning practices. The findings of this research can inform future planning and the reprioritization of bike and pedestrian projects in the region. Utilizing the research approach this thesis developed, other MPOs could perform similar assessments of equity that can guide transportation planning and funding decisions, accounting for factors that, although rarely explicitly considered in most planning processes, were found to be potentially influential.

Embargo Reason

Publication Pending

Available for download on Saturday, July 27, 2024