Percentage of participants in mobility public engagement processes that identify as African American, Asian, Hispanic/Latino, Indigenous, Pacific Islander, and/ or other people of color
In 2021 25% of participants in mobility public engagement processes identified as a person of color, which is under the target of 52%; the target is the current percentage of Austinites that are people of color.
Public engagement is a critical aspect of City-led mobility projects. Community input helps decide large and overarching policy goals, provides critical feedback, and guides the development and implementation of different programs and initiatives. Community input is necessary to help show the City what programs and infrastructure are working as designed, are not working well, or are needed for people to get where they need to go when they want to, safely and cost-effectively.
Mobility infrastructure and programs affect different people and communities very differently. People of different ages, backgrounds, and abilities may need or desire different things from the same piece of infrastructure or mobility project. For example, someone using a wheelchair will be more aware of a road without sidewalks or sidewalks that don’t have curb ramps, while someone who drives will be more attuned to parking availability. These differences highlight the importance of receiving feedback from the community and making sure we hear from a diverse array of people and communities with various needs and preferences.
2019 was the first year that Mobility Outcome departments (Austin Transportation, Public Works, Corridor Program Office, and Aviation departments) began collecting demographic information as a specific data point. In the past, these City departments had not reliably collected demographic information as part of outreach processes. When information had been collected, what information and how it was collected was often inconsistent between departments, programs, and projects. This can result in similar, but not directly comparable, demographic data.
Note: To see the underlying data for this chart, please select the "View Source Data" link.
Since 2019, these departments have worked to align their demographic questions to capture core information, such as the cultural background of participants in surveys and other engagement activities. Not all mobility public engagement processes included these questions in their outreach activities. For example, some activities, such as open Zoom presentations do not allow for easy collection of this information if there isn’t a registration form. However, these departments are working to consistently collect this information. In 2019, data came from just three of 18 mobility public engagement processes. In 2021, eight of the twenty mobility public engagement processes were able to collect this information.
Since 2019, unfortunately, there has been a downward trend in this figure. In 2019, 29% of participants in mobility public engagement processes identified as BIPOC; this number lowered to 25% in 2021.
Additional Measure Insights
This measure examines how well the City reaches different communities and subpopulations when soliciting public input. For this measure, mobility public engagement process participants were divided into two groups using race data from the American Community Survey. The first group included anyone who identified as African American, Asian, Hispanic/Latino, Indigenous, and/or other people of color—they are noted in the following graph as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, Person of Color). The second group is people who identify themselves as White for race and not-Hispanic or Latino for ethnicity. These people are noted as “White alone.”
The data show that in 2021, when City Mobility departments were engaging the public on on mobility issues, the City was hearing from a much higher share of people who identify as White alone (75%), as compared to the share of people identifying as White alone in Austin’s population overall (48%). On the other hand, mobility public input gathered in 2021 underrepresented BIPOC Austinites because only 25% of participants identified as African American, Asian, Hispanic/Latino, Indigenous, Pacific Islander, and/or other people of color although they represent 52% of the overall Austin population.
Breaking down the race and ethnicity categories shows in greater detail which communities of people are not as well-represented in mobility public engagement processes as compared to their proportion of the city’s population.
While Black or African-American people comprise a bit under 8% of Austin’s community, they are not quite 4% of mobility public engagement process respondents. People identifying as Asian also make up almost 8% of Austin’s population but are only about 5% of the participants in mobility public engagement processes. People identifying as Hispanic or Latino are the most underrepresented in mobility public engagement processes when compared to their representative share of the city of Austin population; although they make up more than one out of every three Austinites, they are not quite 12% of mobility public engagement process participants.
The inconsistencies mentioned in the “Trending” section about measuring race and ethnicity present several challenges when trying to accurately measure the participation levels of different demographic groups in Austin. While the United States Census Bureau creates the measurement categories against which we compare city-wide data, these categories are often in conflict with how people identify themselves. Particularly notable is the separation of race from ethnicity. The U.S. Census requires people to decide both what race they are a part of (e.g., White, Asian, Black or African American, etc.) and their ethnicity (i.e., whether or not they are Hispanic or Latino). For this measure, we considered the number of people selecting both “White” and “Not Hispanic or Latino” to be “White alone,” while anyone who selected any non-white race or identified themselves as Hispanic or Latino was considered BIPOC. The City of Austin has not adopted a uniform way to ask this question, but data was processed to fit the definitions of the U.S. Census.
It’s always optional to respond to the demographic questions the City of Austin asks during mobility public engagement processes. The numbers in this measure are only from people who chose to answer these demographic questions, so these numbers do not necessarily reflect the full breadth of engagement during mobility projects.
Additionally, the type of mobility public engagement project, type of survey used to collect this data, and location of a project will all have significant impacts on the results of demographic information collection. For example, Austin Transportation has conducted short intercept surveys in downtown Austin that were designed to be administered in less than 30 seconds; it was not feasible to collect information on a participant’s race and ethnicity during this type of survey. Similarly, mobility projects that take place in certain neighborhoods are likely to reflect the racial and ethnic composition of that neighborhood. That neighborhood may or may not be similar to the racial and ethnic composition of the city as a whole. It is probable that city-wide surveys will be more representative than neighborhood-focused surveys. As more mobility projects continue to integrate these demographic questions into their surveys and public engagement processes increasingly seek participation from underrepresented populations, we believe that these numbers will become more representative of the Austin community as a whole. Collecting and reviewing demographic information throughout a public engagement process can provide insight into the people that are being reached and those that are not so that focused efforts can be made to engage underrepresented populations.
Measure Details and Definition
1) Definition: The City of Austin Mobility Outcome examines work led by several departments. The Mobility departments that lead public-facing work are:
1. Austin Transportation
2. Aviation Department (Austin-Bergstrom International Airport)
3. Corridor Program Office (oversees the 2016 Mobility Bond)
4. Public Works Department
“Public engagement processes” are events of different lengths and activities that ask for community input to inform, impact, and guide the decisions made about transportation projects.
"Race” and “ethnicity” are categories of identity that look at people’s cultural backgrounds. These are defined by the United States Census Bureau. The American Community Survey, a product of the U.S. Census which is used to collect data in non-decennial census years, is used interchangeably with the Census when analyzing and discussing this data
2) Calculation Method: The data for mobility public engagement processes was calculated by summing the total number of participants for each demographic category and then dividing this sum by the total number of participants who selected a demographic category. Multiplying this number by 100 yielded the percentage.
The BIPOC category includes anyone who identified themselves as Black or African American, Asian, Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, American Indian and Alaska Native, Some other race, Two or more races, or as Hispanic or Latino. Our chart labels differ slightly from the U.S. Census; in our chart, American Indian and Alaska Native were changed to Native/Indigenous based upon recommendations from the City’s Equity Office. Another Race includes anyone who identified as Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, Some other race, or Two or more races.
City of Austin data was calculated by dividing the U.S. Census data for each category by the total number of Austin residents. Multiplying the result by 100 yielded the city of Austin percentage.
3) Data Collection Process: The data for this measure comes from two places. City of Austin demographic data comes from 2019 five-year estimates from the American Community Survey table 03002, which displays ethnicity by race. The data from 2019 was released in December 2020.
Mobility public engagement process data comes from self-reported responses via online and paper surveys for three different mobility projects in 2019. Austin Mobility Outcome departments hosted 18 public engagement processes in 2019, however, demographic data was not collected for all processes.
4) Measure Target Calculation: The City aims for all mobility public engagement processes to be representative of the community’s demographic profile. For example, in 2019, 52% of the community identified as BIPOC. The City of Austin Mobility Outcome departments would therefore prefer 52% of participants in mobility public engagement processes held that year to identify as BIPOC.
5) Frequency Measure is Reported: Annually (Calendar Year)
Date page was last updated: June 2022