HDR’s Cathy LaFata has taken on a new role as the company’s transportation equity director, where she will apply more than 27 years of environmental justice expertise to help clients incorporate equity into projects at every level.
“Our clients are eager to figure out how to navigate this new world in front of them — where equity is now very much tied to federal funding,” LaFata said. “We can help them understand what an equity framework looks like, how they can incorporate equity into their organizations internally and how they can deliver their programs equitably.”
In her new role, LaFata will help multidisciplinary teams deliver HDR’s full breadth of advisory and technical services through an equity lens. She will support HDR’s efforts to expand its equity practice, technical understanding, and expertise. And, she will assist clients as they adjust to changing evaluation criteria for project feasibility analysis or prioritization, while also identifying the right tools to help clients meet their equity goals.
LaFata has been practicing environmental justice in the transportation world since the requirement was introduced in 1994. She has managed and/or been a principal preparer of dozens of environmental documents for transit, rail, and roadway improvement projects, including community impact assessments and EJ evaluations for transportation projects across the U.S.
She has long been a strong advocate for equity throughout the transportation industry. LaFata sits on the TRB Standing Committee on Equity in Transportation; APTA Planning, Policy, and Program Development Committee; and APTA EJ Subcommittee. She has also authored multiple articles on equity and environmental justice.