WSP USA announced it has formed the Equity Center of Excellence (ECE) to drive the transformation of American transit and mobility to full and equitable access for underserved, marginalized, and disinvested communities.
The Equity Center of Excellence will ensure that every project achieves a high standard of accessibility. The ECE works with clients and partners across the U.S. — and within all WSP’s business lines and regions — to create places, infrastructure. and experiences that improve the quality of life for historically underserved, marginalized, and disinvested communities.
“WSP’s projects create opportunities to impact lives in ways that extend far beyond structural benefits,” said Denise Turner Roth, Advisory national business line executive and ECE director. “In the pursuit of equity and racial justice, our Equity Center of Excellence will foster a world where everyone can achieve their potential, participate fully and access all opportunities our work generates. Evaluating equity and fairness in everything we do creates a more positive environment where our expertise, resources and skillsets sharpen our business practices while improving our communities. Benefits once perceived as exclusive can now be more inclusive.”
The four key objectives of the ECE are:
- operationalize equity in WSP’s business development and project delivery,
- advance WSP’s mission to create lasting societal value,
- deploy best practices and processes across WSP that empower all colleagues to guide clients in placing equity at the center of their planning, and
- attract and retain diverse talent so that our project teams reflect the communities we serve.
The ECE consolidates and focuses WSP’s ongoing work developing comprehensive frameworks, policies, processes, and resources that help clients put equity into action.
According to WSP USA, the ECE considers the history of infrastructure decision-making and community impact, the diversity of experiences, and the implications of common static indicators like race, income, and pollution.
In 2020, WSP completed the Equitable Development Around Transit Study for the city of Raleigh, N.C. The study identified growth and affordability goals along future corridors for bus rapid transit (BRT) and provided a transit-oriented development (TOD) framework to fully and equitably realize the benefits. The study led to WSP’s creation of the Equitable TOD Guidebook,which the city of Raleigh uses as a toolkit of equitable transit strategies.
Joining Roth in the ECE leadership are Gabi Brazzil, senior equity consultant in public engagement; Heather Martin, senior lead equity consultant in transportation planning; Muhammed Patel, equity program consultant in grants; and Sean Scott, senior equity consultant in urban design.