This plan uses the recommended four-factor analysis of an individual assessment considering the four factors outlined above. Each of the following factors is examined to determine the level and extent of language assistance measures required to sufficiently ensure meaningful access to public services within the scope of PennDOT's multi-modal transportation services. Recommendations are then based on the results of the analysis.
Factor 1: The number or proportion of LEP persons in the service area who may be served or are likely to be encountered at a PennDOT program, service, or activity.
The U.S. Census Bureau has a range of four classifications of how well people speak English. The classifications are (1) 'very well,' (2) 'well,' (3) 'not well,' and (4) 'not at all.'
The Department considers individuals who speak English less than 'very well' Limited English Proficient, or LEP.
The tables provided in the appendix shows a breakdown of Pennsylvania's population by race/ethnicity and the most common languages spoken in the Commonwealth which demonstrates the need to ensure that LEP persons are included in the transportation public involvement process.
All programs/projects must consider the number and percent of persons in regard to their English language skills within the planning area for inclusion in public involvement and public engagement meetings.
For each program, project, service, or activity, an assessment will be conducted to determine the number and type of LEP populations impacted to ensure meaningful public involvement. Guidance provided in the Center for Program Development and Management Public Involvement Plans will be followed to ensure all groups have notification and access as part of the Department's public outreach efforts.
Factor 2: The frequency with which LEP persons come in contact with a PennDOT program, activity, or service
The program/project must be evaluated in relationship to the number of persons who are within the program/project area and the number of times they have frequented the program or activity. For public meetings, a sign-in sheet or survey must be utilized to determine the demographic and frequency of participation. Planners and project managers must provide notice to LEP persons within the project/program area so that they are aware of any programs/projects that may affect their quality of life.
Programs, services, and activities that have potential impact for LEP persons include, but are not limited to:
- Public involvement and public engagement meetings for transportation projects affecting LEP communities or individuals
- Welcome Centers and Rest Areas
- Roadside assistance drivers
- Transportation maintenance workers
- Transit sub-recipients
- Requests for permits
- Real estate transactions/condemnation
- Payment of tolls at PennDOT bridges
- Internet access: PennDOT Web sites provides translation features
- Requests for certifications, licenses
- Phone communications: notices/greetings in languages other than English
Factor 3: The Nature and Importance of the Program, Activity, or Service by PennDOT to the LEP population
As the state transportation agency responsible for coordinating the Statewide Transportation Planning process, PennDOT must ensure that all segments of the population, including LEP persons, have been involved or have had the opportunity to be involved with the planning process. The impact of proposed transportation investments on underserved and underrepresented population groups are part of the evaluation process. PennDOT provides oversight and helps ensure that LEP persons, groups and other protected classes of persons are not overlooked in the transportation planning process.
PennDOT's main function is to support cooperative, comprehensive, and continuing transportation planning as outlined in federal transportation acts. In doing so, PennDOT develops three (3) main documents: the Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) and Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP), and as needed, other studies. The LRTP provides direction for transportation investments 20 years out in the future. The TIP is a program or schedule of short-range transportation improvements and activities intended to be implemented through a combination of State, Federal, and local funding. The UPWP outlines tasks to be performed in the upcoming year. LEP persons, low-income, minority populations, the elderly, and the disabled must be considered in these processes.
Factor 4: The Resources Available to PennDOT and the Overall Cost to provide LEP assistance
PennDOT serves the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and is required by federal law to provide access to LEP persons, and to ensure that its sub-recipients also provide access. Even sub-recipients with very limited resources should have an LEP section in their Environmental Justice analyses with the acknowledgment that current demographic trends indicate the number of LEP persons may increase within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and projects impacted in their specific planning area. At the very least, sub-recipients should contact their MPO to examine the potential need for LEP services based on the demographics provided by the MPO.
According to U.S. Department of Transportation Policy Guidance Concerning Recipients' Responsibilities to Limited English Proficient (LEP) Persons published in the Federal Register: December 14, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 239), "Certain DOT recipients, such as those serving very few LEP persons or those with very limited resources, may choose not to develop a written LEP plan."