Mitigating community harms of dense highway infrastructure "spaghetti junctions"

Principal Investigator(s):

Frank Douma, Director, State & Local Policy, Humphrey School of Public Affairs


Project summary:

Transportation projects, particularly dense highway infrastructure projects, often raise equity concerns as they disproportionately affect environmental justice communities. Effects of highly dense highway infrastructure projects (also known as spaghetti junctions) include socioeconomic harms to disadvantaged communities due to the demolition of their neighborhoods; concentrated noise and air pollution, which results in health issues such as asthma and others; limited pedestrian mobility; increased stress and mental health effects; and increased traffic injuries and fatalities. The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) aims to understand the options available to mitigate adverse impacts derived from dense highway infrastructure. Minnesota has major junctions, such as Highway 55/I-35W/I-94, located in neighborhoods mainly inhabited by Native and Black communities. It is pressing for MnDOT to understand the options available to mitigate harms but also to transform the effects of projects into improved livability, especially for environmental justice communities.

Project details:

  • Project number: 2024011
  • Start date: 08/2023
  • Project status: Active
  • Research area: Planning and Economy
  • Topics: Environment, Equity, Planning