Cathy P. LaFata, AICP CTP
Transportation Equity Director
"To achieve meaningful involvement, you must proactively engage with underrepresented communities to thoroughly understand the issues people face and seek to uncover how the project may affect them. Equitable outcomes can only be achieved when we understand what matters to these communities and meaningfully integrate it into the project.”
As our first transportation equity director, Cathy LaFata helps multidisciplinary teams deliver our full breadth of advisory and technical services through an equity lens. Cathy is a passionate environmental justice and equity subject matter expert. She works collaboratively with strategic communications, planning, engineering, and other professionals to develop, evaluate, and advance transportation solutions to benefit communities most in need of improved transportation. Cathy helps clients navigate the evolving federal landscape of environmental justice and equity, by incorporating equity considerations in their programs and projects and addressing equity requirements for funding.
Cathy 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 transportation projects, including community impact assessments and EJ evaluations for major projects across the U.S. that involve tolling, transit station development, and other critical issues in equity.
Notably, Cathy co-authored the Metro Magazine article “Environmental Justice: A Holistic, Integrated Approach to Advance Equity in Transportation” and graduated from the WTS Executive Leadership Program in 2019. She has contributed to projects such as the Altamont Corridor Express Stockton Diamond, the Metropolitan Council Blue Line LRT Extension, and the award-winning Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District West Lake Corridor Final EIS.
Cathy has long been a strong advocate for equity throughout the transportation industry. She is a committee member on the Transportation Research Board Standing Committee on Equity in Transportation (AME10, 2018-2024), as well as a member of the American Public Transportation Association’s Planning, Policy and Program Development Committee; Environmental Justice/Title VI Subcommittee; and Diversity and Inclusion Council. She is also one of the inaugural members of the Institute of Transportation Engineers Equity Committee.