Ohio.gov State Agencies  |  Online Services
Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Navigate Up
Sign In
Ohio Department of Transportation 
2015-16 Disparity Study
 

 What is a disparity study?

 
A disparity study examines whether there are disparities between:
  • The percentage of dollars that minority- and woman-owned businesses received on prime contracts and subcontracts during a particular time period (referred to as a utilization analysis); and
  • The percentage of dollars that those firms would be expected to receive based on their availability to perform prime contracts and subcontracts (referred to as an availability analysis).
The comparison between the utilization of minority- and women-owned businesses and the availability of those businesses to perform that work is referred to as a disparity analysis.
 
In addition to utilization, availability, and disparity analyses, ODOT's Disparity Study examines other quantitative and qualitative information about: 
  • Legal considerations surrounding the implementations of the ODOT Federal DBE Program and the State EDGE Program;
  • Conditions in the local marketplace for minority- and women-owned businesses;
  • Contracting practices and business assistance programs that ODOT currently maintains; 
  • Potential program measures for ODOT to consider implementing as part of its DBE program; and
  • Potential program measures for ODOT and the Turnpike Commission to consider implementing as part of its EDGE Program.
 

 What was learned through the study?

 

Focusing on ODOT contracts awarded between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2014, the study confirms a disparity of utilization. In other words, the percentage of contracting dollars received by minority and woman-owned businesses is disproportionate to their availability in the current marketplace.

In comparing utilization to availability, the study team established a scale of 100, in which any score below 100 would indicate disparity, and any score below 80 represents disparity to negative impact. Across six categories of woman- and minority-owned businesses, Ohio averaged a disparity index of 79, with the following DBE category scores:

Hispanic American: 21
Black American: 31
Asian Pacific American: 41
Native American: 105
White Woman: 118
Subcontinent Asian American: 200+

The 2015-16 Disparity Study Final Report is a thorough 516-page report, complete with an executive summary and numerous appendices, and it is available for download here.

 

 Why did ODOT conduct a disparity study?

 

The studies are being conducted to help ODOT refine its implementation of the of the Federal Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program and the Encouraging Diversity, Growth, and Equity (EDGE) Program. ODOT currently uses race-and gender-conscious measures (i.e., contract goals) as part of its implementation of the Federal DBE Program. The disparity study was designed to understand dynamics and conditions in the contracting marketplace, and to identify barriers that separate qualified small and disadvantaged businesses from highway construction and engineering contract opportunities.

 

 What industries were studied?

 

ODOT's disparity study focused on heavy highway construction contractors and engineering consultants.

 

 How was the disparity study conducted?

 

BBC Research & Consulting (BBC) and Exstare Federal Services Group, LLC (Exstare) have been engaged to conduct the disparity studies. The BBC/Exstare study team includes Diversity Supplier Research, a MBE and local diversity expert located in Columbus, OH; Holland & Knight, a national legal expert; and Customer Research International, a MBE and national survey expert.

Thousands of items of data were examined by the BBC/Exstare study team to determine the availability of minority-owned and woman-owned businesses to participate in ODOT business opportunities, and to compare that availability to actual participation between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2014. The project team also analyzed ODOT's procurement policies, practices and procedures; the local markets in terms of access to financing, bonding, and insurance; and the participation of minority- and woman-owned businesses in non-public sector work.

 

 Who participated in the disparity study?

 
BBC Research & Consulting and Federal Services Group (the study team) conducted eight public hearings around the state, 44 in‐depth personal interviews, telephone surveys, and four focus groups between April and October, 2015. Participants discussed their experiences working in the local transportation contracting industry; experiences working with ODOT and other public agencies; experiences with potential barriers and/or discrimination based on race/ethnicity/gender; and other matters relevant to doing business in the Ohio marketplace.
Exstare Federal Services Group (the study team) conducted eight public hearings around the state, 44 in‐depth personal interviews, telephone surveys, and four focus groups between April and October, 2015. Participants discussed their experiences working in the local transportation contracting industry; experiences working with ODOT and other public agencies; experiences with potential barriers and/or discrimination based on race/ethnicity/gender; and other matters relevant to doing business in the Ohio marketplace.
 

 How will the results of the study be used?

 
The study's findings will help ODOT set overall DBE participation goals, and help the department fine-tune its implementation of the EDGE Program. The findings will also provide insights on how ODOT might improve contracting opportunities for small businesses, many of which are minority- and woman-owned.
 
 

 How does ODOT set DBE participation goals?

 

ODOT must follow the methodology set forth in section 26.45 of 49 Code of Federal Regulations Part 26 to set DBE participation goals. Those goals cover three-year periods and must be based on demonstrated evidence of the availability of ready, willing, and able DBEs relative to all firms ready, willing, and able to participate on ODOT federally-funded contracts. The goals must also reflect ODOT’s determination of the level of DBE participation it would expect absent the effects of discrimination. For information about section 26.45 of 49 Code of Federal Regulations Part 26 click here.

ODOT’s next DBE goal-setting period is for federal fiscal years 2017-2019. Goals for that period must be submitted to the Federal Highway Administration by August 1, 2016. ODOT will seek public comment on its goals prior to submitting them to FHWA.