Business Engagement and Compliance

DBE Disparity Study

Disparity Study Summary

Disparity studies typically include an analysis of whether there is a disparity between the utilization and availability of minority- and women-owned firms (MBEs and WBEs).

  • "Utilization" refers to the percentage of an agency's contract dollars that went to MBEs and WBEs during a certain period of time.
  • "Availability" refers to the percentage of contract dollars that one might expect to go to MBEs and WBEs given the relative number of MBEs and WBEs available to perform specific types and sizes of prime contracts and subcontracts.

For purposes of this study, "minority" includes groups defined in the Federal DBE Program: African Americans, Asian-Pacific Americans, Subcontinent Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans. To further isolate the possible effects of gender, "WBEs" refers to white women-owned firms in this disparity study.

Utilization Analysis and Availability Analysis
Utilization analysis. To perform the utilization analysis, the Keen Independent study team is compiling and analyzing data on thousands of FHWA-, FTA-, FAA- and state-funded prime contracts and subcontracts that ADOT and local agencies awarded from July 2007 through June 2013. The study team is examining the type of work involved, location, size, timing and funding source for each prime contract and subcontract. The team will then analyze the percentage of contract dollars going to minority- and women-owned firms.
Availability analysis. In the availability analysis, the study team is collecting information concerning the qualifications and interest of local construction, engineering and related firms to do business with ADOT and local agencies. Only firms qualified and interested in transportation contracts for state or local transportation agencies in Arizona are included in the availability analysis. In spring 2014, the study team will begin telephone interviews to collect this information from local businesses. The study team will then analyze the level of minority- and women-owned business participation one might expect from the relative availability of firms for ADOT prime contracts and subcontracts.

Keen Independent will compare the utilization of MBEs and WBEs on ADOT contracts with the dollars those firms might be expected to receive based on MBE/WBE availability for those types, locations and sizes of prime contracts and subcontracts.

The study team is also analyzing ADOT contracting processes, conditions in the Arizona marketplace and potential business assistance programs. As part of this research, the study team will develop statistical models and compile and analyze bids and proposals for ADOT planning, construction and engineering-related contracts.

The study team will also be conducting in-depth interviews with representatives of local trade associations, minority- and women-owned firms and other businesses. This research will be performed throughout the state.