Menu Home

Port’s Equity Index Guides Noise Insulation Investments

March 22, 2023

In 2021, the Port of Seattle’s Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (OEDI) created and launched the Equity Index, which is an interactive map that displays a visual representation of social and environmental disparities in King County. The index evaluates equity and access to opportunity by neighborhood. Levels of equity are ranked from very low to very high based on data from 21 indicators across four categories: economic, environment, accessibility, and livability.  

The Equity Index illustrates the degree to which different communities experience pollution burdens and social inequities. The Port created the Equity Index to help inform decisions about how resources, programs, or policy interventions can drive positive impacts and enrich the quality of life or access to opportunity for the residents of the region.

Equity in Sound Insulation  

Recently, the Port’s Noise Programs Office used the Equity Index to help guide the implementation of the Sound Insulation Program, which launched in 1985 and provides noise mitigation to eligible residents located within the Port’s noise remedy boundary. This work includes installing new windows, doors, and in some cases, ventilation systems. Since the program inception in 1985, this program has served:

  • 9,400 single family homes
  • 245 condominium and apartment unit
  • 10 schools in the Highline School district, and 
  • 14 buildings on the Highline College campus

Here’s how the Sound Insulation Program and OEDI staff used data from the Equity Index to provide more targeted services to communities in need: 

  1. Using the Equity Index to better understand the demographics in the communities within the noise remedy boundary. With that information, Sound Insulation Program staff gained greater awareness of the strengths and barriers experienced by different communities so that they were better informed about the people they were hoping to serve. 
  2. Improving how program information was shared and accessed online. Sound Insulation Program staff updated web pages with plain language instructions, FAQs, and an overview of the program’s process. OEDI provided guidance on language translation for the website and a partner in reviewing for equitable access. 
  3. Changing outreach strategies to create a broader awareness of the program. The Equity Index provides data about the ethnicities of residents in a given neighborhood. Using that information, staff translated outreach materials to languages that were most relevant to communities in this area. These changes have played a big part in increasing participation in the Sound Insulation Program over the last two years.  


The Equity Index enables the Port to prioritize projects through an equity lens. The order of project implementation is prioritized for communities with the greatest need. All eligible projects will be completed, but this tool focuses efforts to complete the most urgent projects first.   

Sound Insulation Manager Julie Kinzie shares that, “working with OEDI and using the Equity Index was incredibly helpful to learn about the available equity information and resources. This partnership facilitated a data-driven approach and helped us better understand how to connect with these communities.”  

The Equity Index is just one tool to improve how the Port serves local communities and produces better outcomes for the communities we serve. In this case, the Equity Index employs a data-driven approach to understand environmental inequities and socioeconomic factors and use that data to make decisions.

Learn more about the Equity Index 

Related to Port’s Equity Index Guides Noise Insulation Investments

Back to Top