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Public Involvement

Overview

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This section provides an overview and resources related to public involvement in transportation.

Consultation with the public is fundamental to the development of transportation plans and projects. Outreach to the public also is critical to build support for agency programs and to secure adequate funding for transportation infrastructure.

Federal and state laws set requirements for involving the public in transportation decision-making. This includes providing for early and continuous public involvement prior to adopting plans or programs, considering and responding to public comments, providing timely information, offering convenient and accessible public meeting locations, and engaging a wide variety of stakeholders in transportation decision-making.

Historically, federally mandated public involvement has consisted of in-person outreach, such as public workshops, town-hall meetings, and public hearings. Mail and telephone surveys and other communications also have been used. Taking advantage of more recent technologies, public involvement now includes use of email and Internet postings, as well as online tools available to communicate with the public.

The FHWA, through its Every Day Counts initiative, is promoting use of virtual public involvement strategies and techniques. Virtual tools provide increased transparency and access to transportation planning activities and project development and decision-making processes. Many virtual tools also provide information in visual and interactive formats that enhance public and stakeholder understanding of proposed projects and plans.  Virtual approaches have become even more important as communities faced social distancing requirements in response to the Coronavirus pandemic of 2020.

The following are some of the methods highlighted through FHWA’s EDC program:

For more background on requirements and resources related to public involvement, see the Federal Highway Administration’s Public Involvement web page and Virtual Public Involvement Program  and link to Key Resources, Recent Developments, and Case Studies sections in this topic.

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AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials)
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