A Community Advisory Committee (CAC) is a public participation technique that can be employed to gain stakeholder feedback, identify and resolve local concerns, and build community support during the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) decision-making process. Although not required, a CAC can be an effective means of addressing specific issues and hearing a variety of stakeholder views. A CAC can also be used in pre-NEPA planning studies.

Practical tips include deciding whether to establish a CAC, defining the role of the CAC, selecting CAC members and organizing the CAC, preparing for and facilitating CAC meetings, and providing for public access to CAC meetings.

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Handbook Resources

The International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) helps organizations and communities improve their decisions by involving those people who are affected by those decisions. Training opportunities, resources, and a comprehensive public participation toolbox is available on its website:

International Association for Facilitators is a resource for locating professional facilitators

The FHWA and FTA published the guide Public Involvement Techniques for Transportation Decision-making to provide agencies with access to a wide variety of tools to involve the public in developing specific plans, programs, or projects through their public involvement processes:

FHWA overview of public involvement

Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Public Involvement site has a list of manuals and tools for planning and conducting effective public involvement activities.