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Engaging Stakeholders and Partners

There are a variety of methods for identifying stakeholders and project partners. Identifying them in the preliminary scoping phase (scoping up-front) can bring many benefits to a CSS project.

Transportation professionals have special and critical knowledge about a potential project, but a number of other people - key stakeholders - also have a working knowledge, which can help both in deepening the professional's understanding of the challenges in these places, and in finding solutions to them.

Excerpt IconExcerpt Identifying Stakeholders
"The first step towards achieving meaningful and effective public involvement in project development involves identifying the individuals and groups likely to be affected by the project, those who have a "stake" in its outcome," those who could get the project stopped if they wanted to, and persons or organizations who could help fund additional complimentary and desirable improvements outside the project right of way." In other words people most likely to support the project or to oppose it more...
from  NCHRP Report 480: A Guide to Best Practices for Achieving Context Sensitive Solutions
Excerpt IconExcerpt Team of Stakeholders
"All stakeholders need to be empowered to make decisions for their organizations. Make sure that you are assembling a group that can function as peers with each other. And begin with a team of individuals who have the right amount of authority and decision making ability to move the project along." more...
from  Building Projects that Build Communities: Recommended Best Practices
Article Icon Article / Paper / Report Getting it Right in the Right of Way: Citizen Participation in Context-Sensitive Highway Design
Getting It Right In the Right-of-Way is an action guide for people who want roads that preserve the beauty of their communities, as well as roads that are safe, durable, and economical to maintain.
--  Scenic America
Article Icon Article / Paper / Report Structured Public Involvement: Problems and Prospects for Improvement
Public involvement in transportation planning and design has a problematic history. This situation has arisen both because professionals lack access to a coherent, organized method for communicating with the public, and because some important principles of public involvement, known to community design professionals, are still being discovered by transportation professionals. This paper proposes a protocol named Structured Public Involvement (SPI), which is designed to ensure that public involvement is meaningful to the professional and the public. This paper sets forth principles of SPI and a details series of steps useful in engaging the general public in a complex design or planning problem.

SPI aims to be transparent, accountable, democratic, and efficient. SPI situates the use of technology within a public involvement framework built on community design experience. While technology, in the form of visualization tools, decision modeling, and computer-aided facilitation, can be useful, it must be placed in social context. That is, various technologies are employed for their ability to address problems in the public involvement process, such as lack of access to information, inconvenient and time-consuming meetings, confusing terms and graphics, and one-way communication. Highlights and examples are drawn from practical experience, where SPI protocols have been designed and used to solve problems of route planning, highway design and transit-oriented development. While each problem set called for a different mix of technical tools, the protocol within which those tools were used was the same, with similar encouraging results. Using SPI, public participation is less contentious and more informed and the professional has much higher quality information with which to begin the design process.
--  Kentucky Transportation Center
Article Icon Article / Paper / Report State of the Practice: White Paper on Public Involvement
Public involvement is the process of two-way communication between citizen and government by which transportation agencies and other officials give notice and information to the public and use public input as a factor in decision making. In the past decade a radical transformation has occurred in the way transportation decisions are made. A new decision model has emerged and continues to be refined. The model assumes that public input into the assessment of transportation needs and solutions is a key factor in most transportation decision making.

Several factors have contributed to this change. Since the passage of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA), there has been a federally mandated emphasis on early, proactive, and sustained citizen input into transportation decision making - with special outreach efforts targeted at traditionally underserved populations. ISTEA's directive was reinforced by the passage of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) near the end of the decade. States and localities have developed protocols and guidelines to interpret these mandates. In widely varying ways, they have transformed their transportation agencies and blended these mandates with local customs and expectations.
--  Transportation Research Board (TRB)
Excerpt IconExcerpt Reaching Non-Traditional Stakeholders and Achieving Environmental Justice
"In order to arrive at the optimal planning and project development decisions, it is important to involve as diverse a range of voices in the community as possible. By listening to affected communities, and understanding alternative viewpoints, the best decisions will be made. However, there are many challenges to meet in garnering diverse input..." more...
from 
Excerpt IconExcerpt Developing Public Involvement Plans
"Certain Mn/DOT personnel are responsible for overseeing public involvement programs for specific projects, and for various types of transportation plans. For these people, developing public involvement plans is a critical task. The level of detail of the plan will depend on the magnitude and potential impacts of the project or plan. The following steps, excerpted from the National Transit Institute manual "Public Involvement in Transportation Decision Making," describe this process." more...
from  Hear Every Voice: A Guide to Public Involvement at Mn/DOT

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