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Use of Communication Technologies to Enhance Public Involvement in Transportation Projects
  • Published Date:
    2018-06-01
  • Language:
    English
Filetype[PDF-2.54 MB]


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  • Abstract:
    Public involvement, especially during the Project Development and Environment (PD&E) phase, is key to developing projects that meet the community needs and desires and reduce the risks of litigation that could result in costly project delays. Active participation from people from all backgrounds and cultures is required to ensure that all points of view are taken into consideration. As such, agencies have undertaken special efforts to engage a wide cross-section of people including older population, minorities, low-income households, people with disabilities, and people with limited English-speaking skills. The public in general, and underrepresented population groups in particular, are often unable to participate in public meetings because of work schedule conflicts or logistic challenges such as physical disability and transportation inaccessibility. Several available communication technologies could be adopted to disseminate information, facilitate two-way remote communication, and help participants engage more in public meetings. The main objective of this project is to increase participation in public involvement activities by making effective use of today’s increasingly available communication media. The specific tasks include: (1) exploring and evaluating the available communication media; (2) reviewing the states’ current practices in using communication media at public meetings; (3) surveying the general public and the public meeting attendees to document the public perspective in using communication media for public involvement activities; (4) identifying appropriate technology-based communication platforms for different underrepresented population groups; and (5) developing detailed procedures and guidelines for deploying the recommended communication media. There are many communication tools that could be used to communicate effectively and efficiently. However, the main concern is not the availability of the communication technologies, but their unfamiliarity. Additionally, there is not a single communication medium, or set of media, that caters to all the underrepresented population groups. Different types of communication technologies were found to be suitable to assist different underrepresented population groups. Although several communication tools, including social media, virtual meetings, email and mass text messaging applications, are considered to increase public participation, a multi-pronged approach involving both digital engagement and traditional in-person meetings is considered to be most effective.

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