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Public Involvement


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Executive Summary

This summary is based on the module "Public Involvement," one of eight produced as part of the series Transportation Decisionmaking Information Tools for Tribal Governments written by the Federal Highway Administration Office of Planning to educate Tribal planners and decisionmakers about the Tribal transportation planning process.

What Is Public Involvement?

Public involvement is important because it:

What Are the Goals of Public Involvement?

The first step in developing a public involvement process is to set goals by asking, "What do we want to achieve by involving Tribal members in the transportation planning process?" Goals might include:

To reach the widest possible audience, the Tribal government should distribute information and solicit comments in a variety of ways. These could include:

What Does Success Look Like?

Successful public involvement considers the public's comments and demonstrates how their input influences decisions. To determine "success," Tribal leaders and transportation planners should decide early on how to define and measure it. Measures of success are evaluated after public involvement is completed for a particular project. The results are then used to improve the process for future public involvement opportunities.

Tribal planners should look at public involvement as a continuous activity, not a one-time event. A successful public involvement process means that the public is well informed and energized about the transportation planning and decisionmaking processes. The public wants to be both a useful partner and an ally in the transportation decisions that help shape their community. This relationship must be carefully nurtured and maintained with information routinely flowing between Tribal planning staff, Tribal leaders, and the public, beyond the end of any single public involvement event or effort.

What Is the Transportation Decisionmaking Information Tools for Tribal Governments series?

The series Transportation Decisionmaking Information Tools for Tribal Governments, written by the Federal Highway Administration Office of Planning, is meant to educate Tribal planners and decisionmakers about the transportation planning process and to provide them with program information.

The series' eight modules are:

  1. Introduction to Planning
  2. Developing a Long-Range Transportation Plan
  3. Developing the Transportation Improvement Program
  4. Funding Resources
  5. Public Involvement
  6. Data Collection and Use
  7. Safety
  8. Project Prioritization

Figure 1 shows each of the modules and how they relate to each other.

Figure 1. Modules in the Transportation Decisionmaking Tools for Tribal Governments Series

Training Series Modules: Intro to Planning, Developing an LRTP, Developing the TTIP, Funding Resources, Public Involvement, Data Collection and Use, Safety, Project Prioritization

Where Can I Get More Information?

More information on this series and on Tribal transportation planning can be found at


Theresa Hutchins, FHWA Office of Planning
Phone: (360) 753-9402

Michelle Noch, FHWA Office of Planning
Phone: (202) 366-9206

Kyle Kitchel, FHWA Western Federal Lands High Division
Phone: (360) 619-7951

Brian Beltyon, FHWA Resource Center
Phone: (410) 962-0086

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Updated: 10/20/2015
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