After deciding the overall goal of public involvement and identifying the different segments of the public to be involved is defined, the next step is to consider which techniques or activities to use to engage the public. These should be consistent with the needs and abilities of the different segments of the population.
Perhaps the most important consideration in designing a public involvement process is understanding the level of subject-related knowledge the audience has. The techniques and activities used to encourage their involvement need to address the issues in a way that is familiar and meaningful to particular audiences. Written materials and presentations used to engage and inform the public should respect the community's values, reflect their technical understanding of the topic, and highlight their interests in the subject matter. Visual tools-pictures, maps, drawings, charts, graphs-are good ways to help the audience understand the problems, proposed solutions, and are how these will affect their community.
There are often community events planned for other purposes that provide planners the opportunity to engage attendees in a discussion about transportation planning. This strategy might draw in Tribe member who are unlikely to participate in meetings held specifically to engage the public in transportation planning. These events might include:
Before beginning the public involvement process, it is important to decide how "success" will be measured. Examples of ways to measure success include:
At the end of the public involvement process, an evaluation helps to determine where the process was successful and where improvements are necessary to meet public involvement goals.
Navajo Department of Transportation
The Navajo Department of Transportation identified public participation as one of it planning priorities in its 2007-2008 Strategic Plan. Its goal was to conduct 10 public-education sessions to inform the public about transportation projects being planned. It identified a number of other methods to increase public participation. For example, it expanded its public relations effort by expanding the use of a variety of communication technologies; making information exchange between planners and the public easier and more accessible for both Navajo Department of Transportation and the general public.
STRATEGIC PLAN - Fiscal Year 2008
Navajo Department of Transportation, October 2007