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Public participation is an integral part of the transportation process which helps to ensure that decisions are made in consideration of and to benefit public needs and preferences. Early and continuous public involvement brings diverse viewpoints and values into the decision-making process. This process enables agencies to make better informed decisions through collaborative efforts and builds mutual understanding and trust between the agencies and the public they serve. Successful public participation is a continuous process, consisting of a series of activities and actions to both inform the public and stakeholders and to obtain input from them which influence decisions that affect their lives.
The public, in any one area or jurisdiction, may hold a diverse array of views and concerns on issues pertaining to their own specific transportation needs. Conducting meaningful public participation involves seeking public input at specific and key points in the decision-making process issues where such input has a real potential to help shape the final decision or set of actions.
Public participation activities provide more value when they are open, relevant, timely, and appropriate for the intended goal of the public involvement process. Providing a balanced approach with representation of all stakeholders and including measures to seek out and consider the needs of all stakeholders, especially those that are traditionally underserved by past and current transportation programs, facilities, or services.
To assist those who would like to improve public participation processes and strategies, this site provides links to relevant information and exemplary case studies and examples.
Information for the Public on Transportation Decision Making
Have you ever wondered how decisions are made about transportation projects that affect your life? How do government officials decide where to put a bus stop, road, or bridge? How are these and other transportation projects planned? And how can you make sure your opinions are heard and considered by the planners, road designers, elected officials, and other citizens? The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) wrote a guide to give you the answers to these and other transportation-related questions.