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FHWA Home / OIPD / Accelerating Innovation / Every Day Counts / EDC News: December 21, 2023

EDC News

December 21, 2023

Innovation of the Month: Virtual Public Involvement

A primary goal of using virtual public involvement (VPI) methods is to engage more participants than agencies would typically reach using traditional methods. As featured in a recently released VPI Documentaries video, Missoula Metropolitan Planning Organization (Missoula MPO) increased their reach and number of participants by combining several VPI tools.

Screen capture of the Engage Missoula VPI website. Under the header image are buttons that take you to specific project webpages.
The Engage Missoula website platform features easy to navigate tools for the public to engage around transportation projects. Source: https://www.engagemissoula.com

Recently, Missoula MPO planned for the reconstruction of Higgins Avenue, the central corridor through the city's downtown. The MPO had many design aspects of the different reconstruction options to consider, so Missoula wanted to give residents the ability to be as engaged as possible. Missoula MPO developed the website Engage Missoula, which allowed the agency to create an interactive online experience: participants could sign up for notices, learn about the project through a virtual open house, and submit questions. Missoula MPO also developed a virtual map that allowed participants to mark certain places within the project area with concerns or questions, including providing apps to allow citizens to collect data on sidewalk and bicycle network condition and concerns. More than 1,000 participants viewed the Engage Missoula website, far more people than have participated at any of Missoula MPO's in-person engagement events.

Missoula MPO has a few key takeaways for replicating their successful use of VPI methods. One is to keep designs simple and well-suited to the tool you are using. This ensures the message is clear and easy for the public to understand and respond to. Another key takeaway is to include VPI in pre-project planning phases. Blending in-person and virtual involvement techniques and planning out which aspects of involvement will be done virtually or in-person, and which tools to use will help maximize the engagement process. Keeping these tips in mind may lead to smoother VPI implementation and a more successful project.

To learn more about VPI, please contact Mack Frost, FHWA Office of Project Development & Environmental Review, or Robert Washington, FHWA Office of Planning, Stewardship & Oversight.

Using UAS to Enhance Design, Construction, Inspection, and Maintenance of Transportation Infrastructure- New Study Available

The FHWA Global Benchmarking Program (GBP) study report, "Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) to Enhance the Design, Maintenance, Inspection, and Construction of Transportation Infrastructure," is available to view and download.

UAS use has greatly increased in the U.S. in recent years. Many transportation agencies and organizations have started to evaluate and use UAS as a toolset to collect and analyze new data or supplement and enhance day-to-day work. This study was conducted to learn about mature UAS applications in the United Kingdom and Germany with a focus on advanced digital project delivery and contactless practices.

The study presents several significant findings and recommendations for UAS use in the areas of data standardization; measurable benefits; maintenance, repair, and overhaul practice requirements; and more. On February 7, 2024 at 10:00am Eastern Time, FHWA will conduct a webinar providing an overview of the study's findings, best practices, and recommendations. Register for this webinar here.

To learn more about UAS, please contact James Gray, FHWA Office of Preconstruction, Construction, and Pavements.

Discover Home-Grown Innovations from Around the Country

Logo-Premium Quality Home Grown State & Local Innovations

Are you interested in homegrown innovations being used by your peers in other parts of the country? Check out the National STIC Network Showcase, a component of the EDC-7 Virtual Summit. Registering for the event allows you to access all the content through February 2024. The Showcase features several innovations around pavements.

Screenshot of STIC Network Showcase section of EDC Virtual Summit website.
Screenshot of STIC Network Showcase section of EDC Virtual Summit website. Text title reads, &dquo;National STIC Network Showcase&dquo; with 10 categories of links which the innovations are broken up into. Those categories include &dquo;Asset Management & Finance,&dquo; &dquo;Maintenance & Emergency Response,&dquo; &dquo;Operations,&dquo; &dquo;Design & Construction,&dquo; &dquo;Technology & Materials,&dquo; &dquo;Planning & Environment,&dquo; &dquo;Safety,&dquo; &dquo;Pavement & Structures,&dquo; &dquo;Civil Rights, Workforce, and Equity,&dquo; and &dquo;2020 Archive.&dquo;

Learn about the Mississippi Department of Transportation's (MDOT) Virtual Public Involvement updates to its Public Participation Plan, which formalize VPI processes for the State. VPI has already been used during the update process for the State's Long-Range Transportation Plan, Freight Plan, Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Deployment Plan, and more. VPI is now an integral part of MDOT's planning process

Celebrate the ingenuity of your peers and read about these innovations—developed and deployed in-house at transportation agencies nationwide. Additionally, we invite you to watch the one-hour presentations on-demand that feature many of these and other innovations.

Stay Up to Date on the EDC Innovations That Interest You Most

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About EDC

Every Day Counts, a State-based initiative of the Federal Highway Administration's Office of Innovation and Workforce Solutions, works with State, local, and privatesector partners to encourage the adoption of proven and underutilized technologies to deliver transportation projects more efficiently, enhance safety forall users, support a sustainable and resilient infrastructure, and incorporate equity inproject planning and delivery.

EDC News is a weekly publication highlighting successful EDC innovation deployments across the country.

EDC News is published weekly by the FHWA Center for Accelerating Innovation.

Disclaimer:The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trademarks or manufacturers' names appear in this document only because they are considered essential to the objective of the document. They are included for informational purposes only and are not intended to reflect a preference, approval, or endorsement of any one product or entity.

Except for the statutes and regulations cited, the contents of this document do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the States or the public in any way. This document is intended only to provide information regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies.

Recommended Citation:
U.S Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration
EDC News; December 21, 2023
Washington, DC


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Page last modified on February 1, 2024
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