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A Guide to Transportation Decision Making

How the Decisionmaking Starts

This Guide discusses only the federally required process for transportation decisionmaking. The Federal role is to provide funds and standards for State and local decisions. States, Metropolitan Planning Organizations, and transit operators make transportation investment decisions. After reading this Guide, be sure to investigate the additional State, regional, and local rules and requirements that affect transportation decisions in your local region.

For many of us, transportation projects seem to come from nowhere. Others may vaguely remember a project "promised" years ago. Too often, people develop negative impressions of the process by which transportation projects come into being because of the lack of information on how these decisions are made.

Try comparing the transportation decisionmaking process to the creative process for producing a piece of pottery. The potter begins with a mass of clay and an idea for the final creation. As the mass begins to take shape, the potter makes necessary changes and adjustments by adding some clay here and there. Similarly, you, the public, can participate by shaping the process and adding your ideas to make the creation as beautiful and useful as possible. We at FHWA and FTA look forward to your involvement throughout the transportation-planning process - from the early formative stages in long-range visioning through final, short-range project planning and development activities.

Transportation affects nearly every aspect of a person's life. You can help FHWA and FTA ensure that the U.S. transportation system will remain one of the safest, most efficient, and most environmentally friendly systems in the world! If you have any questions about this guide, please contact FHWA, Office of Planning, at 202-366-0106 or FTA, Office of Planning and Environment, at 202-366-4033.

Updated: 3/22/2012
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