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Planning and Air Quality

Resource Guide

Public Involvement / Public Participation
Transportation Planning Process
Resource Guide

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Introduction and Purpose

Public Involvement is a fundamental component of effective transportation planning, project development, and implementation. The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) in 2005 - continued to broaden opportunities for public participation in transportation decision-making.

Interested persons have the opportunity for a voice in how our transportation system is developed. This public input provides critical information to State Departments of Transportation (DOTs), Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), public transportation providers and resource agencies to more fully understand and assess potential impacts from possible transportation projects as viewed by the community. Early and continuing public involvement allows transportation and resource organizations to be aware of potential issues, problems and impacts, to discuss them more comprehensively, and to determine how to address such concerns.

Public involvement occurs at all stages of the transportation lifecycle. At the planning stage, public involvement is less about specific project development and more about setting strategic directions and long range objectives. While it can be more challenging to engage interested parties at this stage, there is tremendous value in emphasizing the benefits of public involvement and public participation at these early stages.

This Resource Guide has been developed to briefly review key issues in public involvement/public participation, summarize key requirements, and highlight a variety of notable practices, tools and techniques, particularly in the transportation planning process. It provides a range of websites, publications, notable practices, training and other resources on public involvement/public participation. While the primary focus of this guide is on public involvement/public participation at the planning stage, related references and resources are highlighted that are also applicable and useful throughout project development and delivery. The key emphasis is that effective public involvement is part of the transportation development continuum.

The guide is organized in the following topic areas:


This guide was created by Federal Highway Administration’s Resource Center Planning Team in September 2008. It is intended to be updated periodically to keep up with current information. We welcome your suggestions or if you need additional assistance, you can contact Jocelyn Jones (jocelyn.jones@dot.gov).

Key Acronyms

FHWA Federal Highway Administration
FTA Federal Transit Administration
DOT State Department of Transportation
MPO Metropolitan Planning Organization
PPP Public Participation Plan
NHI National Highway Institute
NTI National Transit Institute
TRB Transportation Research Board
SAFETEA-LU Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users, Public Law 109-59, 2005
AASHTO American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
STIP Statewide Transportation Improvement Program
TIP (Metropolitan) Transportation Improvement Program
PI Public Involvement/Public Participation

General Public Involvement / Public Participation

FHWA Public Participation website provides general information and links to other resources, https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/pubinv2.htm
FHWA Transportation Planning Capacity Building (TPCB) website, Public Involvement Section: This site links to a variety of technical papers, reports, and other published materials. This portion of the site, a number of links are included to a wide range of PI resources and case studies. http://www.planning.dot.gov/technical.asp#pub
Public Involvement and Public Participation Plans, May 2008 -- This presentation focuses on new SAFETEA-LU requirements and includes a review of Public Participation Plans (PPPs) and noteworthy practices. The presentation is available on the FHWA Resource Center intranet website. For external users you may contact Jocelyn Jones (jocelyn.jones@dot.gov).
TRB Committee on Public Involvement in Transportation, white paper describes the state of the practice of public involvement, benefits, noteworthy practices and challenges. http://www.trbpi.com/index.asp?PageID=4
TRB Getting People on Board, presentation targeted to beginning public practitioners and answers "Why is public involvement important" and "How do I plan a public involvement program?" http://www.trbpi.com/data/File/trb98.pdf
TR News’ "Going Public: Involving Communities in Transportation Decisions,” May-June 2002, #220 -- This issue covers public involvement in transportation. http://onlinepubs.trb.org/Onlinepubs/trnews/trnews220.pdf

Key Legislation, Regulations, and Guidance

FHWA Public Involvement Legislation, Regulations, and Guidance, https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/pi_leg.htm
"SAFETEA-LU: A Summary of Highway Provisions" (August 2005), https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/safetealu/safetea-lu_summary.pdf
Statewide Transportation Planning; Metropolitan Transportation Planning; Final Rule (effective 3/16/07), Federal Register, February 14, 2007, http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/01jan20071800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2007/07-493.htm
Interested Parties
    o SAFETEA-LU Defines “Interested Parties” By Type of Plan - This table shows interested parties listed in the Long-Range Statewide Transportation Plan, the STIP, and the Metropolitan Transportation Plan. The Metropolitan TIP does not list the interested parties, but refers back to the Metropolitan Transportation Plan in 23 U.S.C. 134(i). https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/interparties_table.htm
    o Legislative History of Interested Parties -- This table shows the interested parties as they have been identified and included in transportation legislation over time. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/interparties_chart.htm

Notable Practices / Case Studies / Research

FHWA and FTA Transportation Planning Excellence Awards for Public Involvement, Education, and Outreach, https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/planning/tpea/index.htm
FHWA Case Studies, Innovative practices that State Departments of Transportation, Metropolitan Planning Organizations, and public transportation providers to promote effective public participation in transportation decision-making. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/pubcase.htm
Hear Every Voice: A Guide to Public Involvement at Mn/DOT, June 1999, Minnesota (Mn)DOT developed document to provide statewide guidance for Mn/DOT planners and project managers on designing and implementing public involvement programs to achieve Mn/DOT’s strategic vision. http://www.dot.state.mn.us/pubinvolve/pdf/sep10hev.pdf
Northern Arizona Council of Governments Generating Stakeholder Interest and Participation, September 2006, Chris Fetzer, NADO Rural Transportation Peer Learning Conference, http://www.nado.org/conference_files/nacog.pdf
Oh, Do You Know Where This Road Will Go?”, Mississippi DOT: Outreach tool for kids which explains the environmental process for highway planning and design. http://www.trbpi.com/publications/mdot-activity-book/mdot-activity-book.pdf
Making Public Involvement Part of the Highway Planning Process in Korea, Cempel, Erik; Kwon, Young-In; Kim, Tae-wan, Korea Transport Institute, 2007, http://www.koti.re.kr/upload/publication_anytime/issue_paper_2007-01.pdf
FTA Research -- Public Participation Pilot Program, applied research projects that will develop innovative approaches to improving public participation in the planning of public transportation. http://www.fta.dot.gov/planning/programs/planning_environment_5925.html
TRB Research Underway--National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) will develop a synthesis to document the experiences of state and local transportation agencies’ cost-effective strategies and implementation techniques to involve the public in the development of transportation plans and projects. http://www.trb.org/news/blurb_detail.asp?id=9221
FHWA Environmental Review Toolkit provides Planning and Environment Linkages. You can look for “public involvement” categories in the best practices submissions.

Public Participation Plans (PPPs) and Notable Elements

As part of the research for this Resource Guide, a number of MPO PPPs were reviewed and several notable examples/elements are identified below. A related presentation and more information about the subsequent examples are available by contacting the Resource Center Planning Team or a Division Office Planner.

The FHWA Community Impact Assessment (CIA) website also lists DOT and MPO PPPs from around the country. This website is sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration and administered by the University of South Florida, http://www.ciatrans.net/Participation_Plans.pdf.

Developed in Consultation with Interested Parties. SAFETEA-LU calls for PPPs to be developed in consultation with interested parties. These PPPs specifically noted how ‘interested parties’ played a role in their development.
    o Dover/Kent County MPO (DE), November 2007 PPP, pg 3, http://www.doverkentmpo.org/indexmpo.html
    o Metro Washington DC COG, December 2007 PPP, Appendix G, http://www.mwcog.org/transportation/involved/documents/ParticipationPlan-2007.pdf
Visualization. SAFETEA-LU calls for States and MPOs to use visualization techniques to strengthen public participation in the planning and project delivery process and specifically to aid the public in understanding proposed plans. Visualization techniques were included in these PPPs, in addition to describing how it will be used in other planning documents (e.g. long-range transportation plan, TIP).
    o Maricopa Association of Governments (Phoenix), December 2006 PPP describes the use of visualization in MTPs and TIPs, page 7, http://www.mag.maricopa.gov/detail.cms?item=6333
    The following examples show visualization techniques integrated in the PPPs.
    o Indianapolis MPO, September 2007 PPP, http://nirpc.org/transportation/pdf/Public%20Participation%20Plan%2007.pdf
    o Metropolitan Transportation Commission (San Francisco), September 2007 PPP, http://www.mtc.ca.gov/get_involved/participation_plan.htm
Performance Measures / Evaluation. SAFETEA-LU calls for periodic review of the effectiveness of the procedures and strategies to ensure a full and open participation process. These PPPs have sections describing their evaluation process.
    o Corpus Christi (TX), April 2006 PPP, page 23, http://www.corpuschristi-mpo.org/Publications/Approved%20Public%20Participation%20Plan%204-06-06.pdf
    o Fredericksburg (VA), April 2007 PPP, page 22, http://www.fampo.gwregion.org/publicparticipationplan.html
    o Brevard MPO (FL) February 2007 PPP, Appendix A, http://www.brevardmpo.com/downloads/documents/current/PIP07FINAL.pdf
Process/Strategies. These MPOs documented the process and times when public involvement actions occur and the techniques used to solicit input.
    o La Crosse & La Crescent MPO (WI/MN), January 2007 PPP, page 19, http://www.lapc.org/Content/Plans/Plan%20documents/PPP/LAPC%20Public%20Participation%20Plan%202007.pdf
    o Missoula MPO (MT), June 2006 PPP, page 6, ftp://www.co.missoula.mt.us/opgftp/Documents/Transportation/PublicParticipation/PPPFinal.pdf
Language Translation. These MPOs used various approaches to translate PPPs and other information in various languages. The Baltimore MPO uses a free language conversion software, AltaVista’s Babelfish to translate all information on the website. The San Francisco MPO translates key documents.
    o Baltimore MPO. The translation service can be found under their “What’s New’ menu header, http://www.baltometro.org/content/view/417/305/
    o Metropolitan Transportation Commission (CA), September 2007 PPP, http://www.mtc.ca.gov/get_involved/participation_plan.htm
Branding/Marketing. This MPOs included branding/marketing information in their PPPs to help the public become familiar with their organizations
    o Farmington MPO (NM), page 7, http://www.farmingtonmpo.org/documents/FinalPPPupdate_1-18-07.pdf

Public Involvement / Public Participation Tools and Techniques

FHWA’s Interactive website with a variety of public involvement techniques, http://www.planning.dot.gov/Pitool/toc-foreword.asp
FHWA’s “Public Involvement Techniques for Transportation Decision-Making,” 1996. this collection of techniques provides the building blocks agencies can use to craft an effective public involvement program https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/reports/pittd/cover.htm
International Association For Public Participation (IAP2) website offers general information and practitioner tools. http://www.iap2.org.
VA Tech’s “Partnerships and Participation in Planning” provides an introduction to partnerships and participation and a history of citizen involvement in public decision making. http://www.uap.vt.edu/cdrom/default.htm
• “Planning Games and Public Involvement”, many simulations and games have been developed for use by the MPO and others in public transportation. This paper outlines basic instructions for some of the most useful games, including “Strings and Ribbons,” Project Selection Survey,” “Color Dot Survey,” “Group Grope,” and “Wheel of Needs.” http://www.ciatrans.net/Planning.pdf.
Structured Public Involvement: Problems and Prospects for Improvement, Kentucky Transportation Center, this paper proposes Structured Public Involvement which is designed to ensure that public involvement is meaningful to the professional and the public and sets forth principles of SPI and a details series of steps useful in engaging the general public in a complex design or planning problem, http://www.trbpi.com/publications/03-000663.pdf

Training and Technical Assistance Opportunities

FHWA course, Public Involvement in Transportation Decisionmaking (NHI/NTI - 142036) -- Provides review of the components of public involvement in transportation decision-making, as well as specific skills, techniques and approaches for enhancing public interaction. Length: 3 days. http://www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov/training/course_detail.aspx?num=FHWA-NHI-142036&cat=t&key=&num=142&loc=&sta=&tit=&typ=&lev=&ava=&str=&end=&drl= or and http://www.ntionline.com/CourseInfo.asp?CourseNumber=FP203
FHWA Resource Center Public Involvement Workshop -- Provides overview of the importance of public involvement and reviews multiple public involvement techniques. Addresses the public’s procedural, psychological and substantive needs with a focus on communication styles and barriers to participation. Length: 2 days. Contact klynn.berry@dot.gov.
FHWA Resource Center Public Participation Plans Seminar/Webinar Focuses on new SAFETEA-LU requirements relating to Public Participation Plans, interested parties, and visualization. Notable practices from State DOTs and MPOs are presented. Length: Varies. Can be delivered in person or webinar. Contact jocelyn.jones@dot.gov.
FHWA Public Participation Plan Technical Assistance -- Tailored to customer requirements (length and topics), Provide technical assistance on Public Involvement and Public Participation, including SAFETEA-LU requirements relating to public participation plans and interested parties. Length: Depends on customer needs. Contact jocelyn.jones@dot.gov, brenda.kragh@dot.gov.

Evaluation of Public Involvement Effectiveness

TRB Public Involvement Committee, “Assessing the Effectiveness of Project-Based Public Involvement Processes: A Self-Assessment Tool for Practitioners,” (draft) http://www.trbpi.com/publications/assessmenttool.pdf

Other Related Topics
This section provides information and resources on a number of related, critical topics to public involvement and public participation at the transportation planning stage. It includes the following categories: visualization, tribal planning, resource agencies, environmental justice (EJ) and Title VI, engaging freight stakeholders, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), context sensitive solutions (CSS), and community impact assessment.

SAFETEA-LU calls for States and MPOs to use visualization techniques to strengthen public participation in the planning and project delivery process and specifically to aid the public in understanding proposed plans.

•    FHWA Visualization In Planning website, here you can learn about noteworthy practices and innovative uses of visualization for transportation planning, and who to contact in FHWA about questions or issues on visualization in planning, https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/planning/vip/index.htm
•    Visualization for Transportation Planning presentation FHWA, 2006 Visualization Symposium, http://www.teachamerica.com/VIZ/02d_Burbank/index.htm
•    Effective Visualization Techniques for the Public Presentation of Transportation Projects discusses techniques mainly used in the public involvement process in New England DOTs http://www.netc.uconn.edu/pdf/netcr48_00-6.pdf
•    Federal Lands Highway Design Visualization Guide, this guide introduces visualization tools and innovative practices to the Federal Lands Highway (FLH) designer to integrate into FLH projects, http://www.efl.fhwa.dot.gov/manuals/dv/
•    Visualization Issues for Transportation Agencies: Approaches and Challenges TRB's TR News 252, September--October 2007 http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/trnews/trnews252VIssues.pdf
•    AASHTO, Visualization in Transportation: A Guide for Transportation Agencies (July 2003) http://cms.transportation.org/sites/design/docs/VisualizationGuideJuly2003.pdf
•    An Introduction To Visualization is presented by the Genessee Transportation Council http://www.gtcmpo.org/Resources/Topics/Visualization.htm
Tribal Planning
FHWA has a government-to-government relationship with Indian Tribal Governments and requires that the FHWA and other Federal agencies consult with Tribes regarding policy and regulatory matters. Additionally, SAFETEA-LU establishes consultation requirements with tribes through the Statewide and Metropolitan planning and programming processes.
•    FHWA Tribal Transportation, Consultation and Public Involvement Statutory/Regulatory Requirements: Working with Tribes within the Statewide/Metropolitan Transportation Planning Processes, https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/hep/tribaltrans/consult.htm
•    New Mexico faces some unique complexities, including having an international border and several Tribal governments in the state. http://www.ruraltransportation.org/RPO-America/RPO-Models/new-mexico
•    Tribal Consultation section in Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) Public Participation Plan San Francisco Bay Area, California https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/planning/tpea/pubinvolv.htm

Resource Agencies
FHWA Division Offices and the Federal Lands Highway offices work with other federal agencies in the transportation development process. Many of the agencies involved are federal land management agencies (FLMAs). FLMAs include: the Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, U.S. Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Navy, Tennessee Valley Authority, and the Bureau of Reclamation.

•    FHWA Successes in Stewardship is a monthly newsletter highlighting current environmental streamlining notable practices, Environmental streamlining and stewardship requires transportation agencies to work together with natural, cultural, and historic resource agencies to establish realistic timeframes for the environmental review of transportation projects. The efficient and effective coordination of multiple environmental reviews, analyses, and permitting actions is essential to meeting mandates under SAFETEA-LU, http://environment.fhwa.dot.gov/strmlng/es4newsltrs.asp
•    Path to Partnership: Rehabilitation of Going-to-the-Sun Road. This project provides a good example of federal agencies working together and with the public. A three-part video is on YouTube,
  Part I: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgdNkpWelws&feature=related
  Part II: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=it6dye-cYbE&feature=user
  Part III: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0m0WizJTtuQ&feature=user

SAFETEA-LU establishes consultation requirements with FLMAs through the Statewide and Metropolitan planning and programming processes. There are other governmental agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that are not FLMAs but are consulted. Each agency has it own guidelines for public involvement and you will want to contact them for specific details:

•    Federal Lands Highway https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/flh/
•    Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) http://www.doi.gov/bia/index.html
•    U.S. Forest Service (USFS) http://www.fs.fed.us/
•    National Park Service (NPS) http://www.nps.gov/
•    Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) http://www.fws.gov/
•    Bureau of Land Management (BLM) http://tcfroar.org/bureauoflandmanagement.html
•    Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (MSDDC) http://www.sddc.army.mil/
•    U.S. Army http://www.army.mil
•    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACOE) http://www.usace.army.mil/
•    U.S. Navy http://www.navy.mil
•    Tennessee Valley Authority http://www.tvs.gov
•    Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) http://www.usbr.gov/
•    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) http://www.epa.gov/

EJ/Title IV/Traditionally Undeserved Communities
Effective public involvement programs enable transportation professionals to develop systems, services, and solutions that meet the needs of the public, including minority and low-income communities and persons with limited English proficiency.
•    FHWA/FTA Environmental Justice Website provides an overview of transportation and environmental justice, https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/ej2000.htm
•    Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Discrimination on the grounds of race, color, or national origin shall not occur in connection with programs and activities receiving Federal financial assistance, https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/ejustice/facts/index.htm
•    Executive Order 12898: "Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations," February 11, 1994, and Executive Order 13166: "Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency," August 11, 2000 https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/hep/execord.htm
•    How to Engage Low-Literacy and Limited-English-Proficiency Populations in Transportation Decisionmaking February 2006, https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/hep/lowlim/index.htm
•    Identifying and Engaging Low Literacy and Limited English Proficiency Populations in the Transportation Decisionmaking Process, FHWA Peer Exchange Report, May 2004 http://www.planning.dot.gov/Peer/Atlanta/atlanta.htm
•    FHWA course, Fundamentals of Title VI/Environmental Justice (NHI #142042), Environmental justice and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 apply to every stage of transportation decisionmaking. This course presents a framework for using a variety of approaches and tools for accomplishing environmental justice goals in Federal-aid programs and other transportation projects.http://www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov/training/course_detail.aspx?num=FHWA-NHI-142042&cat=t&key=&num=142&loc=&sta=&tit=&typ=&lev=&ava=&str=&end=&drl=
•    Access Now is an environmental justice handbook and campaign created by the Transportation and Land Use Coalition (TALC) available via web, http://www.transcoalition.org/access/guide.html
•    TRB Research Underway -- NCHRP Case Studies of Best Practices, Model Initiatives and Mitigation Strategies that incorporate the Principles of Title VI and Environmental Justice in Transportation Decisions (#08-72). This proposed research will seek to show how an awareness of and sensitivity to different cultures and income levels affect the ways in which communities, neighborhoods, and people should be approached, http://www.trb.org/TRBNet/ProjectDisplay.asp?ProjectID=2523

Engaging Freight Stakeholders
Private sector freight stakeholders are a valuable resource in the statewide and metropolitan transportation planning processes. Their involvement can help identify regional, statewide, and multi-jurisdictional challenges and influence transportation programming and investment decisions.

•    TRB National Cooperative Highway Research Program Report 570, This guidebook provides resources to undertake freight transportation planning activities, targeted to small- and medium-sized metropolitan areas, http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/nchrp/nchrp_rpt_570.pdf
•    FHWA Engaging the Private Sector workshop, Provides techniques to initiate private-public sector cooperation, identifies key private sector stakeholders, and suggests ways to improve communication. Length: 1 day in person workshop, http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/freight/FPD/Docs/sector.htm
•    FHWA Talking Freight Webinar Archives, These web-based seminars provide information to help the freight and planning workforce meet the transportation challenges of tomorrow. Monthly seminars are open at no cost to all interested parties. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/freightplanning/talking.htm
•    Economic Development Agencies/Groups, These groups have contacts with the business community and can help identify private sector freight stakeholders:
  •    Chamber of Commerce Directory, http://www.uschamber.com/chambers/directory/default
  •    Economic Development Agencies, http://www.eda.gov/Resources/StateLinks.xml
•    Freight Industry Groups, These associations have members that are public and private sector freight stakeholders:
  •    American Association of Port Authorities, http://www.aapa-ports.org/
  •    American Trucking Associations for State Truck Associations, http://www.truckline.com/index
  •    Association of American Railroads, http://www.aar.org/
  •    Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, for local roundtables with shippers and transportation providers, http://cscmp.org
  •    Transportation Clubs of America, for local clubs with shippers and transportation providers, http://www.transportationclubsinternational.com/members.html#memberclubs

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969
Before a project can move forward to construction, the FHWA must address and comply with laws related to the environment. These laws cover social, economic, and environmental concerns ranging from community cohesion to threatened and endangered species. To get through this detailed process, FHWA and FTA use the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process to evaluate impacts associated with each individual project.

•    An Act to establish a national policy for the environment, to provide for the establishment of a Council on Environmental Quality, and for other purposes. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/nepatxt.htm
•    FHWA NEPA Project development link can be accessed from the FHWA Environment website, https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment
•    Collaboration in NEPA: A Handbook for NEPA Practitioners, Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), http://ceq.hss.doe.gov/ntf/Collaboration_in_NEPA_Oct_2007.pdf
•    AASHTO Practitioner's Handbook 05: Utilizing Community Advisory Committees for NEPA Studies, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Center for Environmental Excellence, Year: 2006, http://environment.transportation.org/pdf/PG05.pdf
•    FHWA course, NEPA and Transportation Decisionmaking (NHI #142005), covers FHWA's policies and procedures for applying the NEPA to the project development and decisionmaking processes related to transportation facilities, http://www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov/training/course_detail.aspx?num=FHWA-NHI-142005&cat=t&key=&num=142&loc=&sta=&tit=&typ=&lev=&ava=&str=&end=&drl

Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS)
CSS is a collaborative approach that involves stakeholders to develop a transportation facility that fits its physical setting and preserves scenic, aesthetic, historic and environmental resources, while maintaining safety and mobility. CSS principles include the employment of early, continuous and meaningful public involvement and all stakeholders throughout the project development process.

•    FHWA CSS website, https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/context/activities.cfm
•    ContextSensitiveSolutions.org - the Transportation community's Online Resource Center for CSS. Website is sponsored by FHWA in partnership with the Project for Public Spaces and contains case studies, publications, and other resources, http://www.contextsensitivesolutions.org/
•    Citizen's Guide and Discipline -- Specific Professionals' Guide for Context-Sensitive Solutions in Transportation http://www.trb.org/news/blurb_detail.asp?id=8085
•    Integration of Context Sensitive Solutions in the Transportation Planning Process, The Center for Transportation and the Environment North Carolina State University, July 2006, https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/context/integrat.cfm
•    TRB NCHRP Report 456 - Guidebook for Assessing the Social and Economic Effects of Transportation Projects (Section:7 Community Cohesion) http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/nchrp/nchrp_rpt_456-a.pdf
•    FHWA course, Introduction to Context Sensitive Solutions (NHI # 142050), Covers CSS principles; design and environmental considerations; collaborative stakeholder involvement; group facilitation and conflict resolution; risk management and tort liability; as well as structured decision making and alternatives development, http://www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov/training/course_detail.aspx?num=FHWA-NHI-142050&cat=t&key=&num=142&loc=&sta=&tit=&typ=&lev=&ava=&str=&end=&drl=
•    Pennsylvania DOT has embraced FHWA’s Context Sensitive Design initiative and demonstrated commitment to changing the way highway projects are developed, constructed and maintained, (general) (public involvement)
•    Michigan DOT’s CSS training material, http://www.michigan.gov/mdot/0,1607,7-151-9621_41446-143910--,00.html
•    AASHTO’s Center for Environmental Excellence CSS webpage. The Center has been developed in cooperation with FHWA to promote environmental stewardship and to encourage innovative ways to streamline the transportation delivery process. http://environment.transportation.org/environmental_issues/context_sens_sol/

Community Impact Assessment (CIA)
Community Impact Assessment (CIA) evaluates the effects of transportation planning and project implementation on a community and its quality of life. The inclusion of CIA allows for a community's concerns (e.g. mobility, safety, employment effects, relocation, and isolation) to be addressed in the transportation decisionmaking process.

•    CIA website, This web site is sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration and administered by the University of South Florida, http://www.ciatrans.net/
•    California DOT’s Environmental Handbook (Volume 4 - Community Impact Assessment), describes the methodological approaches and various sources available for obtaining information on the effects of transportation projects on the community. Key topics include social, economic and public services impacts, land use, and growth.contains methods for CIA, http://www.dot.ca.gov/ser/envhand.htm
•    Florida DOT’s Public Involvement Handbook describes CIA.(socio-cultural) methods
•    Pennsylvania DOT’s CSS guidelines require a community context audit. The Community Context Audit is part of the overall Community Impact Assessment (CIA) that is conducted in conjunction with PennDOT’s environmental review process as an integral part of the project development process. The Community Context Audit process incorporates views of various stakeholders within the community along with PennDOT from a multi-disciplinary approach.

Conflict Resolution
FHWA is working with the Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution (IECR) and National Policy Consensus Center (NPCC) to address collaborative problem solving techniques and develop a collaborative problem solving system. Information on resources and activities includes:
•    Conflict Resolution http://www.environment.fhwa.dot.gov/strmlng/es2conflict.asp

Other Organizations
Many organizations have information on public involvement/participation and the transportation development process. This FHWA link connects you to a variety of partners and stakeholders’ home pages. In order to access some of the information, you may need to be a member or pay a fee for certain publications,


Page last modified on June 5, 2017
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