The Public Engagement focus area page is a one-stop shop for resources about public engagement
and equity in transportation planning on the TPCB website. It includes links to publications,
legislation and guidance, recent peer events, upcoming calendar events, and related websites.
A Guide to Transportation Decisionmaking
Have you ever wondered how decisions are made about the 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 residents, planners, designers, and elected officials?
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) created this guide to answer these and other transportation project-related questions. We hope this guide will help you understand how transportation decisions are made at the local, State, and national levels; and that you will take advantage of the opportunities provided to contribute your ideas. We believe that the better the public understands the transportation decisionmaking process, the more certain it is that the transportation system will be safe and efficient, and that the planning process will be responsive to public needs and concerns about their communities and the natural environment.
A revised version of this guide was published in April 2015.
The Transportation Planning Process: Key Issues A Briefing Notebook for Transportation Decision makers, Officials, and Staff
The Briefing Notebook is a primer for transportation decisionmakers and stakeholders. It provides government officials, planning board members, transportation service providers, and the public at large with an overview of transportation planning in metropolitan settings. Along with a basic understanding of the key concepts, the notebook provides references for additional information. Part I discusses transportation planning and its relationship to decisionmaking. Part II presents short descriptions of key products that are prepared as part of the transportation planning process. This book was updated in 2015 to reflect recent changes in Federal legislation.
Public Involvement Techniques for Transportation Decisionmaking
Quality planning and project development require meaningful input from the public. Many members of the public are genuinely interested in what is happening in their community but do not know how they can effectively provide input to influence the outcome of a transportation plan or project. How does a transportation agency grab and hold the public’s interest in a project or plan and convince people that active involvement is worthwhile? How does an agency provide the means for the public to have direct and meaningful impacts on decisions? This guide provides a variety of tools to secure meaningful input from the public on transportation plans, programs, and projects—and it can help agencies improve their overall public involvement techniques.
- Case studies related to public engagement
- How to Engage Low-Literacy and Limited-English-Proficiency
Populations in Transportation Decision-making - An FHWA report that documents best practices
in identifying and engaging low-literacy and limited-English-proficiency populations in transportation
decisionmaking. The booklet also provides outreach techniques for these populations.
FHWA Public Involvement Reference Tool
- NCHRP report:
Report 710: Practical Approaches for Involving Traditionally Underserved Populations in Transportation
- NTI/NHI course: Public Involvement
in Transportation Decisionmaking
Involvement Techniques for Transportation Decision Making - This is a reference work that
makes a wide variety of public involvement techniques available to transportation agencies.
It includes the 14 techniques originally published in Innovations in Public Involvement for
Transportation Planning. There are four chapters with subsections that group techniques thematically
by function. Each chapter ends with a final subsection called "Taking Initial Steps."
- TCRP syntheses:
Planning Process Resource Guide
- Working with
Community-Based Organizations on Transportation Planning (Florida International University)
- The Project main objectives are as follows: 1) Identify the circumstances under which partnerships
with community based organizations would be the most effective, 2) Provide support for government
agencies to partner with community-based organizations and report on the successes and issues
in using community-based groups to support agency planning and project development activities
and 3) Provide documentation on (1) and (2) for purposes of dissemination. Project should
attempt to be national in scope (issues), but local in implementation.
Click here to access a full list of
Legislation, Regulations, and Guidance related to public engagement planning on the TPCB
- Upcoming conferences and webinars related to public engagement:
To browse all existing events on the TPCB website or to add new ones, please visit the
events calendar or the TPCB Resource Index.
The TPCB peer program is a free resource for agencies in need of transportation planning assistance.
Visit the peer program page to learn more or apply for a peer event.
- Access Board - Access Board
is an independent Federal agency devoted to developing and maintaining accessibility requirements
for the built environment, transit vehicles, telecommunications equipment, and for electronic
and information technology, provides a listing of transportation-related accessibility resources.
- Census Issues - Census population
data are used in many transportation planning applications including population forecasting,
travel demand modeling and microsimulation, Title VI analysis and land use analysis. The US
Census definition of "urbanized areas" is used in the Federal determination of MPOs.
Planning (PL) and STP funds are based upon urbanized area populations. The transportation
planning community, through AASHTO, contracts for a special tabulation from Census data called
the Census Transportation Planning Package (CTPP). The CTPP focuses on the journey-to-work,
and other tables helpful for transportation planning (including household size, household
income, and vehicle availability).
Center for Community Change - The mission of the Center for Community Change is to build
the power and capacity of low-income people, especially low-income people of color, to change
their communities and public policies for the better. The Center strengthens, connects and
mobilizes grassroots groups to enhance their leadership, voice and power.
Choosing Visualization for Transportation: Choosing Visualization for Transportation Knowledge
Sharing Web Portal, a project funded by the Federal Transit Administration's Public Transportation
Participation Pilot (PTPP) program. This web portal is designed to be your one-stop shop for
effectively applying visualization tools and techniques in public involvement.
- EPA public involvement website
- FHWA Public Involvement/Public Participation Website
- FTA Public Involvement Website
- HUD public involvement
- International Association for Public Participation
Assistance Tool: The Planning Assistant has reasonable choices of public involvement techniques.
- Public Involvement - Learning
the viewpoints and opinions of the stakeholders in transportation projects is one of the chief
elements of the project development process.
- Public Transportation Participation Pilot
Program (PTP Program) - The Federal Transit Administration seeks proposals for research
that will develop innovative approaches to improving public participation in the planning
of public transportation. Research is sponsored through the Public Transportation Participation
Pilot Program, created as part of SAFETEA-LU.
State-by-State Summaries of the Processes Used and Local Views on Them (April 2001) -
A supplemental report to the Rural Transportation Consultation Processes (May 2000) that contains
state-by-state summaries of the transportation processes used during state consultations with
local officials. The document also contains local perspectives on these processes.
- TRB Committee on Public Involvement
- Visualization - Visualization
can provide the public and decision makers a clear idea of the proposed policies, plans and
Transportation Improvement Programs and the impacts to the human and natural environment.
Visuals can make information instantly or intuitively understandable. The new technology has
made it possible to communicate what the proposals may look like when implemented.
- White House Office of Public Engagement