Transportation agencies engage in frequent and routine communication with the public, and public involvement is fundamental to the development of transportation plans and projects. Public involvement campaigns and programs provide both transportation agencies and the public with consistent and reliable means for exchanging important information about planning and project development activities, and such campaigns and programs enable the public to participate in transportation decision-making.
NCHRP Research Report 905: Measuring the Effectiveness of Public Involvement in Transportation Planning and Project Development provides a toolkit to measure the effectiveness of a transportation agency’s public involvement activities. The toolkit is designed to collect feedback from the public on several indicators of effectiveness and to compare that feedback with the agency’s own perceptions. The combined responses can then be used to calculate scores for each indicator and an overall effectiveness index. This allows for systematic comparison of the effectiveness of different public involvement strategies over time, helping agencies identify needed adjustments in their efforts to engage with the public. Because the toolkit provides a quantitative measure of effectiveness, it can also be used as part of a performance measurement and performance management program.
The NCHRP Research Report 905 toolkit has three components:
1. Survey for use with the public (suitable for paper and online use)
2. Survey for use by the transportation agency to score itself
3. Survey scoring tool
The research project that developed the toolkit included initial piloting of the survey and the scoring tool with one state department of transportation (DOT). Based on these pilot activities, some guidelines for how to use the surveys and the scoring tool were also developed. Five state DOTs are now poised to implement the NCHRP Research Report 905 toolkit: Arizona DOT, Georgia DOT, North Carolina DOT, Texas DOT, and Utah DOT.
The objective of this project is to provide staff at the five participating state DOTs with the training and support needed to use the NCHRP Research Report 905 toolkit to:
- Collect data from participants at public involvement events and from state DOT staff
- Apply the survey scoring tool to analyze the data
- Interpret the scoring tool results to evaluate the effectiveness of their public involvement events and programs.
The project will also develop resources for use by additional state DOTs and their partners to implement the toolkit.