The National Academies

TCRP Synthesis J-07/Topic SH-22 [Active (Synthesis)]

Inclusive Public Participation in Transit Decision Making
[ TCRP J-07 (Synthesis of Information Related to Transit Practices) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $45,000
Authorization to Begin Work: 5/7/2021 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Mariela Garcia-Colberg
Research Agency: Michael Baker International, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Aarion Franklin
Effective Date: 12/2/2021
Completion Date: 6/15/2023
Fiscal Year: 2021

Tentative Scope




U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Guidance and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 must be integrated into each transit agency’s public participation plan that explicitly describes proactive strategies, procedures, and desired outcomes. Federal transit law, 49 U.S.C. §5307(c)(I), requires transit agencies receiving §5307 urbanized area formula funds to have a locally developed process to solicit and consider public comment before raising a fare or carrying out a major reduction of transportation. A major reduction in fixed route service must also include consideration of the impact on ADA complementary paratransit service. DOT ADA regulations at 49 CFR §37.137(c) require transit agencies to establish an ongoing mechanism for people with disabilities to participate in the continued development and assessment of paratransit service. In each case, local decisions determine which specific public participation measures are most appropriate and how, when, and how often specific activities should happen.

Synthesis Objective:

This synthesis will document current, effective, ongoing public participation mechanisms resulting in and instilling participation from communities of color, LEP and low-income populations, and people with disabilities in transit decision making. The Synthesis will highlight practices that comply with ADA regulations as well as those that go beyond the ADA requirements. The synthesis should describe innovative approaches and challenges from both the transit agency and customer perspectives.  

Information To Be Gathered will include specific items as determined by the panel during the first panel meeting and might include ( among others) strategies used to partner with communities and organizations, methods for soliciting and collecting public comments, and measures for defining equity and successful public employment.

How the Information Will Be Gathered:

  • Literature review
  • A survey of transit agencies
  • Follow-up interviews with selected agencies for the development of case examples


Information Sources:

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine 2011. Public Participation Strategies for Transit. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/22865.

U.S. Department of Transportation Title VI regulations at 49 CFR Part 21, www.transit.dot.gov.

FTA Circular 4702.1B, Title VI Requirements and Guidelines for Federal Transit Administration Recipients, October 1, 2012, www.transit.dot.gov.

U.S. Department of Transportation ADA regulations at 49 CFR §37.137(c), www.transit.dot.gov.

FTA Circular 4710.1 Americans with Disabilities Act Guidance, November 4, 2015, www.transit.dot.gov.

George Mason University Policy Brief, Crisis as Opportunity: Fostering Inclusive Public Engagement in Local Government, April 24, 2020, https://www.mercatus.org/publications/covid-19-policy-brief-series/crisis-opportunity-fostering-inclusive-public-engagement.

Mass Transit Magazine, City and transit officials unveil Philadelphia’s Transit Plan, February 23, 2021, https://www.masstransitmag.com/management/article/21211395/city-and-transit-officials-unveil-philadelphias-transit-plan.

TRB Staff
Mariela Garcia-Colberg
Phone: 202-334-2361
Email: mgarciacolberg@nas.edu

Meeting Dates
First Panel: TBD
Teleconference with Consultant: TBD
Second Panel: TBD

Topic Panel 


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