Public Involvement Techniques
1. A - Including People Who are Underserved¹
Public involvement needs to encompass the full range of community interests, yet people underserved by transportation often do not participate. Not only are they frequently unaware of transportation proposals that could affect their daily lives, but they also may have no means to get to a public meeting or have long work hours that preclude them from attending. Many citizens do not participate in public involvement activities, even though they have important, unspoken issues that should be heard. Some may have a deep mistrust for public officials and government offices, while others may discouraged from participating due to cultural values.
People are a rich source of ideas that can improve transportation not only for themselves but also for the entire community. Agencies must assume responsibility for reaching out to the affected population and should include everyone in the decision-making process. This requires strategic thinking by agencies and tailoring public involvement efforts to all the communities affected by a plan or project in order to effectively meet their public involvement needs.
Tailored approaches to reach the underserved are grouped here under two headings:
¹23 CFR Section 450.104 defines underserved as including low income households and minority households. Non-discrimination statutes also name race, color, national origin, age, sex/gender, handicap/disability, and religion. Subsequent Executive Orders also name low income and minority populations (E.O. 12898), and limited-English-proficient populations (E.O. 13166).
- Tailoring public involvement for underserved people, including ethnic, minority, low income, low literacy, and low English proficiency; and
- People with disabilities.
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For more information about the TPCB program, contact Michelle
at FHWA (202-366-9206) or John Sprowls
at FTA (202-366-5362).