Public Involvement Techniques
2.A - Determining the Type of Meeting
The type of meeting, its timing, and its level of formality are
determined by its purpose in the overall public involvement effort.
An effective strategy tailors meetings to the target audience, the
corridor or region, or the types of stakeholder groups—and,
in some instances such as public hearings, to the legal requirements.
Scheduling for a meeting depends on what information participants
need and when they are likely to need it, as well as on when agencies
need information from the public. Sometimes a series of meetings
- A kickoff session;
- Periodic meetings throughout the process, especially timed with
major planning milestones and decision points; and
- A meeting or meetings near the end of the process.
The underlying principle is to provide timely and adequate opportunities
Flexibility is crucial. Agencies may vary meeting types to grab
attention or focus on specific elements of a plan or program. Near
the completion of a process, if an agency is legally required to
hold a public hearing, it may choose to prepare potential participants
with further informational gatherings and discussions. In cases
where time is insufficient, agencies might schedule another date
when discussion can continue.
Agencies tailor the type of meeting to its substance and purpose,
as outlined below:
- Public meetings/hearings;
- Open houses/open forum hearings; and
- Conferences, workshops, and retreats.
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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).