Public Involvement Techniques
4.A - Holding Special Events
People like special events now and then. These unique occasions
are light-hearted and intended to be fun for participants. They
have a holiday-like feeling clearly different from day-to-day meetings
and hearings. They give community people opportunities to meet others
in a friendly, non-threatening setting and share their ideas. People
like the freedom and openness of pleasurable events that do not
demand immediate action or response.
Nearly any public involvement program benefits by incorporating
special, one-time events. They complement many techniques by providing
exhilarating breaks during a larger and longer process. A special
event does not require a commitment to hold another such occasion,
unless evaluation determines it is likely to be useful and appropriate.
Special events reach new participants. Individuals who have not
participated in transportation planning or project development become
interested because of exposure to agency work at a special event.
Special events help current participants recruit neighbors to the
process and demonstrate why it can be fun. With the help of participant
advisors, an agency can determine if a special event is appropriate
and if its timing can be integrated with other community events.
During special events in a public involvement program, messages
about transportation—while clearly a motivating force—should
be understated to keep the occasion light and friendly.
Special events take many forms. Two techniques have potentially
significant use for transportation planning and project development:
- Transportation fairs; and
- Games and contests.
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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).