How to Engage People
Public engagement is an integral component of every stage of project development – from long-range planning to post-construction activities. Public involvement (PI) processes and approaches are varied and complex depending on the project or program. Often, public engagement occurs across a continuum ranging from providing information about projects or programs to collaborating with participants in the decision–making to empowering participants to vote on the outcome. TTI developed a tool to help agencies explore engagement options.
Performance Measures for Public Participation Methods
Researchers in the TTI Transportation Policy Research Center investigated performance measures to determine which are most applicable and appropriate for public engagement evaluation. This study illustrates how performance measurement can leverage the results of public engagement activities.
Development of an Online Community
In order to develop transportation policy effectively, legislators should be provided with the opportunity to tap into the views of a broadly representative group of citizens who reflect the expansive range of political, demographic and geographic characteristics that define the state of Texas. Input from this representative group of Texans can be achieved through developing an online community, a communication model that is being explored in other states. This research effort developed such an online community and this report focuses primarily on online communities that can provide decision makers with insight to help them evaluate the feasibility of developing just such an online community for State of Texas decision makers.
Exploring New Technology: Results of the Oak Hill Parkway Virtual Open House
The traditional ways in which transportation agencies have engaged the public are becoming less effective and productive, as shown by the diminishing attendance at public meetings on transportation projects. This effort evaluated the re-creation of a traditional open house in a virtual (online) setting to provide additional engagement opportunities to the public and to better understand the role of emerging technology in the public engagement process.
TxDOT Public Involvement Guidebook
This project developed a Public Involvement Guidebook for the Texas Department of Transportation, providing specific guidance for a wide range of people working on projects involving the public. The project included in-depth interviews with TxDOT staff working in urban and rural areas, and in support of statewide projects, in addition to critical review of case studies outside the state of Texas. TTI integrated the results of this effort into a visually accessible guidebook that emphasize four key steps in public involvement, including integration of technology and performance monitoring.
Raising Awareness of Laws Prohibiting Midblock and Highway Crossings to Reduce Pedestrian Fatalities and Serious Injuries (Texas Department of Transportation, 2021)
This project directly addresses TxDOT’s “high priority” needs program area of Pedestrian Safety. The purpose of this project is to assist TxDOT in reducing pedestrian fatalities and serious injuries to pedestrians who cross at midblock and highway locations by increasing pedestrian awareness of the laws that prohibit these crossings, as well as the deadly risks associated with these crossings. This project is aimed at increasing pedestrian awareness and adherence to pedestrian safety laws. This project consisted of market research on communications campaigns, focus group discussions with the target demographic TxDOT aimed to reach, and production of print materials and outreach videos that included information about how and where pedestrians should cross a roadway according to TTC 7. Sec.552.005, and about the increased risk of injury or death to pedestrians when this law is violated.
The Road Fairy: A Video Series on Transportation Finance (TTI Policy Research Center/Texas State Legislature, 2017)
Transportation is not an issue at the forefront of the minds of most people, but TTI researchers identified the need for a broad discussion and public education effort on transportation funding issues – anchored by credible information and involving the right messengers. For this project TTI produced a five-part video series that addresses recent research topics related to transportation funding. Content was shaped around public opinion data gathered from statewide polls, and style was developed and designed for general public consumption by stakeholder groups and the general public.