Public Involvement is much more than posting notices and holding public hearings. Public participation involves creative thinking, with willingness and ability to interact openly to the public's preferred forms of communication. It is about being sensitive to disparate needs and conflicting priorities. It is about giving the public an opportunity to influence transportation decisionmaking. This course walks the talk by employing public involvement techniques as the means of conveying the key learning outcomes. It is a joint effort among FTA's Office of Planning, NTI, the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Office of Planning, and the National Highway Institute (NHI) and was recently updated to reflect changes in the Federal Transportation reauthorization.
This course does not focus on the NEPA process, but on more general strategies and tools of engaging the public. For a course focused on NEPA see Environmental Impact Assessment (Online) Part A: NEPA as a Decision-Making Tool in Planning or Environmental Impact Assessment (Online) Part B: The Environmental Impact Statement and Related Topics.
Transit operators, metropolitan planning organization personnel, federal, state, local transportation agency staff, consultants, and others who are responsible for planning, implementing, or participating in any phase of the public involvement process.
Upon completion of the course, participants will be able to:
- Identify public involvement challenges
- Describe U.S. DOT transportation decision-making processes, including those that trigger the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
- Describe the relationship between public involvement and decisionmaking
- Develop a public involvement plan with stakeholder assistance that includes attention to non-traditional populations as an evaluation component
- Describe interest-based problem solving and their underlying values
- Identify ways to enhance public involvement plans