Suggested Design and Management Techniques for Enhancing Public Engagement in Transportation Policymaking

Kathryn S. Quick, Zhirong Zhao
October 2011
Report no. CTS 11-24


This report analyzes how the public can be effectively engaged in democratic decision-making and implementation of technically complex transportation policies. Its contribution is to compile and analyze strategies for enhancing public engagement specifically in transportation planning and policy via a review of the literature, identification of key design choices in organizing public engagement, a case study, and recommendations for further research. It incorporates the following sections:

--Highlights from existing knowledge about the benefits, purposes, and challenges of public engagement.
--An assessment of the state of public engagement in transportation and an evaluation of participatory designs currently being used in the sector.
--A framework that we suggest transportation policy-makers utilize in deciding how to design public engagement processes.
--Description and analysis of two cases of participatory transportation planning efforts in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
--Recommendations for further research and proposals for how to engage the public in several current transportation policy issues in Minnesota.

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Sponsored by: Center for Transportation Studies