Building Local Agency Capacity for Public Engagement in Local Road Systems Planning Decision-Making

Principal Investigator:

Kathryn Quick, Assistant Professor, Humphrey School of Public Affairs


  • Zhirong Zhao, Associate Professor, Humphrey School of Public Affairs

Project Summary:

Persistent shortfalls of resources and historic changes in usage of local road systems are challenging the ability of local communities to sustain their local road systems. This project responds through research and training on communication and engagement techniques for involving the public in informed budgetary decision-making regarding local road service levels. Over a two-year period, the researchers will develop and provide to local public works leaders decision-support information, methods, tools, and strategies to communicate with and engage elected officials, the media, and the general public in addressing these complex and sensitive issues. These tools will be developed and evaluated by the researchers in close consultation with local public works leaders and will be applicable to a range of road system planning challenges. The project emphasizes 1) an assessment of the preferences and understandings of public works leaders, elected officials, the public, and other stakeholders for local road systems sustainability; 2) tools for communicating with the public about resource allocation choices and their implications; 3) techniques for designing and managing public involvement in decision-making about these resource choices; 4) capacity-building through two workshops for public works leaders; 5) implementation and analysis of detailed communication and engagement plans in three localities--Beltrami, Dakota, and Jackson Counties--selected in conjunction with the project's technical advisory panel (TAP) during the initial task of the project; and 6) an evaluation and recommendations about the communication and engagement tools and local plans introduced through the projects. Results will be summarized in interim, draft, and final reports.


Project Details: