Stakeholder Attitudes, Knowledge and Engagement in Local Road Systems Planning and Decision-Making
Guillermo Narvaez, Research Associate, Humphrey School of Public Affairs
- Kathryn Quick, Assistant Professor, Humphrey School of Public Affairs
Project Summary:This project expands on results from a previous LRRB-funded project, "Building Local Agency Capacity for Public Engagement in Local Road Systems Planning and Decision Making," which examined public communication and engagement strategies regarding Minnesota's substantial challenges in sustaining local road systems. In this project, the researchers are working with additional local jurisdictions, including cities as well as counties, to deepen knowledge about effective communication and engagement strategies and provide additional qualitative case studies for analysis.
This project will develop, implement, and test communication and engagement techniques for involving the public in informed decision-making on local roads system issues. Over a 24-month period, the researchers will develop and provide to local public works leaders decision-support information, methods, tools, and strategies to communicate with and engage key stakeholders in addressing these complex and sensitive issues. Key stakeholders may include elected officials, the media, other agencies that depend on or are responsible for managing some part of the local road system, and interested members of the general public. Engagement methods will be developed, implemented, and evaluated by the researchers in close consultation with public works leaders to address the particular local road system challenges they face (e.g., budget shortfalls, maintenance or reconstruction needs, adjusting to population size changes and demands). The project emphasizes: 1) an assessment of the constraints and preferences of public works leaders and the public for local road systems sustainability; 2) an examination of the policies emerging from the state 2014 legislative session and their impacts on local roads systems; and 3) techniques for designing, managing, and evaluating public involvement in decision making. The initial phase provides opportunities to reshape the project in response to input from local public works leaders. The project includes implementation and analysis of detailed engagement plans in two counties and two municipalities.