Planning and Public Participation
The planning process can often involve many people from different areas: public officials, providers, client agencies, advocates, and more. While such a varied group of people will undoubtedly have multiple priorities and viewpoints, public participation in the planning process is crucial. By including the public, and especially people with disabilities, in the planning process, groups will be able to take on challenges and come up with fully effective, publicly-supported solutions for their communities.
A transportation user from the disability community can bring unique expertise to the table and can be a well-informed contributor to the planning process. Such a representative can help increase the efficiency and coordination of transportation resources in a community by: sharing knowledge of the ADA rights and responsibilities for customers with disabilities who use public transportation; participating on task forces and working groups that support coordinated planning efforts; and assisting with outreach to other members of the community.
In 2003, United We Ride published Framework For Action, a tool that can help an individual or organizational representative of the disability community prepare to get involved in the planning process. Aside from detailed self-assessments, the tool includes a Four-Step Model for Change, a straightforward planning and action process. The steps include: (1) Process Planning, (2) Assessing, (3) Prioritizing, and (4) Action Planning.
TRB’s Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Synthesis 89: Public Participation Strategies for Transit
documents the state-of-the-practice in terms of public participation strategies to inform and engage the public for transit-related activities. The synthesis also provides ideas and insights into practices and techniques that agencies have found to be most successful, and discusses challenges relating to engaging the public.