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Desired Outcomes of a Community Engagement Program 13 · Develop a noise management program that "all stakeholders agree with and carry it out with open and respectful communication" (SDF) · Achieve "a change in public perceptions, less intense complaint calls and a less angry tone of communications from the public." (LGB) Defining and Measuring Success There can be various levels of success in a communications program. It is easy for airports to know when they have not been sued, but is not easy to objectively measure whether trust and a "good" relationship exists. The academic profession is still trying to devise effective measure- ment mechanisms for public involvement techniques as applied to transportation in general. Without a definitive answer as yet, it is up to each airport to clearly define its goals for public involvement and to use mechanisms that are as objective as possible to measure its success. The value of this exercise is understanding where to allocate limited airport resources--media and public relations, public engagement, staffing, or other. Some possible approaches for defining and measuring success are: · Statistically valid community attitude surveys · Feedback from focus groups of the community and airport neighbors · Use a series of evaluation questions such as those shown below as proposed in "Stakeholder Involvement & Public Participation by the U.S. EPA." (15) Consequences of Doing Nothing Doing nothing about community engagement means that at some point when schedule is crit- ical the airport is likely to be caught by surprise by an intense community reaction to an airport proposal. At that point it will become much harder to build a relationship of trust with the com- munity. Building the kind of community relationship that will help prevent or resolve storms of controversy takes time. By doing nothing regarding community engagement, the most precious time -- the time before the controversy erupts -- is wasted. Example Evaluation Questions · What were stakeholder/public perceptions regarding their ability to participate in the process? · To what degree were those expectations met? · What was the level of effort required by stakeholders/the public to participate? Were the goals and steps of the process clearly explained? · To what extent did the effort meet those goals? · Was the process fair? · Was the process competent? (e.g., was the process well-structured? was there proper leader- ship in place to guide the process?) · What major factors contributed to the success or shortcomings of the stakeholder involvement/ public participation effort? · How could the stakeholder involvement/public participation effort have been designed dif- ferently to work more effectively? · What resources (staff, time, dollars) were spent to engage in a stakeholder involvement or public participation effort? · What were the FTE (full-time employee) or dollar amounts required to perform the public participation or stakeholder involvement effort? · To what extent can the level of resources be associated with positive results of the stakeholder involvement/public participation effort?