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Case Studies in Airport/Stakeholder Communication 67 Lessons Learned: Build Capacity of Citizens to Participate More Effectively in Decision-Making "Enables communities lacking organization and leadership to turn concerns into action Helps citizens better process information and provide input into Agency decisions Empowers communities to leverage additional resources Allows communities to capitalize on their existing civic assets" (15, p. 11) The EPA Best Practices paper notes that one area that the agency had only a limited ability to measure was how well it had succeeded in involving the public. The paper suggests some useful questions to consider in measuring the effectiveness of stakeholder and public involvement. Questions to Consider in Reviewing Outreach Effectiveness "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 involve- ment/public participation effort? How could the stakeholder involvement/public participa- tion effort have been designed differently to work more effectively? What resources (staff, time, extramural $) 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?" (15, p. 22) Performance measures suggested to evaluate the effectiveness of outreach programs included "How many stakeholders/citizens participated in the effort; were all significant stakeholder groups represented; and did the effort result in a product or agreement that furthered progress towards achieving positive environmental outcomes?" (15, p. 22) Conclusions The themes of the EPA's "Lessons Learned" are very familiar. They have been repeated over and over again in airport interviews, airport studies, surface transportation best practices, and in educational industry case studies. The themes of "trust" and "providing credible data" arose frequently in airport interviews. "Partnership building" was particularly emphasized by non-airport interest groups. The findings regarding the need for evaluation tools have been noted in other case studies, but this report is particularly helpful in suggesting questions to be considered. Case Studies Large/Medium-Hub Airport with Passenger Service--San Francisco International Airport (SFO) Aircraft Noise Abatement Office. ( Accessed 7/22/2008. (122) San Francisco International Airport (SFO) was selected as a representative case study airport because it is a large commercial airport in a densely developed area with a long history of fre- quent interaction with surrounding communities about aircraft noise and other airport issues.

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68 Aircraft Noise: A Toolkit for Managing Community Expectations For 30 years SFO has been developing and refining communications programs to address noise concerns of densely developed nearby neighborhoods. During the initial interviews to follow-up on the airport noise manager survey conducted for this study, other airports referred to SFO as a model for airport communications on noise issues. Using the SFO experience as a case study allows other large and medium sized airports to consider aircraft noise communication tech- niques that have been tested over decades. For both small and large airports, the lessons SFO management has learned reflect that successful communications are more about attitude and approach than about cost. The airport dates from the late 1930s and is located on the west side of San Francisco Bay, south of the city. Not physically within the city limits of San Francisco, the 2,300 acre airport is in San Mateo County, with 20 incorporated cities nearby. The surrounding area is intensely developed to the west, northwest and south, with the San Francisco Bay on the remaining bound- aries. San Francisco International claims to be the world's seventh busiest airport. According to a Fact Sheet distributed by SFO, in 2007 the airport was served by 55 airlines, of which almost three-fourths were scheduled domestic or international passenger air carriers. Cargo-only carri- ers represented over 18% of the airlines and the remaining airlines were commuter or seasonal/ charter Air Carriers. The Airport is owned by the City and County of San Francisco and governed by a five-person Airport Commission appointed by the Mayor of San Francisco. The Commission sets policy for the airport and selects the Airport Director. Brief History of Noise Abatement SFO started developing its community response to noise issues in the 1970s. From its once isolated location in the 1940s, the airport, along with the region and its surrounding population, has grown substantially. Although neighboring communities understand the economic benefit of the airport, they also have ardently sought programs to reduce noise. Programs that SFO has been developing and refining to minimize the impact of aircraft operations on surrounding neighborhoods include: Adoption of the first set of noise abatement regulations in 1978. Substantial reduction of the impact of noise on residential areas through use of over-water flight tracks, the introduction of quieter aircraft, special regulations for night operations, and an extensive residential soundproofing program. Preparation of a Part 150 Study comprehensive noise abatement and land use compatibility plan (It was the first airport in the country with an approved Noise Compatibility Program). Creation of its own airport regulation phasing out older, noisier aircraft by 2000, enacted prior to any federal regulations on the subject. Retention of industrial areas, which are less sensitive to noise, under flight paths. Installation of the first passive radar aircraft identification system in 1987, since upgraded, allowing the airport to correlate noise events and complaints to individual flight operations and aircraft types. Approaches SFO has used to develop and maintain a collaborative relationship with elected officials and the general public include: Developing, participating in, and supporting with staff and financial resources the Airport/ Community Roundtable, one of the oldest established airport/community forums in the nation, whose meetings serve as public forums on noise reduction. Putting the passive radar aircraft identification system on-line as the "Live Radar Flight Tracks", allowing the public to view planes in the area and their altitudes.

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Case Studies in Airport/Stakeholder Communication 69 Interview Results Interviews for this case study were focused on including the primary staff persons responsible for management and communication of the noise abatement program, as well as representation of a formal community group. SFO completed the on-line survey in the summer of 2007, and was selected for the original fall, 2007 follow-up interviews. The following individuals were inter- viewed at that time or during the spring of 2008 to prepare the case study: Aircraft Noise Abatement Manager, San Francisco International Airport; Chair, Foster City Noise Abatement Committee; and Roundtable Coordinator, San Francisco International Airport. Key Issues. The relationship between the SFO noise abatement staff, airport-based stake- holders and surrounding communities has been in place for many years. Most of the painful confrontations many other airports are now facing have already been dealt with by SFO and its public engagement program. The techniques used by SFO to communicate with the public offer useful tools to any other airport that is confronted with serious public concerns over airport noise/ land use compatibility. Findings. The interviews started with a basic set of questions but were open-ended so as to allow for exploration of the particular situation at SFO. The following observations were drawn from the interviews to highlight the primary ideas about communications techniques from this airport. The lessons are presented below as techniques that worked and techniques to avoid. Communication Techniques That Worked for SFO A highly interactive communications approach based on the roundtable model, when com- bined with a heavy emphasis on actually reducing noise, has been very effective. Communication Techniques SFO Chose to Avoid in the future Controlling the flow and content of information makes people suspect something is being hidden. Allocating major resources to techniques (attending fairs, Airport Day, etc.) that do not have a direct impact on people's feeling about noise, without a good supplemental reason, are not effective. They are part of being a good neighbor and help promote good will, but will not make people complain less about noise; neither do they respond to community desires that some- thing positive is being done to reduce noise effects. Adopting another airport's techniques without tailoring them to the local situation is not helpful. Questions to ask in structuring a roundtable or forum are: To whom is the group responsible? Who do they advise? How should the Roundtable or Forum reflect the member- ship and airport geographic locations? How does the airport's governance structure relate to the program? Summary SFO was selected as a case study because it is a large commercial airport with a long history of frequent interaction with surrounding communities. Within the aviation industry, its programs have become highly visible representations of an active public involvement program that seeks to address community concerns while maintaining the integrity of aviation needs. Over the 30 years following the initiation of its aircraft noise communications program, it has moved largely from a relationship of controversy and contention with its neighbors to one of coopera- tion and compromise. Other airports have named it as a model for airport communications on noise issues. Further information and reference materials for SFO can be found among the best practice tools referenced in Chapter 4 and in the Bibliography (found in the Toolkit), as well as on the airport's noise management website at