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10 or ineffective, or that the agency or MPO had a negative Committee Membership experience with advisory committees in the past. When asked how committee members are selected, most respondents said that their agency or MPO invites specific Advisory Committee Use and Purpose individuals to participate or asks community organizations to appoint members. In fewer cases, respondents reported select- Respondents reported involving advisory committees in a ing committee members through an open application process wide range of planning, policy, and operational issues. The or asking partner agencies or local jurisdictions to appoint most commonly cited issues were general agency or MPO members. Members of standing committees are selected more operations, capital project planning, specific operational often through an open application process than are members issues, and planning for service changes. Some agencies also of ad hoc committees. In a few cases, standing committees reported involving advisory committees in general planning select their own members through a review of applications. and funding decisions, human service and accessibility One agency reported that asking local jurisdictions to appoint plans, and fare changes. members increased committee success because local juris- dictions had personal experience with appointees and could Although agencies reported involving advisory commit- select those who would participate fully. tees in all of these issues related to transit planning and oper- ations (see Table 1), 45% of respondents reported involving Some agencies reported specific planning or recruit- standing committees in general agency operations. Roughly ment tools aimed at ensuring diverse representation. These 15% of respondents reported involving advisory commit- included detailed matrixes of committee member attributes tees in service changes, capital project planning, and specific and recruitment through community organizations. Three- operational issues. quarters of respondents said that they considered members' perspectives when establishing the committee and sought to develop membership that represented the full range of view- TABLE 1 points. Many respondents said that their agency's or MPO's WHAT TYPE OF COMMITTEE ARE YOU REPORTING ON advisory committee is diverse in terms of geographic repre- WITH THIS QUESTIONNAIRE? (Q4) sentation, ethnicity, and age. Many agencies also reported Percentage Frequency the inclusion of people with disabilities. In some cases, agen- Standing committee on general 44.5 81 cies reported providing accommodations such as translation agency operations services, Braille materials, and sign-language interpretation Major capital project (e.g., new light to allow people with different abilities to fully participate in 14.3 26 rail line, park-and-ride development) committee meetings. Planning for service changes 15.4 28 Many agencies provide training and education to com- Standing committee on a specific mittee members. More than 75% of committees included operational issue (e.g., ADA service, 15.4 28 people with limited experience interacting with govern- budget oversight) ment. To promote successful group interactions and an Other (please specify) 22.5 41 understanding of agency and MPO responsibilities, agencies answered question 182 provided members with group training sessions, one-on-one coaching, and written materials. In some cases, such as the Note: ADA = Americans with Disabilities Act. standing Baltimore Regional Transit Board CAC, one-third of committee members are replaced each year to ensure that Respondents generally had positive experiences with advi- two-thirds of committee members have experience serving sory committees. When asked how effective their agency or on the committee and can educate newer members. MPO had found advisory committees to be, more than 80% responded that their agencies found advisory committees to Most committee members either represent a specific com- be somewhat or very effective. Less than 7% of respondents munity organization's interests or serve as at-large members found advisory committees to be somewhat or very ineffec- representing their own viewpoints. In many cases, members tive. Given the small number of respondents who cited their represent multiple interests or organizations. Generally, mem- advisory committee as ineffective, few conclusions could be bers were asked to state their affiliations at the first commit- drawn about the factors that differentiate effective commit- tee meeting or before a decision-making discussion to ensure tees from ineffective committees. that other members understand their point of view. Most