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6 CHAPTER TWO LITERATURE REVIEW INTRODUCTION Identify the range of actions that might be taken; Identify and systematically consider the effects that This section summarizes findings from a literature review of might follow and uncertainties about them; public involvement that was conducted predominately through Use the best available knowledge and methods rele- a TRIS search. This resulted in the identification of 57 TRIS vant to the above tasks, particularly identify and sys- publications, 16 websites, 4 MPO websites, 4 DOT websites, tematically consider the effects that might follow and 6 poverty and cultural publications, and 2 poverty and cultural uncertainties about them; and websites that were thought to be relevant to this project. A Incorporate new information, methods, and concerns complete listing of publications and websites can be found in that arise over time. the Annotated References. Although there is no comprehen- sive synthesis of national practices of public involvement for Legitimacy refers to a process that is seen by the interested transportation programs, a number of published studies con- and affected parties as fair and competent and that fol- sistently describe a number of factors contributing to effective lows the governing laws and regulations. approaches for engaging the public in the decision-making Capacity refers to participants, including agency offi- process. Historically, public involvement efforts have focused cials and scientists [or other professionals], becoming on full disclosure of agency decisions and providing opportu- better informed and more skilled at effective participa- nities for the public to comment on those decisions. The his- tion; becoming better able to engage the best [technical] torical approaches have given way over time to more collabo- knowledge and information about diverse values, inter- rative approaches to decision making and the introduction of ests, and concerns; and developing a more widely shared alternative dispute resolution concepts. understanding of the issues and decision challenges and a reservoir of communication and mediation skills and mutual trust. FINDINGS The primary conclusion from their research is that: A search of the literature identified the following five primary purposes for conducting public involvement: When well done, public participation improves the quality and legitimacy of a decision and builds the capacity of all 1. Discovering the preferences of the public to help make involved to engage in the policy process. It can lead to better informed decisions, results in terms of environmental quality and other social 2. Improving decisions by incorporating input from the objectives. It also can enhance trust and understanding among parties. Achieving these results depends on using practices public, that address difficulties that specific aspects of the context can 3. Advancing fairness and justice in agency decisions by present. ensuring that the concerns of traditionally underserved groups are addressed, The FHWA and FTA provide the following guidelines 4. Ensuring the legitimacy of agency decisions, and for designing a public involvement program in their 2002 5. Complying with laws and regulations that require pub- publication Public Involvement Techniques for Transporta- lic involvement. tion Decision-Making: In Public Participation in Environmental Assessment and Decision Making, the 2008 study edited by Dietz and Stern for Act in accord with basic democratic principles by pro- the National Academy of Sciences, the essence of research viding opportunities to debate issues, frame alternative cited in the bibliography is captured when they identify the goal solutions, and affect final decisions. Agencies accom- of participation as ". . . to improve the quality, legitimacy, and plish this by sharing the details about their plans, attempt- capacity of . . . decisions." Their description of those character- ing to reflect the goals of the community, and engaging istics is as follows: the entire community. Begin public involvement as early as possible and con- Quality refers to assessments or decisions that duct it continuously throughout the decision-making Identify the values, interests, and concerns of all process. who are interested in or might be affected by the . . . Use a variety of techniques to engage the public tailored decision; to the unique needs of the various groups in the project

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7 area, particularly those that have traditionally been ideas and they often come to recognize that others' views underserved or disenfranchised. are legitimate. They can work through issues and create Take the initiative to seek out and actively engage these shared meanings as well as the possibility of joint action. groups in creative ways where they are located. They can learn new heuristics" (Innes and Booher 2005). Decision making works best when built on a series of FHWA and FTA guidance also provided the following five agreements that ultimately lead to a comprehensive steps to "systematically setting up and implementing a public consensus on the final program or project decision. involvement program for a specific plan, program, or project:" In 1996, the FHWA published Community Impact Assess- 1. Set goals and objectives for the public involvement ment, A Quick Reference for Transportation, or as it is better program, known "the little purple book." It was "written as a quick 2. Identify the people to be reached, primer for transportation professionals and analysts who 3. Develop a general approach or set of general strate- assess the impacts of proposed transportation actions on gies, communities" by doing the following: 4. Flesh out the approach with specific techniques, and 5. Ensure that proposed strategies and techniques aid Outlining the community impact assessment process, decision making to close the loop. Highlighting critical areas to be examined, Identifying basic tools and information sources, and Researchers consistently identify a number of factors that Stimulating the thought process related to individuals contribute to the effectiveness of public involvement efforts: projects. The culture of the organization matters. Credibility and It was prepared because the consequences of transporta- trust are established over time when the public per- tion investments on communities had often been ignored or ceives that the agency is not just "going through the introduced near the end of a planning process. At best, this motions or doing the minimum required by the laws and reduced them to reactive consideration. The goals of this regulations that govern them," but are demonstrating a booklet were to do the following: genuine commitment to collaborative decision making. The staff conducting public involvement matters. Proper Increase awareness of the effects of transportation skills and training are critical to successfully engaging actions on the human environment, the public. Emphasize that community impacts deserve serious It is important to understand your public. There is no attention in project planning and development com- one-size-fits-all approach to public involvement. Census mensurate with that given the natural environment, and data can help identify the socioeconomic characteristics Provide some tips for facilitating public involvement in of each community; however, it is important to talk to the decision-making process. people to really understand their issues and concerns. The methods used to engage people could be tailored to It provides "nuts and bolts" guidance and instruction in the unique characteristics of each group. accomplishing the following objectives: People need to be taught how to provide the most use- ful feedback to the agency; it is not enough to disclose Defining the project, technical data about the decision to be made. Outline Developing a community profile, the decision-making process and describe the input Collecting data, needed from the public at each phase of the process. Analyzing community impacts, Public involvement is an ongoing process and involves Selecting analysis tools, building long-term working relationships. People need to Identifying solutions, know that they have meaningful opportunities to influence Using public involvement, and decisions before they are made by the decision maker. Documenting findings. Reaching agreement on relevant information needed to make decisions is not easy. Data come with bias and Once the project has been defined, the community profile assumed values and it is important that it be presented in developed, and the data collected, then the proper analysis clear, nontechnical terms. The goal is mutually shared tool or techniques can be selected to engage that specifically information flows between the public and the agency. identified community. For those publics that are low-literate Dialogue has transformational power. "When an inclu- or have limited English proficiency, the FHWA's 2006 pub- sive set of citizens can engage in authentic dialogue lication How to Engage Low-Literacy and Limited-English- where all are equally empowered and informed and Proficiency Populations in Transportation Decisionmaking where they listen and are heard respectfully, and when provides guidance on what special approaches are needed to they are working on a task of interest to all, following outreach to low-literacyand engage limited-English-proficiency their own agendas, everyone is changed. They learn new populations.