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9 CHAPTER THREE SURVEY RESULTS INTRODUCTION it identified specific public involvement requirements for them to undertake in terms of a public involvement This section summarizes findings from the 26 interviews. A process that was continuous. copy of the 40 question survey can be found in Appendix A, a 5. In general, DOT respondents reported that they had listing of the participating agencies in Appendix B, and a sum- public involvement components in the phases from mary of the responses by question, agency type, and respon- policy development to operations and maintenance, dent in Appendix C. Although there appeared to be no clear- whereas MPO respondents said they had public cut definition of public involvement responsibilities nor how involvement components in the phases from policy responsibilities were to be undertaken, the interviews revealed development through systems planning and project similarities and differences in how public involvement was planning. conducted by DOTs, MPOs, transit agencies, and local gov- ernments. More often than not respondents from MPOs, tran- sit agencies, and local governments tended to respond in a STAFFING similar way and their responses have been grouped under MPO. These similarities and differences are highlighted here 6. Most DOT respondents said they had a staff mem- by 11 areas of interest. Under each area of interest are num- ber(s) assigned to public involvement efforts related to bered paragraphs that represent a summary of the responses to customer services and holding public hearings. Other Questions 140. Individual summarized responses from each staff members performed as needed public involve- agency for Questions 140 can be found in Appendix C. ment functions, although they had full-time job respon- sibilities that were not public hearing related. All MPO ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE respondents reported that they had full-time staff members dedicated to public involvement. 1. Meeting citizen needs, preserving the quality of com- 7. Most DOT respondents stated that those who con- munities, improving the quality of life, providing ducted public involvement did not have any academic transportation experiences that delight their cus- background in the social sciences or specific experi- tomers, and creating opportunities for public input ence in social work, marketing, or customer service, were mentioned as goals related to the public and and few were members of professional organizations public concerns in the mission statements of approx- that had public involvement tracks. Instead, they noted imately two-thirds of the 26 respondents. that the preconstruction engineer was ultimately 2. Respondents from all of the MPOs, transit agen- responsible for the public involvement effort. Many cies, and local governments, and 8 of the 11 DOTs MPO respondents said that members of their staffs stated that their agencies were centralized rather had academic backgrounds or specific experience in than decentralized. education, marketing, media relations, public rela- 3. Respondents from all of the MPOs, transit agencies, tions, communications, community outreach, volun- and local governments, and 8 of the 11 DOTs reported teering, facilitation, conflict resolution, and customer that within their agency the authority for public in- service, and many were active in professional organi- volvement activities was centralized at headquarters. zations that had public involvement tracks. Respondents at the three decentralized DOTs said 8. Almost all of the DOT and MPO respondents noted their district offices had the authority to provide full- that their staffs received internal and external train- service public involvement activities. ing at some time in community impact assessment, 4. DOT respondents said there was no clear-cut defini- public involvement, environmental justice, or context- tion of public involvement responsibilities or how sensitive solutions, although it was not on a consistent these responsibilities were to be undertaken except in basis. terms of organizing a public hearing and specific plans, 9. Both DOT and MPO respondents said that very few programs, or documents (National Environmental Pol- staff members had more than 20 years experience; icy Act, Statewide Transportation Improvement Pro- with most having zero to six years experience. gram, etc.). MPO respondents stated that they were 10. DOT respondents reported that many of their staff mandated to prepare a Public Participation Plan and members came up through the ranks and had limited