Public Involvement Services
Determining the Level of efforts:
Every project is unique and requires a different level of Public Involvement. We can help you determine the level of outreach required, and work with you and within your budget to design strategic methods to meet these requirements.
This successful tool is highly regarded by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and required by many Departments of Transportation. First, with our client and the project team we identify potential partners and affected agencies to participate in a project partnering session. Conducted in a half to a full day session, depending on the size and breadth of the project, partnering encourages cooperation, identifies issues and common goals, defines roles and responsibilities, and establishes a chain of command and information. The session concludes with the drafting of a ‘Charter of Agreement,’ signed by all. This ultimately time-saving method allows relationships which normally take months or even years to establish, to be built in a single day.
Identifying the Audience:
Like projects, every community is unique. To structure appropriate community-specific involvement efforts, we research and assess socio-economic structure, identify characteristics and work with community leaders and representatives to understand particular needs of each community.
With the project team, we identify and evaluate issues and impacts that may affect the quality of life for those in the surrounding communities prior to, during and after construction. The earlier potential social, environmental, and economic effects are identified, the more likely they can be addressed in a civilized, context-sensitive, and mutually beneficial way.
We design our strategies around the level of involvement and the audience we have identified. Through the use of innovative engagement methods, we work with the project team to ensure that each and every contact with the public produces useful and valuable results. Whatever meeting strategies we employ, every opportunity is carefully planned and structured to garner the focused input necessary to fulfill national, state, and local requirements; but most importantly, to advance the project.
Often the public involvement process is equated with the plague: Dreaded by all, embraced by none! We can help you embrace the process. When the public is given clear, accurate, and meaningful information, approached with a sincere intention of involvement and a willingness to listen, relationships based in mutual respect will be built. The public may not always agree, but they will respect the integrity of the process.
We utilize all communication tools available - from newsletters to Twitter - to keep the public involved and in the loop. We ensure that information is readily available and easy to access. For the less technically advanced, we use established methods such as one-on-one meetings, telephone, newsletters and e-mail. For the savvier consumer, information is at their fingertips. Through the use of project websites, YouTube, FaceBook and Twitter, we can provide project information and interactive educational tools and links as well as access to meeting information, visual aids and citizen comments. Our video production capabilities can help create dynamic, easy to understand and professional presentations to the public. Video can also be used to accurately archive public meetings for viewing on the project website and integration into public involvement documentation. These archives also provide our clients with an excellent marketing tool.
Putting information to good use:
All the hard work a project team puts into public involvement means nothing if the information gathered cannot be used. Our comment tracking management database provides a comprehensive contact list as well as a record of all public comment, concerns, and mitigation strategies. Information is categorized, responded to and readily available to the project team for incorporation. With this tool we also identify community groups from which various comments are generated, and allowing us to address their specific areas of concern. This tool can also be used to facilitate polls and surveys we may use to evaluate the effectiveness of our efforts.
With the project team we create performance standards and success criteria through which we can measure the effectiveness of our efforts using statistical data and participant surveys.