Title

DESIGNING AN EFFECTIVE APPROACH TO THE PUBLIC: ALASKA'S EXPERIENCE

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

1999

Subject Area

land use - planning, policy - equity

Keywords

Transportation planning, Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, Public participation, Public involvement, Native peoples, Long range planning, Local participation, Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991, Indigenous peoples, Citizen participation, Alaska

Abstract

Public involvement is no longer an option in transportation planning; the public and the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (and the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century) require it. In 1996, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (ADOT) responded by engaging the public in designing a new public-involvement procedure (PIP). ADOT first created a process to gather the public's ideas about how they wanted to be involved--based in part on methods recommended by the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration--and then used the process to develop the PIP. A special effort was made to select methods that would help ADOT engage Alaska's indigenous people, many of whom live in remote villages. The methods in the revised PIP strongly reflected public suggestions: display-poster announcements in rural communities, toll-free telephone and fax numbers, a website with current information, an interactive newsletter, televised and radio call-in programs targeted to rural areas (to complement public meetings in regional centers), and two public committees. The first committee was a small 24-member Policy Advisory Committee; the second was a large 600-member Public Review Group. In 1997-1998, ADOT tested the new procedure in revising the long-range statewide transportation plan. The process that ADOT used to develop the PIP can be used by other agencies; the content of the final PIP, however, will vary with public input. The new PIP has improved ADOT's public image and appears to have garnered new public support for transportation in general.