Recommendations to Enhance Quality Engagement

In advance of an update to its Long Range Transportation Plan, Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) commissioned a team of researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago to study ways in which it could improve and enhance its public engagement practices, especially those involving underserved or disadvantaged populations. The agency wished to increase the quality and quantity of public feedback received and extend its reach into disadvantaged communities. To answer this question, the project team undertook a long-term research effort, which began with a review of the literature on public participation generally and in a transportation context specifically. This research was directed at developing both a theoretical foundation and a knowledge of specific instances of successful (or unsuccessful) public engagement. Engagement with disadvantaged populations was also a focus of this research, as was civic technology and its potential to enhance the participation process. Additionally, the team conducted interviews with IDOT employees who had experience in carrying out public engagement as well as several consultants in the field. These interviews showed that engagement expertise does exist within the agency, but it is unevenly distributed across the organization. This is perhaps due to a past reliance on consultants. It was also indicated that the agency made heavy use of traditional techniques to engage the public, such as open houses or town hall meetings. In addition, two real-world case studies were identified and examined. The first concerns the use of community college students in Connecticut to perform public engagement for a local MPO. The second case study focuses on the past and present efforts of the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) to improve its public engagement practices.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Edition: Final Draft
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 71p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01608708
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Contract Numbers: 2015-06701-00-01KN
  • Created Date: Jul 26 2016 8:42AM