Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Practices. Topic 54-07. Visualization for Public Involvement

Visualization, in its many forms, has long been recognized as an important element of public involvement in transportation decision-making. As visualization technologies and applications have matured and become more readily available, their potential to increase public understanding and inform dialogue during planning and project development has greatly expanded. Recent trends in public involvement practice have made it easier for agencies to show visualization products to a broad public audience. These trends include the dramatic increase in the use of video as part of social media communication and the move to virtual public involvement that greatly accelerated during the pandemic. An increased focus on meeting the needs of participants with limited English proficiency or low literacy also prompted greater reliance on visual communications. Advancements in technology may have also created limitations for some populations regarding how this information is communicated and accessed, including communities with low or no broadband access. Visualization strategies may limit access to or affect how they are accessed by phone, tablet, computer, or in-person (e.g., printed material, using monitor displays, etc.). Despite the transformative potential of newer visualization tools for public involvement, their uptake among state DOTs has been uneven, and the current state of the practice is not well understood. The most recent synthesis on visualization for highway projects was published in 2006. The most comprehensive guidance to date on selecting visualization tools for public involvement was the Federal Transit Administration’s “Choosing Visualization for Transportation” tool, now over ten years old. Interest is evident among DOTs in obtaining guidance to advance their use of visualization in public involvement. This can be seen in recent FHWA peer exchanges on visualization conducted as part of the Every Day Counts (EDC) Virtual Public Involvement Initiative, which seeks to promote visualization, among other virtual tools. The formation of an FHWA Visualization Working Group with federal and state DOT participants is another example. Moreover, interactive visualization was a recent peer-selected focus innovation under AASHTO’s Innovation Initiative. The objective of this synthesis is to document state DOT practices of visualization for public involvement throughout the lifecycle of plans, programs, and projects.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $55000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-05, Topic 54-07

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Harrigan, Edward

  • Performing Organizations:


    One Penn Plaza
    250 W 34th Street
    New York, New York  United States  10119
  • Principal Investigators:

    Christians, Robin

  • Start Date: 20221129
  • Expected Completion Date: 20240529
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01845330
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-05, Topic 54-07
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: May 16 2022 6:03PM