Measuring the Effectiveness of Public Involvement

The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) seeks to engage Arizonans in meaningful public participation in the planning, design, construction, and operation of transportation facilities. While all public participation opportunities are currently developed with high quality process and performance in mind, ADOT believes there is room to improve community relations through more effective public involvement. Currently, the Communications Division, which has primary responsibility for public involvement on ADOT projects, does not have the means to measure how well its efforts meet the agency's objectives or the expectations of the public and other stakeholders. Thus, there is a need to define effectiveness within the context of ADOT's public outreach, e.g., in light of National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) requirements, to better understand the degree to which past public involvement efforts have been effective, and to determine the strategies, tools, and techniques that have been more effective than others. There is also a need to measure the success of public involvement on current and future projects, and to modify efforts to more closely match identified targets for effectiveness. This study will develop and test measures of the effectiveness of public involvement efforts on a range of ADOT projects in both rural and urban areas, and will develop recommendations for the implementation of such measures at the department.