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Promising Practices for Meaningful Public Involvement in Transportation Decision-Making Updated November 2023

In This Article:
USDOT Public involvement guide

USDOT released Version 2 on “Promising Practices for Meaningful Public Involvement in Transportation Decision-Making”. This guide contains promising practices around meaningful public involvement and participation that can help USDOT funding recipients comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), and other existing requirements.

Environmental Justice Executive Order 12898 Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations amplifies Title VI and NEPA by stating that “each Federal agency shall make achieving environmental justice part of its mission by identifying and addressing, as appropriate, disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of its programs, policies, and activities on minority populations and low- income populations.” The order also directs Federal agencies and organizations that receive Federal funds to not exclude minority and low-income populations from participating in or benefiting from programs, policies, and activities. Those populations can often be included by modifying existing participatory programs. Public engagement for environmental justice (EJ) communities should have an intentional approach to ensuring meaningful involvement of affected communities and proactive community inclusion. Executive Order 13166 Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency, requires Federal agencies “to examine the services they provide, identify any need for services to those with limited English proficiency (LEP), and develop and implement a system to provide those services so LEP persons can have meaningful access to them.

The purpose of the document is to provide promising practices which can promote a shared understanding of meaningful public involvement. The aim is to promote promising practices for transportation professionals to incorporate meaningful public involvement into each stage of the transportation decision-making process and project lifecycle, including operations and service provisions. This document is intended to support practitioners in all modes of transportation in various roles, including those working in policy, planning, engineering, operations, civil rights, environmental justice, and public involvement. This resource should be used as an adaptable framework to ensure communities have a voice in the transportation decision-making process. USDOT considers this guide a living document and welcomes feedback and real-life examples of funding recipients that have been able to implement these practices.

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