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Public Engagement Planning

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Public scrutiny and agency accountability are at an all-time
high. Agencies are looking for a better understanding of the issues that are important to their customers. In an era of strained financial resources, it is necessary to order priorities that are important to the people that support the transportation system through taxes and fees. The Public Engagement Planning (PEP) program at the Texas A&M Transportation
Institute (TTI) provides research innovations and coordinated support to sponsors in the areas of public engagement planning and public opinion research.

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Public Engagement Planning

  1. 1. Saving Lives, Time and Resources tti.tamu.edu Public scrutiny and agency accountability are at an all-time high. Agencies are looking for a better understanding of the issues that are important to their customers. In an era of strainedfinancialresources,itisnecessary toorderprioritiesthatareimportanttothe people that support the transportation system through taxes and fees. The Public EngagementPlanning(PEP)programattheTexasA&MTransportation Institute(TTI)providesresearchinnovationsandcoordinatedsupport to sponsors in the areas of public engagement planning and public opinion research. Expertise • Public Engagement Planning • Virtual Forums/Open Houses • Qualitative Research • Turnkey Public Opinion Survey Design and Implementation • Travel Behavior Research • Geographic Analysis • Social Media • Using Technology to Enhance Engagement • Customer Satisfaction Programs • Workshop Development and Facilitation Selected Sponsors • Battelle Memorial Institute • Bi-State Regional Commission • Colorado Department of Transportation • Denver Regional Council of Governments • Federal Highway Administration • Michigan Department of Transportation • Ohio Department of Transportation • Oregon Department of Transportation • Texas Department of Transportation • Wisconsin Department of Transportation Real-time Ridesharing Technology to Support Differential Tolling by Occupancy The field of transportation is increasingly relying on effective communication with citizens, particularly using new technologies. TTI’s work in real-time ridesharing reflects this change, in a first-of-its kind project testing use of a smartphone social carpooling app called Carma with toll road discounts. Sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration and locally managed by the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, participants are using the system to find carpooling drivers and riders to share trips, and saving money on tolls as well. This new form of crowdsourcing mobility through sharing information holds promise as a way to increase the efficiency of our transportation system. Selected Projects Core Functions and Services • Public engagement and outreach; • Public opinion data collection and analysis, • Travel behavior research survey design consultation; • Investment prioritization; • Establishment and assessment of performance-based measures; and • Targeted messaging. PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT PLANNING The mission of the Public Engagement Planning program is to advance the practice of public engagement through research and innovation.
  2. 2. Selected Projects Blanco, Lee and Llano County Transportation and Economic Development Plans Meeting the public engagement needs of a rural populations poses specific challenges, such as lack of Internet access, citizen experience with planning processes, and potential distrust of outsiders. TTI worked with the Capital Area Council of Governments (CAPCOG) and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to find public engagement solutions to the challenges facing development of new plans for the rural Texas counties of Blanco, Lee and Llano County. Researchers developed Community Involvement Strategies, recommend- ing local advisory committees, cohesive project branding, websites, local presentations, press releases, social media outreach, a regional survey dis- seminated at public meetings, local libraries, businesses and online. Bridging the Transportation Knowledge Gap in Five Simple (but not so easy) Steps Recent quantitative and qualitative research by TTI demonstrates that Texans understand little about their transportation system and how it is paid for, which limits their ability to participate in policy decisions that affect their future. To bridge this understanding gap, TTI is developing an outreach effort, beginning with a character-driven, five-part video series, to explain the state’s transportation problem and potential solu- tions, entitled The Road Fairy: A Tale of Transportation in Texas. The video series will form the foundation of a broader public engagement effort in future years. Public Outreach for the Interstate 35 (I-35) Corridor As part of a larger effort to develop a comprehensive approach to meet the needs of the I-35 statewide now and into the future, a series of listening sessions and focus groups were held with the business community and the general public. TTI researchers leading this effort organized and facilitated five listening sessions withthebusinesscommunitythroughoutthecorridor, andconducted14focusgroupswiththegeneralpublic. For a full list of featured projects, visit http://tti.tamu.edu/group/pep/projects/. Texans Talk Transportation: Devel- opment of an Online Community In order to develop transportation policy effectively, legislators should be provided with the opportunity to tap into the views of a broadly representative group of citizens who reflect the expansive range of political, demographic and geographic charac- teristics that define the state of Texas. Input from this representative group of Texans can be achieved through developing an online com- munity, a communication model that is being explored in other states. This research effort would develop such an online community. The community would allow for the development of tools such as online surveys and group discussions to determine what public opinion is regarding certain transportation policy initiatives. The interactions between researchers and the community and among community mem- bers with each other will identify knowledge gaps and misperceptions. Tina Geiselbrecht Public Engagement Planning Program Texas A&M Transportation Institute 505 East Huntland Drive, Suite 455 Austin, TX 78752 (512)467-0946 Ext. 12116 t-geiselbrecht@tamu.edu http://tti.tamu.edu/pep To solve transportation problems through research, to transfer technology and to develop diverse human resources to meet the transportation challenges of tomorrow. TTI1726.3896.1116 The Texas A&M Transportation Institute, estab- lished in 1950, seeks solutions to the problems and challenges facing all modes of transportation. The Institute works on over 700 research projects with over 200 sponsors in the United States and abroad at all levels of government and in the pri- vate sector. TTI is recognized as one of the finest higher-education-affiliatedtransportationresearch agencies in the nation. TTI has saved the state and nation billions of dollars through strategies and products developed through its research program. TTI research has a proven impact — resulting in lives, time and resources saved. Contact TTI’s Mission About TTI 1 1) Where is your primary residence? q Johnson City q Rural unincorporated Blanco Countyq City of Blanco q Outside Blanco Countyq Round Mountain 2) If rural area, please specify which area of the county in which you live (refer to map) 3) Do you commute to work or school? q Work q School q Both q Neither 4) To which county do you commute? q Commute within Blanco County q Bexar q Gillespie q Burnet q Hays q Comal q Kendall ________________________________________ 5) To further clarity, to which zip code do you commute? (If you do not know the zip, please state the city or town name) ________________________________________6) How many miles is yourone-way commute towork or school? ______________ 7) How do you make your commute the majority of the time? q Drive Alone q Walk q Ride Bicycleq Carpool q Take Transit q Do not commute 8) If you do not commute for work or school, how many miles do you typically drive in a singleday for other trips such as shopping? ______________9) Which best describes the primary industry focus of the company you work for? ___Aerospace ___Information technology ___Agriculture ___Life sciences___Business & professional services ___Manufacturing___Construction ___Mining___Distribution & warehousing ___Renewable energy ___Education ___Retail___Conventional Energy ___Tourism & hospitality ___Finance & insurance services ___Wholesale trade ___Government ___Other___Healthcare ___Not applicable 10) How many vehicles (in workingcondition) are in your household? ______________11) How many licensed drivers are in your household? ______________12) How many children inyour household are attendinggrades K-12 in Blanco County? ______________13) (IF Q12>0) How do they travel to school? (check all that apply)q Walk/bike q Bus q Driven to school q Drive self to school14) How could we make transportation routes to schools safer? (Mark all that apply)q More sidewalks q Routes are safe now q More school zone enforcement q Better signalsq More crosswalks 15) Using a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is poor & 5 is excellent, please rate the following aspects of the local transportation system. (Circle your choice) poor excellent Availability & width of shoulders 1 2 3 4 5 Availability of sidewalks & bike paths 1 2 3 4 5 Ease of travel to neighboring counties 1 2 3 4 5 Ease of travel within county 1 2 3 4 5 Maintenance of roads & road conditions 1 2 3 4 5 Traffic Congestion 1 2 3 4 5 Traffic lights & timing of lights 1 2 3 4 5 q Travis q Williamson q Other (please specify) Blanco County has undertaken an effort to complete a comprehensive transportation plan to guide the transportation planning for the future. Your input is important and we hope that you will take the few minutes necessary to complete and return this questionnaire. Your answers will be anonymous .   Public Meeting Blanco County and the Capital Area Council of Governments are working with local stakeholders, government officials and the public to create a vision for economic growth and transportation improvements to guide Blanco County through the year 2040. • 1st of two public meetings planned to receive input either verbally or in writing to help guide development of the plan • Light refreshments will be served Anyone interested in learning or providing input to the Blanco County Transportation and Economic Development Plan. April 25, 2013 at 6 p.m. Pedernales Electric Cooperative Auditorium, E. Babe Smith Headquarters Building, 201 S Avenue F, Johnson City, TX 78636 Project contact: David Fowler, AICP Senior Planner Capital Area Counc il of Governments 512-916-6165, dfow ler@capcog.org Stay Involved in the plan on the Internet at http://www.blancocountyplan.org/ What: Who: When: Where: You’re Invited to a

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