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Tennessee Environmental Procedures Manual

Chapter 7: Public Involvement Process

7.1 Background

FHWA, the federal agency that funds most TDOT projects, considers public involvement to be a chief element of their project development process and actively supports proactive public involvement at all stages of project planning and development. Public involvement is also a key component of the CSS process.

Public involvement is more than just a meeting or hearing. For it to be effective, a meaningful open exchange of information and ideas between the public and transportation decision makers must occur.

FHWA suggests six key elements in the planning for and success of public involvement for transportation projects:

  1. Clearly-defined purpose and objectives for initiating a public dialog on transportation projects;
  2. Identification of the affected public and other stakeholder groups;
  3. Identification of techniques for engaging the public in the process;
  4. Notification procedures that effectively target affected groups;
  5. Education and assistance techniques that result in an accurate and full public understanding of the transportation problem, potential solutions and obstacles and opportunities within various solutions to the problem; and
  6. Follow through by public agencies demonstrating that decision makers seriously considered public input.
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