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Public Involvement in Transit Decision-Making

FTA grant recipients and state, regional and local transportation planning entities are required to create opportunities for public participation and feedback. It is part of how state Departments of Transportation, metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) and grantees solicit and incorporate meaningful public input to help shape transit systems that serve the needs of communities, including those that are underserved.  

Promising Practices Guide

The U.S. Department of Transportation developed Promising Practices for Meaningful Public Involvement in Transportation Decision-Making to help organizations develop strategies to better involve the public in transportation decision-making. The guide includes considerations and practices for transportation professionals to conduct meaningful public involvement during each stage of the transportation decision-making process and project lifecycle, including operations and service.

Inclusive Public Participation in Transit Decision-Making

Each transit agency must integrate into its public participation plan the strategies, procedures, and outcomes that will ensure participation of their entire communities, including people of color, people with disabilities, and low-income populations, among others, when dealing with its transportation planning issues. This requirement is established under federal laws and regulations.

The Transportation Research Board (TRB) Transit Cooperative Research Program's TCRP Synthesis 170: Inclusive Public Participation in Transit Decision-Making documents current, effective, ongoing public participation mechanisms resulting in, and instilling participation from, communities of color, communities with limited English-language proficiency and low-income populations, and people with disabilities.

Outreach for Transit Programs

  • MPOs are required to provide opportunities for public involvement throughout the transportation planning process.
  • FTA’s environmental impact procedures require project sponsors to conduct early coordination and public involvement during project development.
  • Transit agencies develop and use a public participation plan to engage minority and limited English proficient populations under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  • Sponsors of transit capital projects develop public outreach programs, many of which include a focus on property acquisition and utility relocation, as part of the construction of new systems.