On October 13, 2022, the U.S. Department of Transportation published Promising Practices for Meaningful Public Involvement in Transportation Decision-Making to help organizations develop strategies to better involve the public in transportation decision-making. FTA, state, regional and local transportation planning entities are required to create opportunities for public participation and feedback. 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.
Transportation planning plays a fundamental role in a state, region, or community’s vision for its future. It includes a comprehensive consideration of possible strategies; an evaluation process that encompasses diverse viewpoints; the collaborative participation of relevant transportation-related agencies and organizations; and open, timely, and meaningful public involvement.
Transportation planning is a cooperative process designed to foster involvement by all users of the system, such as businesses, community groups, environmental organizations, the traveling public, freight operators, and the general public, through a proactive public participation process.
In urbanized areas, the transportation planning process is conducted by a Metropolitan Planning Organization, in cooperation with the State Department of Transportation and transit providers. In rural areas, transportation planning processes are carried out by the state, in cooperation with local officials in non-metropolitan areas and transit providers.
FTA and FHWA jointly administer the federally required transportation planning processes in metropolitan areas, as set forth in 49 U.S.C. 5303 and 23 U.S.C. 134. In rural areas and on a statewide basis, the statutory provisions for transportation planning are set forth in 49 U.S.C. 5304 and 23 U.S.C. 135.
In December, 2021, FTA and FHWA issued updated Planning Emphasis Areas (PEAs) for use by metropolitan planning organizations, state departments of transportation, transit agencies, and federal land management agencies in their Unified Planning Work Programs and State Planning and Research Work Programs.
FTA and FHWA are updating the Final Rule on Statewide and Nonmetropolitan Transportation Planning and Metropolitan Transportation Planning to reflect new requirements in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law