Resourcing and Improving Engagement Practices with Historically Excluded Communities

Research Lead: Sarah McCullough

University: UC Davis

Problem Statement: Public engagement in transportation planning processes can sometimes be hard to conduct in a meaningful way, particularly when engaging with disadvantaged communities. The reasons for this are numerous: meeting times conflict with work or caretaking responsibilities, lack of advertisement, weak connection with local community, difficulties in transportation, lack of resources within planning agency, and other logistical and resource related challenges. Additional barriers to equitable transportation may include the structure of planning processes, as well as the historical structural inequalities in the distribution of transportation resources.

Project Description: This project seeks to improve meaningful community engagement within transportation planning by providing recommendations for how state-level transportation grant programs can better support best practices in community engagement. The project builds upon a recently published report that offers ten recommendations for achieving quality community engagement. These recommendations will be used to (1) create a “how to” guide for transportation agencies to improve community engagement, (2) identify funding strategies for community engagement, and (3) identify targeted areas for improvement in current community engagement requirements for a select group of state-level transportation grant programs. The final product will be a document that provides guidance for how transportation agencies can leverage existing funding streams and grant programs to improve community engagement practices.

Status: In Progress

Budget: $13,850

Project Partner(s): Caltrans and California State Transportation Agency