Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Public Engagement

Public Engagement Planning Process

The following process provides a framework for initial public engagement activity. While there is no one-size fits all approach to public engagement, MnDOT recognizes that any public engagement effort must address the anticipated effect the plan, project, program or service may have on users and the surrounding community. The public engagement plan is a starting point and we must remain flexible by thoughtfully considering feedback received and addressing the input and issues that may arise.

Initial assessment for public engagement

  • Know legal requirements
    • The Title VI Program is MnDOT’s pledge to provide its programs, activities and services free from discrimination
    • Environmental Justice, Executive Order 12898, requires MnDOT to consider the unique needs of different socioeconomic groups in transportation decision-making
    • The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, State and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation
  • Consider the needs of all users and neighboring communities near transportation projects

Create a public engagement plan of action

Not all plans, projects, programs, services or activities require a written plan. The type of plan depends on the scale of the public engagement effort.

  • Establish the goals and objectives for public engagement
  • Determine the level of effort required to meet the goals and objectives
    • The IAP2 Spectrum of Public Participation (PDF) provides guidance on establishing goals for public engagement (inform, consult, involve, etc.), what the public can expect from engagement and tools to achieve your objectives
  • Identify audiences (i.e., impacted businesses, neighborhoods, etc.) and different approaches (i.e., town hall meeting, social media, surveys, community conversations, etc.) for each project milestone to reach the target audiences
    • Local, state and federal government agencies
    • Tribal government officials – MnDOT that the principles of the Minnesota Tribal Nations policy are to be considered at all phases of planning and project development in the establishment, development, operation, and maintenance of a comprehensive, integrated, and connected multimodal transportation system
    • Business owners and operators
    • Community leaders, major community entities, established community connections (individuals, faith-based groups, civic groups, foundations)
    • All users and modes of travel, including the motoring public, transit, freight and commercial vehicle operations, aeronautics, bike and pedestrian, and passenger rail
    • Potentially affected interests (examples include special interest groups, landowners, etc.)
    • Determine roles and responsibilities among team members
      • A RACI Chart helps identify who is responsible for what in developing and executing a public engagement plan
    • Review the draft public engagement plan with project partners
      • Consider opportunities to engage jointly with the public and possibly share resources

Identify tools and tactics needed to implement the plan

  • Traditional Tools can help meet the goal(s) for engagement
  • MnDOT provides Language Services to facilitate cross-cultural communications

Develop the public engagement budget estimate for inclusion in the project budget

  • Estimate the necessary internal and external human resource needs
  • Include resource estimates in project scoping reports and budgets

Implement the public engagement plan

  • Document and retain information from public engagement processes
    • Circle back with the public and summarize what MnDOT learned during the engagement process and how the input informed the project plan or study
      • Explain why MnDOT was not able to use all input, if that is the case
    • The Public Engagement Activity Log is a tool to record-related public engagement activity

Review and adjust

  • Review and adjust public engagement practices to improve the processes and outcomes with feedback from internal and external audiences