Their efforts created a toolkit as a place-based resource to provide information to State, regional and local stakeholders to help decode and understand the often complex transportation decision-making process. The goal in creating the toolkit was to engage citizens in transportation decision-making by providing practical knowledge of the landscape in a plain language, easily accessible format. The toolkit enables citizens to become transportation leaders by providing a suite of materials explaining the basics of the transportation process.
The information available which includes best practices, such as empowering field staff to use the toolkit to further engage and customize solutions to local transportation issues. One of the most significant takeaways from creating the toolkit was the relationship building required among various divisions within the Department of Transportation, particularly when collaborating across divisional lines was not the norm. Keys to replicating the success of this type of project are:
- Having a champion who understands the process and the needs of the public,
- Assembling a team of generalists and also staff that can focus on the project, such as detailees, and
- Finding appropriate resources, which could include a consultant or contractor.
The transportation decision-making toolkit has been so successful that other toolkits have been requested on topics including pipeline safety, resiliency and climate change, funding and innovative financing, and small business participation.