Administration for Community Living logo: more inclusive processes lead to more successful outcomes

Planning News

Planning Inclusively

Planning InclusivelyPeople with disabilities and older adults are members of the general public. Public transportation, therefore, must be able to accommodate their mobility needs within its overall goal of serving all Americans. We're pleased to present this special edition of Digital CT magazine that spotlights the important project and the resources we've developed on inclusive transportation planning. This issue also features the ongoing demonstration projects that uncover, document and evaluate the most promising inclusive transit planning practices.

Pathway to Inclusion

As a way to start a conversation in your community, we suggest that representatives from various organizations along with older adults and persons with disabilities sit down with the Pathway to inclusion. Although people may have differing views as to where the community is along the path, the discussion can lead to breakthroughs in understanding and a common vision for moving forward in the quest for inclusion.

Pathway to Inclusion: The graphic shows the six levels of inclusion that proceed from planning for participants to truly involving participants in planning processes.

Inclusive Coordinated Transportation Planning Grantees 2016-2017

Inclusive Planning Techniques Grantees 2013-2015

This series looks at the experience of each of the seven grantees 2013-2015 in applying inclusive planning techniques to create an environment friendly to inclusive planning.

  • Disability Ettiquette - Tips for Interacting with People with Disabilities, Fact Sheet #17, prepared by the National Disability Navigator RESOURCE COLLABORATIVE This short guide is a useful introduction to newcomers and to experienced staff. It presents basic information for communicating effectively with all people with information, and specific information for communicating with persons with specific disabilities, e.g., people who are blind or have low vision, people with cognitive or intellectual disabilities.
  • Conversations on Inclusive Planning (PDF)(198 KB)
    The Strengthening Inclusive Coordinated Transportation Partnerships to Promote Community Living Project, begun in 2013, seeks to demonstrate the value that inclusive processes can bring to transportation efforts. The seven grantee project teams met on May 29, 2014.
    Tip-Sheet: Planning Friendly Meetings, Going Beyond the ADA to Make Your Meeting Place User-Friendly
  • Tip-Sheet: Planning Inclusive Meetings, Going Beyond the ADA to Make Your Meeting Place User-Friendly (PDF)(159 KB)
    A short list of features that although they do not rise to the level of a formal ADA-violation, can discourage people from attending a meeting. We offer this short list to encourage you to think about similar tips and reminders as you begin planning a meeting; and a checklist for seeking out meeting locations. We also offer some suggestions for short-term solutions, and, encourage you to find meeting places that are more welcoming or to seek long-term solutions to some of the problems.


Individual Publications

Transportation-Specific Individual Publications

  • TCRP's Research and Results Digest 107, April 2013 (PDF)
    Developing Partnerships for Transportation Agencies and the Disability and Underserved Communities
    This publication includes strategies and suggestions that transit providers can use to develop and sustain partnerships with customers with disabilities and representatives that advocate on their behalf.
  • TRB's National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 710:Practical Approaches for Involving Traditionally Underserved Populations in Transportation Decisionmaking, (2012) (PDF)
    "This Report builds on the earlier reports, How to Engage Low-Literacy and Limited-English-Proficiency Populations in Transportation Decision-making and Transportation and Environmental Justice: Case Studies, published by FHWA. It updates and captures new and innovative tools, techniques and approaches being used within the transportation industry and other industries. It contains a compendium of practical and easy-to-use best practices that practitioners can use to identify and connect with traditionally underserved populations, particularly minority, low-income, limited English proficiency, and low-literacy groups, in transportation decision-making. There is no "one size fits-all" strategy but rather a continuum of approaches that can be taken or customized to reach different communities or that are particularly appropriate for a specific stage of transportation decision-making."
  • How to Engage Low-Literacy and Limited-English-Proficiency Populations in Transportation Decisionmaking
    Prepared by PBS&J for the Federal Highway Administration, February 2006.
    This well-written and well-organized publication is filled with wise guidance on special approaches need for effective outreach most of which is generally applicable and can be adapted for community outreach efforts to other populations. One of their recommendations for outreach is "Seek out the Elders." Includes references to other resources.
  • Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Synthesis 89: Public Participation Strategies for Transit (PDF)
    "The goal of this synthesis is to provide transportation agencies and public involvement practitioners with ideas and insights into the practices and techniques that agencies around the country have found to be successful, as well as to explore some of the challenges they have faced. The study documents the state of the practice in terms of public participation strategies to inform and engage the public for transit-related activities to provide ideas and insights into practices and techniques that agencies have found to be most successful, as well as to explore challenges faced. Specific techniques and the methods by which transit agencies execute public involvement strategies are seen as constantly evolving and bounded only by the creativity of practitioners. Includes 6 transit case studies."
  • Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Report 150: Communication with Vulnerable Populations: A Transportation and Emergency Management Toolkit (PDF)
    This toolkit describes how to create a communication process to reach vulnerable populations regarding their transportation options. Much of its information is applicable to reaching vulnerable populations in non-emergency situations.
  • Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Synthesis 85: Effective Use of Citizen Advisory Committees for Transit Planning Operations (PDF)
    "This synthesis is focused on the operations and management of advisory committees rather than on substantive outcomes. It includes a review of the relevant literature, information gathered from a survey of transit agencies and MPOs, and case studies that highlight successful practices. The literature review, agency and MPO survey, and case studies reference ad hoc committees formed to provide short-term input on specific projects, programs, or policies on a limited basis, as well as standing committees that provide long-term input on day-today operations or specific issues."
  • Innovations in Public Involvement for Transportation Planning (January 1994)
    Collection of 14 brief leaflets to introduce agencies to some practical techniques of public involvement that can be used in a variety of situations: Charrette; Visioning; Brainstorming; Citizens' Advisory Committee; Transportation Fair; Focus Groups; Collaborative Task Force; Media Strategies; Facilitation; Citizens Surveys; Telephone Techniques; Video Techniques; Public Meetings/Hearings; and Americans with Disabilities. Prepared in response to ISTEA's (Intermodal Surface Transportation Act of 1991) requirement for proactive public involvement processes.
  • Transportation Planning Capacity Building's Public Involvement Techniques: Reference Guide
    This is a reference work that includes the 14 techniques originally published in Innovations in Public Involvement for Transportation Planning in a wide variety of public involvement techniques available to transportation agencies. There are four chapters with subsections that group techniques thematically by function. Each chapter ends with a final subsection called "Taking Initial Steps."
  • Designing a Public Engagement & Decision Making Program
    This material contains perspectives about processes for soliciting public input and decision making for Content Sensitive Solutions (CSS) projects, and creating a shared decision making structure.
  • Collaborative Decision Making
    This is the hub of Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP) 2 products for collaboration in transportation decision making. The SHRP 2 Capacity program is developing tools and resources for systematically integrating environmental, economic, and community requirements into the analysis, planning, and design of new highway capacity. The products related to collaboration are collected on this page: Tools (Web tools such as TCAPP (Transportation for Communities Advancing Projects Through Partnerships) and guides); Reports (case studies, research reports); Webinars; Project Briefs; Background Material; Links to Other Capacity Product Pages.
  • Including People with Disabilities in Coordinated Transportation Plans, By Easter Seals Project ACTION (PDF)
    "This resource provides ideas and suggestions for increased involvement by people with disabilities in communities' coordination efforts toward accessible transportation. Publication is designed to support people with disabilities in their participation and for the communities involving them in processes."
  • Meaningful Community Engagement in Planning for Equitable Transit Oriented Development (PDF) EPA Environmental Financial Board Transit-Oriented Development Workshop May 24, 2012. This is a short PowerPoint presentation for the workshop which outlines the public engagement process.

Reports and Guides Prepared for Specific Jurisdictions

  • Public Involvement Plan and Toolkit for Las Cruces (PDF)
    By U.S.Environmental Protection Agency with te U.S. Department of Transportation and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
    "Though written specifically for city of Las Cruces staff and decision-makers, the strategies and tools compiled in this document will be useful for many other communities wishing to expand the conversations about development to include populations that have often remained outside of decision-making process because of socioeconomic issues and language barriers. A more inclusive decision-making process can help communities identify and decide upon policies that encourage development that is good for the environment, the economy, public health, and the community. Toolkit section includes a series of outreach and participation tools."
  • Public Engagement Report, Metro Transit, King County, 2012 (PDF)
    Faced with the need to implement a plan that eliminated a popular longstanding program that provided essential transit service to many low-income residents, King County developed a strong public outreach effort to explain the situation to the community. This is King County Metro Transit's Report on this outreach effort and its results.
  • Inclusive Outreach and Public Engagement Guide, Seattle Office for Civil Rights, April 2009 (PDF)
    "The Inclusive Outreach and Public Engagement Guide is intended to be a practical guide and resource for all City staff. It is also the basis for Citywide training on Inclusive Public Engagement."
  • Involving Low-Income and Minority Communities in the Denver Region Council of Governments Land Use and Transportation Planning Process
    The purpose of this project report is to provide strategic ideas that can help the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) future success involving low-income and minority communities. This project report touches upon broad principles of how the low-income and minority communities should be approached in order to become involved in the DRCOG's land use and transportation planning process now and in the future. An advanced seminar, 2008. Must pay to download.

Public Engagement Through Social Media

  • Engaging the Public Through On-line Media, University of North Carolina School of Government
    In recent decades, levels of civic and political participation have declined dramatically. In order to supplement traditional public engagement techniques, some planners and public officials are turning to the internet. Whether it is advertising the planning process through social media or engaging the public's comments and actions through e-participation websites, cities and towns are bringing people to the table through new and interesting web-based approaches." The Report looks at the use of Facebook, Mindmixer, and a number of other web-participation tools to which it provides links.
  • Promising Practices in Online Engagement By Public Agenda (PDF)
    "In this paper on promising practices in online engagement, we take a closer look at a selection of online engagement practices, from high-level national politics to our most immediate public realms, our neighborhoods. The patterns of opinion-shaping, dialogue, and decision making on each level have changed through the widespread availability of new communication tools. Nonetheless, the differences between scope of engagement and communication tools can be tremendous. We highlight multiple approaches that bring together individuals from all sides in meaningful dialogue."
  • Sharing Because We Care: OCTA's Social Media Guide for Public Involvement
    From the introduction: "OCTA's social media program is integrated into our public outreach efforts. It does not replace-but rather enhances-our ongoing communications and outreach work. OCTA's Public "E-volvement" Program optimizes community involvement and public participation utilizing cost-effective social media tools to create opportunities for meaningful public engagement. In today's ever-changing media landscape with decreasing coverage from the news media and rapidly growing social networking sites, it's crucial to be where the public is.

Individual Publications: Not Transportation-Specific

  • A Ladder of Citizen Participation
    The following article is quite old, but still relevant reading for anyone who wants better to understand citizen participation. The author has a definite point of view -- "citizen participation is citizen power --" but her discussion of concepts related to participation contain valuable insights even for readers who do not always agree with her perspective. This article was reprinted in "The CityReader" (second edition) edited by Richard T. Gates and Frederic Stout, 1996, Routledge Press. (Unavailable electronically)
  • Resource Guide on Public Engagement
    NCDD's October 2010 Resource Guide on Public Engagement showcases the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation's best collaboratively-created products (like the Core Principles for Public Engagement and the Engagement Streams Framework), as well as recognizing and directing the reader to other work on public engagement that has been done by others in the field. It contains a directory of valuable resources, points of contact, and case studies of successful collaborations.
  • Citizens at the Center: A New Approach to Civic Engagement
    "Written by Dr. Cynthia Gibson and commissioned by the Case Foundation. Based on interviews with researchers and commissioned by the Case Foundation. Based on interviews with researchers and experts in service/civic engagement, politics, and marketing, the paper offers specific recommendations for giving citizens the tools they need to identify problems and develop solutions - and warns against top-down solutions that require people to 'plug into' existing programs or campaigns."
  • What Are the Disadvantages of a Participatory Planning Approach?
    This brief discussion by Phil Rabinowitz (edited by Bill Berkowitz) provides valuable insights. It is only a brief section of a massive onsite Community Toolkit on the website of the Work Group for Community Health and Development at the University of Kansas. "The Community Tool Box is a global resource for free information on essential skills for building healthy communities. It offers more than 7,000 pages of practical guidance in creating change and improvement."
  • Rural, Low-Income Mothers: Persistent Problems, Possible Interventions
    Bonnie Braun. The Online Journal of Rural Research and Policy 6 (2008): 1-18. A longitudinal study of 524 mothers from 30 counties in 17 states revealed specific problems and possible interventions that can benefit individuals, families and communities. Article shares key findings from the Rural Families Speak study and offers three interventions with rationales for each. It also suggests an organizing framework that enables both individuals and groups within a community to analyze problems and issues and derive any imperative for action. The researchers looked at the lack of community engagement of marginalized families in community decision-making about policies and programs affecting them and identified strategies for involving them in public policy development.
  • What Are the Disadvantages of a Participatory Planning Approach?
    This short discussion by Phil Rabinowitz (edited by Bill Berkowitz) provides some useful insights. It is only a brief section of a massive onsite Community Toolkit on the website of the Work Group for Community Health and Development at the University of Kansas. "The Community Tool Box is a global resource for free information on essential skills for building healthy communities. It offers more than 7,000 pages of practical guidance in creating change and improvement."