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Public Involvement

200.9 (4) (b) (12); 23 CFR 450.212; 23 CFR 450, 771; 49 CFR 21.5 (1); 49 CFR 619, 622; 28 CFR 42.405

Public involvement is fundamental and essential in achieving equitable transportation that meets the needs of all persons in the State of California. Public participation provides for public involvement of all persons (including Native Americans, minorities and low-income persons), affected public agencies, representatives of transportation agency employees, freight shippers, providers of freight transportation services, private providers of transportation, representatives of users of public transit and other interested parties of the community affected by transportation plans, programs and projects.

How does a transportation agency grab and hold interest in a project or
plan; convince the public that active involvement is worthwhile; and provide the means for direct and meaningful input on transportation decisions? Public participation is the key. Engaging stakeholders, businesses and the public early in project scoping, the planning process, and maintaining communication through project implementation is critical.

Department planning processes must include a proactive public involvement process that provides complete public information, timely notice, full public access to key decisions and supports early and continuing involvement of the public in developing transportation plans and Transportation Improvement Programs. The public involvement process includes the following:

· Public comment period prior to initial adoption or revision of public involvement process.
· Timely information about transportation issues and processes to all interested parties involved and affected by transportation plans, programs and projects.
· Reasonable public access to technical and policy information used in development of transportation plans and Transportation Improvement Programs. Open public meetings.
· Adequate public notice of public involvement activities and time for public review and comment at key decision points including but not limited to approval of transportation plans and Transportation Improvement Programs.
· Demonstrate consideration and response to public input received during planning and project development processes.
· Make a concerted effort to involve the public, especially those traditionally under-served by existing or future transportation systems including but not limited to low-income and minority households.
· Ensure opportunities for significant input on a draft transportation plan or Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). Summarize the input received and include the summary as part of the record supporting the final plan and TIP.
• Where final transportation plan or TIP differs significantly from one presented for public comment by a transportation planning agency and raises new material issues which interested parties could not have reasonably foreseen from public involvement efforts, an additional opportunity for public comment on the revised plan or TIP shall be made available.
· Periodic review of the public involvement process to ensure standards are met, to evaluate the public involvement process for effectiveness and to ensure full and open access to all.
· Coordination of metropolitan planning processes, where necessary, with Statewide public involvement processes to enhance public consideration of the issues, plans and programs and reduce redundancies and cost.
· Ensure opportunity for full participation and provide accommodation for persons with disabilities at meetings by:
a. Meeting in a fully accessible facility.
b. Providing notice that documents can be made in alternate formats upon request.
c. Considering accessible alternatives such as videos with real-time captioning, the use of interpreters or Braille.
d. Effectively accommodating hearing impaired persons by providing sign language interpreter or real-time captioning.

The Public Involvement process includes the development of procedures for the collection and analysis of statistical data of public participants in, and beneficiaries of State transportation programs; establishment of procedures to identify and eliminate discrimination; and identification and implementation of affirmative measures to ensure nondiscrimination. The State, and any other agencies/organizations which are responsible for satisfying the statewide transportation planning and programming requirements, will accomplish this task through their integrated transportation planning processes including the public involvement process for the statewide transportation plan and
the federal statewide transportation improvement program.

See Public Involvement appendix for reference tools that have been successfully used by transportation planning agencies.

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