Thank you for your response - online public participation doubles from previous long-range planning efforts

IA-Motion_horizontal_color-gradient.fwAre the transportation investment decisions being made in line with what the public wants and expects with regard to the future of our transportation system? This basic question is driving a public input effort related to the state’s long-range transportation plan, Iowa in Motion 2045.

During February 2016, the Iowa Department of Transportation posted an online survey asking questions about our transportation system and what strategies should be adopted to address perceived needs. There were a total of 520 visitors who submitted responses, almost double the number of responses (264) to the survey conducted for the 2012 iteration of Iowa in Motion.

Iowa Zip code map
Responses were received from all over Iowa.

Andrea White, Garrett Pedersen, and Sam Sturtz, all of the Iowa DOT’s Office of Systems Planning, are leading the public input effort. White said, “We were pleasantly surprised at the geographic distribution of the responses. There were 170 different home ZIP codes reported by respondents.”

Among other input techniques, the survey included three open-ended questions. More than 800 responses to these questions were analyzed.  Sturtz compiled the comments and said, “It was encouraging to receive so many thoughtful responses. The information that was provided will help us as we continue developing the plan.”

The major takeaways from the public feedback included:

  • The dominant theme among responses is interest in maintaining an appropriately sized system that meets the needs of all users and grows when and where it is necessary.
  • It is preferred that investments focus on ways to maintain the current transportation system and ensure expansion is only done when there is significant need.
  • There is interest in increasing the efficiency of the department and ensuring communication between the Iowa DOT, the public, and stakeholder groups.
  • There is interest in ensuring that appropriate materials are used and the right repairs are done the first time for projects to reduce costs associated with future improvements and increase the life of the system.
  • Support was expressed for alternative modes of transportation as a way to reduce the need to increase highway capacity and ensure everyone has the ability to travel within the state.

Strategies“It’s always encouraging to see that the needs identified by transportation planners and the public pointing in a similar direction early in the planning process,” said Pedersen. “Knowing we are on the same page helps us more easily identify our areas of focus.”

The February 2016 round of public input helped provide guidance for the development of the draft vision for Iowa in Motion 2045. Pedersen said, “We are using the input to help shape the vision of the plan. We’ll also incorporate some of these ideas into more specific survey questions in the next round of online public input that we’ll be rolling out later this summer or early fall.”

To see more about this effort, please go to Iowa in Motion 2045.

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