April 29, 2020
A major component of any successful highway project is collecting, analyzing, and incorporating input from the people who live and work in the area and use the transportation system every day. For decades, the Iowa Department of Transportation sought this public involvement at in-person meetings.
While we recognize that these meetings are very useful, we also recognize people’s behaviors change over time, and there is always room for improvement at gaining even more public input. Valerie Brewer, one of the Iowa DOT’s two public involvement managers, said, “For in-person meetings, we used several outreach efforts to get information about the meeting to those who might be interested. Then those people needed to attend that meeting at an appointed time. Oftentimes, attendance was very low. Those who did attend were able to view paper documents related to the project and presentations by DOT staff. Comments were collected in writing. This process did collect valuable input, but we knew we could do more to involve those people who rely on the transportation system in their area.”