Public Participation is a key part of transportation studies, and this participation is vital to the success of any transportation project. This is in keeping with one of the guiding principles of the Commonwealth – basing decisions on an objective, transparent, and inclusive planning process.
A major portion of any study’s time and resources is devoted to the public participation process. Transportation studies typically include a variety of stakeholders – including federal, state, regional and local representation through study committees and study advisory groups. This approach often achieves general agreement that recommended improvements are reasonable and meet the goals of a study. This creates a broader level of support for study recommendations.
This high level of public involvement takes time. Of course, other approaches with less public participation might be more expedient. For example, it would be faster and easier for a traffic engineer to just design roadway upgrades that improve mobility and safety, rather than conduct a study. But consideration of environmental, community, and land-use impacts must be included, as it helps to avoid impacts such as the destruction of wetlands and the disruption of neighborhoods.
In the spring of 2008, MassDOT Planning worked with local officials to form study advisory group (SAG) for this study. These advisory groups typically include federal, state, regional and local agencies, legislators, local elected officials, and interested community and business organizations.
The I-95 South Corridor Transportation Study Advisory Group provides a forum for community involvement and input into the study. There will continue to be opportunities for both the SAG and the public to be involved throughout the study process.
The Office of Transportation Planning and the consultant team will be meeting with the SAG throughout the study. Meetings will be product-driven (not calendar-driven), where the group will convene as needed to review and comment on the work of the consultant team.