Document Type

Technical Report

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Public participation, virtual platforms & tools, citizen empowerment through education

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Public involvement in local transportation decision making is key to achieving a safe, equitable, and sustainable transportation system that meets the needs of all system users. Meaningful participation in the transportation decision-making process is best achieved when citizens are empowered with information and knowledge to help them navigate complex topics like transportation policy, multimodal planning best practices, budgeting, and the layered organizational context in which these decisions are made. Furthermore, many agencies are expanding their outreach using various virtual platforms and tools and shifting to hybrid models (virtual and in person) for public participation. The 2021 Tampa Bay Citizens Academy on Transportation (TB-CAT) course used a virtual model to introduce residents in the City of Tampa to the information they need to be effective transportation ambassadors in their community. In 2022, the TB-CAT course was refined and introduced additional citizens to a wealth of transportation-related information. Using lessons learned during TB-CAT in 2021 and 2022, and to further support citizen empowerment through education, a guidebook for virtual citizen academies was developed. This guidebook can be used by facilitators from any agency or organization across the nation, in a variety of disciplines, to support their efforts to engage and empower citizens using a proven approach for a virtual citizens academy.

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Policy Brief.pdf (257 kB)
Policy Brief