Online, web options help ITD reach more citizens for upcoming projects
Photo: Image by ITD
Looking for new ways to engage citizens in transportation planning beyond the traditional public-meeting format, the Idaho Transportation Department began offering online meeting options a few years ago for large projects.
Recently, the ITD used these outreach efforts for the upcoming I-84 interchange replacement projects at Meridian Road, Broadway Avenue and Gowen Road.
Although more than 180 people attended the face-to-face public meetings for the three interchanges, more took advantage of the online opportunities. In addition, the web pages for the project meetings generated nearly 2,300 page views.
"Increasingly, people are getting news and information in a format that meets their schedules and needs," said Jeff Stratten, ITD public information officer. "Offering meetings online allows them to conveniently learn about the project when they have time, as opposed to having one opportunity to attend a meeting."
The online meetings were offered to include input from those citizens who did not have the time or ability to make it to the face-to-face meetings. The meetings provide opportunities for people to learn more about the projects and make comments. The same project information and displays are available at the online meetings as in the public meeting.
“During the online meetings, participants can review display boards and a video presentation,” explained ITD Public Involvement Coordinator Adam Rush. “ITD offers a series of online Q&A sessions where participants can type their questions and receive a response in real time from a panel of project representatives.
“ITD can receive more input, from a more diverse group of people than might attend the traditional meetings,” he added.
The online public meeting is part of the department’s strategy to use new technology to exchange information. The department uses Facebook, Twitter, Constant Contact e-mails and traditional web pages to provide construction updates and promote highway safety, among other topics.